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How to Manage Color in the Age of Remote Work

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The Covid-19 pandemic fundamentally changed the way many textile mills and apparel brands operate. Millions of people across the globe had to learn how to maintain production quality while adapting to the unique constraints of working remotely. In ordinary times, textile supply chains traverse continents with relative ease but since 2020, nothing has quite been the same.

Today, those with a comprehensive color management strategy, anchored by advanced digital tools, are well-positioned to meet the extraordinary challenges of the moment.

To keep production running without delays, remote retail and apparel workers need the equipment, software and technology to make critical business decisions anytime, anywhere. Enter the Datacolor suite of advanced instruments and digital applications. Imagine a set of powerful tools that can align production teams and eliminate the need to review physical samples.

Color Measurement: Making Precise Decisions Remotely

When teams don’t have access to the technology required to maintain production, managing color requires state-of-the-art equipment that supports decision making away from the office or mill. It is also important to account for the smaller space that home offices provide since standard spectrophotometers are usually not portable.

The solution? The Datacolor CHECK 3 is a compact spectrophotometer that offers portability and precision. Outfitted with an intuitive user interface, enhanced Bluetooth functionality, and uniform illumination of a sample to capture its true color, CHECK 3 delivers a true fingerprint of any color at the highest possible accuracy.

Beyond the power of high-tech portable equipment, inter-instrument agreement (IIA) is critical to the color measurement process, particularly when decision-makers are working from remote locations. When multiple spectrophotometers are tasked with reading the same color across different locations, inaccuracies can arise from a lack of agreement between them. The Datacolor family of spectrophotometers, with its advanced inter-instrument agreement capabilities, satisfies the rigorous requirements of a true close-tolerance instrument, ensuring accurate color measurement across the supply chain every time – even when working from home.

But the right equipment can only be as effective as the environment around it. Even in remote work locations, it’s essential to follow the recommendations for environmental conditions to make sure that the samples measure well.  To foster precision, set the temperature in the room between 70°F and 77°F (21°C – 25°C), safeguard the spectrophotometer from direct sunlight, ensure the humidity level doesn’t dip below 20% nor rise above 85%, and maintain an environment free of chemical vapors and smoke.

Color Management: Achieving a Digital Workflow

Remote workers must be able to access color information from anywhere. A comprehensive digital workflow process supports collaboration, accuracy and efficiency, from initial color selection by the design team to delivery of the final product on retail shelves—and every stop in between. Evaluating color digitally allows key players to communicate in real time, ensuring color harmony and the amount of time spent evaluating bad lab dips (as well as the cost of shipping them in the first place).

Tools is an intuitive quality control application that supports color decisions remotely by enabling objective analysis, reporting, communication and visualization of color results.

When it comes to saving time and money—and eliminating unnecessary physical sampling —Envision allows users to virtually evaluate samples, without producing or shipping a single physical sample. The software applies color measurement data to detailed images and textures on a calibrated screen, producing lifelike product simulations that drive precise color decisions digitally.

The result? You can track progress across all operators, flag issues the moment they occur, evaluate color matching and visualize how it will look on the garment while working on your computer from home.

Quality Assessment: Maintaining Agility in Uncertain Times

Key to the successful integration of color management instruments and software is knowing which mills can provide the right services. Datacolor Assessment Services educates staff on color theory, trains teams on how to operate the instruments properly, and certifies mills that meet rigorous color quality standards.

Our assessment services certify a mill’s ability to meet expectations for color quality and this allows brands to choose the right supplier and seamlessly transition when unexpected challenges arise, without sacrificing quality or time. Certified mills are well-equipped to provide a high level of service, making brands more agile when they need a backup supplier who can hit the ground running.

From state-of-the-art instruments to advanced software solutions to expert consulting, Datacolor has the products and knowledge to support your remote working needs.

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