have “exact” colors when printing

When you have to make a design for printing you should always use CMYK color method, but when you need to print it the result depends on the ink and the print setup used in the specific printer shop.
Here come the “invention” of the Pantone colors standard, what I would like to know if there are some alternatives to Pantone or it is the only way to have an “exact” color

How to make a smooth PMS gradient transition in Illustrator

I’m currently working on versions of a logo that has some gradients. CMYK looks fine but I’m getting poor results with PMS. I would normally fix this by building a mixed ink in Indesign but it doesn’t seem possible in Illustrator. I also tried putting the lightest color solid on the bottom layer and putting the gradient on a top layer in overprint fill but I’m afraid that’s not the best way to submit my file.