Enabling Teamwork in Packaging Artwork Management

by Nigel Winteringham, on March 18, 2019

Collaboration is essential to get a finished package design done.
Collaboration is essential to get a finished package design done.

In today's complex corporate environments, packaging design is most always a collaborative project. Artwork Management tasks are dispersed between many individuals and teams: from graphic designers and marketing professionals to legal and regulatory experts. What makes it more challenging is that some of these important stakeholders may reside outside of the organization's walls at partner organizations.

When communication between any and all of these parties is slow, inconsistent or inaccurate, far-reaching problems including issues with time to market can result.

"Every member of a package design team should be able to make changes that are immediately visible by collaborators."

This is one of the most important roles for an Artwork Management solution: bringing people together. Every member of a package design team should be able to make changes that are immediately visible by collaborators, taking data duplication, communication impasses and excessive revision cycles out of the design process.

Managing the Product Packaging Process

There's no way to make packaging design a contained process that can be taken on by a single person - or even a single team. Since numerous departments are inevitably going to be involved in the end to end product lifecycle, it's best to get everyone into the loop as quickly as possible. In fact, PackagingSchool.com recommended kicking off any new label design effort with representatives from every involved department present, from designers to the suppliers who will be tasked with physically producing the packages.

Once work has begun on the packaging artwork, how will these stakeholders keep in contact with one another? If they stick to legacy methods, they may end up emailing unfinished concepts back and forth, entering data into offline spreadsheets and potentially creating inconsistent duplicates of essential information. These methods are common in industries of all kinds, but that doesn't mean using them is the right approach to modern Artwork Management challenges.

The product lifecycle is long and complicated, stretching from pre-launch planning to updates mandated by new regulations and more. As time passes, the inherent challenges of keeping a large team working together harmoniously will only deepen. Configurable Artwork Management Solutions anticipate the way product development lifecycles work, giving teams a consistent set of information to work with as they move through the checks and approvals of label Artwork Management, from the earliest concepts to first release and later iterations.

Potential Bottlenecks Present Difficulties

There are numerous failure points in package design and Artwork Management workflows - and many of them have to do with teamwork and information transfers. Breakdowns in communication can slow these processes to a crawl or stop them in their tracks. Due to the fact that packaging label designs are essential to getting products on shelves in a timely manner, these faults put the entire development timetable at risk.

Industrial Packaging relayed the ways to clear obstructions out of the workflow and create finalized or updated package artwork in a timely and easy manner. Faulty lines of communication between individuals and departments represent one of the major potential breakdowns companies face. When there isn't a simple or standardized way for changes to be communicated and logged, it's possible for companies to make mistakes, especially when those organizations maintain numerous stock-keeping units.

Not only must all involved parties be in constant contact with one another, but these stakeholders should also leave a verifiable trail of information. Industrial Packaging expounded on the importance of documentation. Companies should store the information for each product's labels, keeping a digital paper trail and not mixing up the data. One of the major advantages of using a purpose-built Artwork Management solution instead of an informal system is that this transparent history is built into the way changes are made and logged offering auditability and accountability.

The Latest Tech Holds Answers

"People will know what their teammates have said about particular designs, and when they made those comments."

Within the more general field of product lifecycle management, companies should consider the tech solutions they are using for steps such as packaging design.

When the software used for this process has advanced collaboration features, the whole process of getting a label from concept to store shelves becomes simplified. Features such as high-resolution proofing, with each change and note visible to all users, take the risk and potential confusion out of communication. Now, people will know what their teammates have said about particular designs, as well as when co-workers made those comments.

Other functions such as translation for overseas markets can also be accomplished within comprehensive Artwork Management Solutions. Phrase management enables you to create a library of common, unlimited phrases and statements, which can then quickly and easily be translated into any number of languages to streamline processes and ensure accuracy.  Whether these translators are an in-house team or a partner organization, they can get the visibility they need and they drive packaging consistency and compliance while reducing the time and cost associated with the translation process.

From staying up to date with compliance-related label updates to pushing a design change to every worldwide affiliate, potentially difficult communication tasks become easy when teams have access to advanced Artwork Management Solutions. Pushing a product into today's complex global markets is a challenge, and the task is borne by many stakeholders working in tandem. When the technology they use is up to the task, these professionals are more likely to achieve positive results with reduced time to market and cost savings.

If you would like to understand more about efficient artwork approval processes then please download our "Artwork Management for Dummies" guide today. Also, feel free to contact me directly at nwinteringham@loftware.com / +44 (0)7841022758 to discuss your challenges and requirements further. 

Topics:RetailLabeling

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