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Sherwin-Williams Formula Express 2.0

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Color matching is an important aspect of any painter’s job. But the frustrating part of the process, says painter Marty Moon of Ernie’s Auto Body in Hayward, Wis., is how long the color retrieval process can take. Using his previous system, that process could take 30–45 minutes. The system was slow, cluttered and required significant navigating.

“There was a lot of input,” he says. “It was pretty involved to get where you needed to go.”

That’s why when Sherwin-Williams invited Moon and dozens of other painters at Key Choice Collision Centers—an affiliate of 20-plus body shops throughout the Midwest, including Ernie’s Auto Body, where Moon has worked as lead painter for the past 11 years—to provide feedback about the company’s FormulaExpress 2.0 color retrieval system, Moon was all in.

“With this 2.0 being implemented, it’s made life a lot easier,” he says. “It just makes it much simpler and faster to get the color blendable.”

The Web-based system, which can work on a tablet, phone or computer, simply asks users to enter the specific information about the vehicle (either formula code, color code or color chip) and formulas are then intuitively sorted by popularity instead of the “standard with alternates” method widely used by many existing color retrieval systems.

The system also features userfriendly filters that allow painters to more easily and quickly select from a list of color variations.

“With this system, there are so many avenues to get where you need to go,” Moon says. “It’s pretty much instantaneous.”

The system also allows for cost and profitability analysis, real-time stock levels based on product usage, VOC and HAPs tracking and reporting, and a simple KPI dashboard.

In addition, the system allows painters to electronically mix on the scales to minimize waste, store frequently mixed formulas for quick batches, track batches by PO, and easily create custom formulas for reuse.


Because the tool is a free update for Sherwin shops, Moon says that the return was immediate. In addition, he says that the effect has been twofold: First, he has reduced his time spent retrieving colors to mere minutes, versus the 30 minutes it took before. And second, he’s increased his paint booth throughput by one to two cars per day (versus the six to eight cars he averaged before).

“It’s definitely increased throughput,” he says. “I have a prepper who does all my prep work. Therefore, while he’s doing that, I can go in and do all my research on whatever color it is that I need to research. By the time that car is ready to go in the booth, I’ve got my color made, I know it’s right, I know it’s blendable, it’s out the door and I’m on to the next one.”

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