Improving Efficiency and Enabling Personalized Customer Experiences with Cloud-Based Solutions for the Paint & Coating Industry
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When the pandemic brought retail operations to a standstill, paint manufacturers and their retail partners were in a bind. With people staying home, there was a huge surge in demand for home improvement materials like interior and exterior paints, but with online paint shopping still in its infancy and retail stores shuttered or with limited hours and staff, manufacturers were left scrambling to keep up.
Aside from managing increased e-commerce demand in recent years, paint and coating manufacturers have also coped with supply chain issues, pigment shortages, and new government regulation forcing reformulation of recipes. With all these factors coming together at once, it’s more difficult than ever for companies to respond to an ever-evolving production and retail environment.
Success In the Paint and Coatings Industry
What does success look like for paint manufacturers and their retail partners going forward? The most successful brands are implementing solutions that help them meet challenges like these with agility. Software like Datacolor’s MatchPigment for formulation in the lab and PAINT for point-of-sale color matching make getting color right easy – from concept to consumer – while the advent of newer cloud-based solutions ultimately help sell more paint with greater efficiency.
More rapidly than ever, cloud-based technology is changing the way paint manufacturers and stores do business. By facilitating communication of accumulated data between several key touch points, cloud applications can help:
Provide instantaneous updates of paint formulas and fan decks between manufacturers and retail partners, eliminating the time-wasting practice of sending physical USB drives
Make color suggestions based on real-time trend data, thereby facilitating faster color decisions and more sales
Digitally manage inventory communication and logistics between warehouses and stores, streamlining the product management process
Reduce the need for time-consuming manual IT tasks like hardware and software updates, assurance of communication between color matching systems and formula book software, and physical checks for communication between computers and dispensers
Not only do cloud applications save you time and money, but they also have the added benefit of being accessible from anywhere instead of locked to a specific computer. This feature is one of the biggest advantages because whether you are stuck at home in a snowstorm, grounded at an airport, or on-site at a facility, you can reach the data you need to make business decisions that can be quickly communicated throughout your organization.
In addition, cloud solutions offer the flexibility to scale up or scale back based on your changing needs and provide unlimited storage for endless amounts of valuable data.
Common Misconceptions About Cloud-Based Technology
Some companies might have concerns about data safety, speed, or the cost and effort associated with making software improvements, but the truth is, cloud applications have come a long way:
Concern #1: Lack of an internet connection
Business is very hard to do these days without an internet connection, especially processing credit card transactions. If you don’t have internet but possess a mobile phone with 4G or 5G connection, you can still connect your computer to the phone and continue working
Concern # 2: Cost/effort of implementing a hosting service, cloud applications and integration between different applications
There is time and cost saving associated with cloud applications and although there is an up-front time/money cost, the payoff is well worth the effort.
Concern #3: Data security and GDPR requirements in Europe
For most providers like Microsoft or Amazon cloud services, data security is a big part of the service they provide, and they follow the rules, such as GDPR, of the countries in which they operate.
Suppliers like Datacolor should have contracts in place with paint manufactures that state the data you are generating is well protected and belongs to the manufacturer, not the supplier, and they are not using the data for commercial purposes.
Concern #4: Need to connect legacy hardware
Printers, shakers and dispensers all need to be connected to the cloud and this is easily possible now. If you have older devices, there are drivers that can be installed on the local computer that will make sure your dispenser is communicating with the local computer and still sending data to the cloud.
Concern #5: Slow performance
This is not an issue if you have a good internet connection and, in some cases, will be faster than standalone computer solutions or LAN/WAN solutions
Cloud Solutions Facilitate a Data-Driven Approach
Data-driven solutions that ultimately streamline paint formulation, improve communication between labs, point of sale, and warehouses, and enhance customer buying experience are what companies need in order to come out ahead when faced with current challenges.
To stay on top of industry trends, optimize workflow between key industry players and ultimately sell more paint, brands should be:
Integrating desktop solutions like Datacolor 200 spectrophotometer with ERP and CRM systems
Utilizing retail location data to make informed decisions about color trends and inventory
Minimizing IT involvement in supporting updates to save time and money
The use of cloud applications in the lab, at manufacturing facilities and at the point of sale can save companies time and money while boosting overall sales. The ability to harness data to make informed business decisions, to aid consumers in their purchases, and adapt to new challenges is critical to company success in this ever-changing world.
Let us show you how Datacolor solutions can transform your business.