“How do you eat a bowling ball?” is a question I have often heard our Plant Manager pose to certain individuals or groups within our organization. Of course, the bowling ball represents something most would consider impossible to “eat.
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You say, “to-mā’to”—I say, “to-mä’to.” What’s the difference? We’re talking about the same thing, right? Of course. While the pronunciation may vary, a tomato is a tomato is a tomato. But what color is the tomato? Now, that presents us with an entirely different kind of challenge.
When we are dealing with color communication, it is not enough to simply say, “The tomato is red.” But it IS red, isn’t it? Very generally speaking, yes. Now, take a look at the tomato images below. Which tomato is red? Would you suggest that both tomatoes are red? If so, that would not be a wrong answer—both may be described as “red.” But are they the same color? Certainly not.
Without diving into the particulars of color science (we’ll save that for another post), it is important to establish the fact that what we commonly refer to as a “color” can be quite subjective from the observer’s perspective (our eyes). Add variables such as the type and angle of light, surface shape and texture, gloss and many others, and the ability to define and reproduce a color becomes rather complex.
At ICD, color is our business—it’s at the very heart of what we do. When Color Matters is our slogan! After a customer submits a color sample, our color match technicians will blend our product colorants to produce the closest visual match possible. Once a visual color match is achieved, the color formula is recorded, master samples of the color are stored and product samples are shipped to the customer for evaluation.
How does ICD achieve reliable success in color matching and how do we consistently reproduce those exact colors indefinitely?
Because color matters, ICD engages in the following practices to ensure the best color matching and repeatability in the industry:
- ICD’s color match technicians undergo evaluation, using the Farnsworth-Munsell 100 Hue Color Vision Test, to certify that only those with the highest color acuity are qualified to match colors.
- Verification of all matches is provided by an Expert or Supervisory color match technician.
- New pigments are continuously sought, evaluated and subjected to qualification tests to help provide for our best possible color matching capabilities in providing solutions for our customers.
- Color master standards are measured by some of the industry’s most advanced spectrophotometers and the spectral data is stored in our computer databases for ready access.
- Color tolerance (the maximum difference allowed between a color master and batch trials) is strictly held to a Delta E value of 0.20—arguably the coatings industry’s tightest tolerance!
So, which tomato is “red?” Take your pick! The more important question is, “Which tomato’s color do you prefer?” Our goal, at ICD, is to consistently provide our customers with quality coatings made in the exact colors they want. If we can match it, they can depend on receiving those exact colors every time they’re ordered!
Question: Your world is full of color! In what ways does color matter to you?
Remember the first time you took your car into a new service center for routine service or repairs? Did you do any advance research on the reputation of the shop before booking the appointment? Did you look for some assurance that the technicians working on your vehicle were qualified to do the job? Like many others of my generation forward, I didn’t spend much time under the hood learning how everything works (and why things sometimes don’t work)—so I occasionally need to depend on trained specialists to keep me on the road.
How can I know I’m dealing with “trained specialists?” Well, unless I know them personally, I can’t know with absolute certainty—but I will invariably look for a shop that employs ASE Certified Technicians. Because of the rigorous elements built into the ASE certification process, involving combinations of significant experience and testing, I feel confident entrusting my vehicle to those qualified by it.
At ICD, we strive to provide our customers the highest level of confidence in the quality of our products and services. We believe that the “assurance” is just as important as the “quality” in our quality assurance. That is to say, our customers deserve a product of the utmost quality that they can be assured they will receive every time they place an order.
So, how can we improve our ability to instill this confidence? One way is to develop and initiate a robust and thorough certification program for our production employees.
ICD’s Certification Program will ensure our technicians are qualified through:
- A minimum six months of specific, department-level experience prior to eligibility for certification. This will provide necessary time for adequate training at each operation.
- A minimum proficiency at department-specific job skills and a sustained level of overall work efficiency prior to eligibility for certification. This will help assure the technician is best prepared for the certification process.
- A “start to finish” certification test. This test, conducted by a facilitator from outside production, will require technicians to demonstrate their ability to complete order processing, within a department’s operation, exact to ICD’s work instructions.
- A written exam. This exam, also developed directly from current work instructions, will measure the technician’s job knowledge and comprehension of critical concepts.
In the area of auto mechanics, I need to trust trained and skilled technicians with many things I may not know a whole lot about—but I do know and expect quality and performance every time. Our customers may not have an in-depth understanding about everything that goes into the manufacturing of our products, but they also know and expect quality and performance—every time. And we want to exceed our customer’s expectations—every time. That is one of our core values.
ICD’s Certification Program will become an important step toward ensuring fulfillment of that value.
Question: What improves your confidence in a company’s ability to provide you the very best?