Effective Product Labeling Requires Careful Digital Asset Management

by Allison Frank-Georges, on May 2, 2019

Digital assets should be easy to find and update.
Digital assets should be easy to find and update.

Getting a product to market and making timely revisions to its package design are processes fraught with challenges, especially in today's fast-moving global manufacturing world. Companies that are careless with their digital files may be prone to mistakes, with every manual step and offline process increasing the potential of human error. Your organization can and should embrace powerful and up-to-date digital asset management (DAM) features to avoid delays, inaccuracies and other potential mishaps.

The Need for Digital Asset Management

In the past, when companies were less geographically dispersed and moved more slowly, it was possible to get by with simple approaches to asset management. For designers trading updated files with email, making changes and seeking approvals might not have been too complicated. In today's fast-paced and connected business climate, however, there is far too much going on at any time to rely on old-fashioned systems that may lead to data duplication or other forms of confusion. This is where DAM comes in.

TechTarget explained that companies have begun embracing DAM to keep their branded files organized as they go through uses and revisions. While DAM systems have been in place in media organizations for years, businesses of all kinds are finding uses for these tools as they are demanding access to accurate branded assets and pieces of artwork for use in packaging, marketing and other materials.

MarTech Advisor contributor Christian Lund of Templafy explained that a limited ability to work with digital assets can harm companies in several ways. One of the most common problems for companies lacking dedicated DAM systems is wasted time. Employees forced to search for assets or check and re-check to make sure they're using the latest version of a file are using up precious hours. Lund added that when these workers fail to find the correct and updated content they're looking for, they may end up damaging the brand by using outdated content in public-facing assets.

Contributing to the Content Marketing Network, Theresa Regli laid out a few of the elements that define effective DAM. The files included in such a system should be accessible to essential people across departments, or even beyond the walls of the business. These individuals must have real-time (or close) visibility of the files they're searching for, and they have to be able to easily locate the documents from the search. To accomplish these goals, DAM solutions attach metadata to files to make sure people know what they're accessing.

Can your team members find the assets they need?

Effective Asset Management Leads to Labeling Success

Digital assets are an inescapable part of the artwork management process for products. If your company manufactures or resells goods, you should have DAM in place to make sure that you have access to the correct content needed for your labels and that you're always dealing with the correct version. You need to be sure that the artwork you use passes through all approval processes and seen by every individual who needed to make changes or give feedback.

Passing documents back and forth via email doesn't cut it anymore, not in today's fast-paced business world. Old-fashioned approval processes may result in duplicate copies of files moving between individuals. Is everyone working from the same file? Are all the necessary comments being noted and implemented? It's hard to tell in such an system, with the ever-present risk of human error creating doubt.

Considering just how many visual assets go into assembling one product package - from brand logos to label imagery, legally required elements such as ingredients lists, barcodes and more - the uncertainty created by a non-optimized workflow is significant and concerning. This is the artwork management challenge facing your company: You must make sure each element of a label goes through an effective approval process before being assembled into a label design and kept up to date as conditions change.

The Latest Tech Gets Results

A centralized artwork management system, one where every relevant employee has access to up-to-date versions of key files and visibility into others' contributions, is the main feature of a modern and effective labeling approval process. Whether your team is all based in one room or scattered around the globe, you can keep artwork management on track and moving forward, leading to products that launch on time with accurate and compliant labels.

Your present artwork management workflow may contain elements such as spreadsheets and manually updated trackers to try and compensate for a lack of real DAM. Those hands-on stopgaps bring their own problems, however, as updating them is yet another step that employees need to spend time on or may forget, leading to loss of productivity and confusion. The best thing to do with such a system is replace it with a purpose-built, collaboration-friendly DAM solution.

Companies that haven't updated their product design workflows in years may find their current operations have become a liability, and could gain significant efficiency and accuracy with an upgrade. If your company falls into this category, it's time to make a change and implement DAM solutions to resolve your artwork management challenges.

For more on digital asset management and end-to-end product packaging workflow processes, check out our new report - Chaos to Calm.

 Chaos to Calm

Topics:Artwork Management