Prevent Packaging Content Management Chaos
by Max Manikian, on January 8, 2020
Projects such as Artwork Management for product packaging can only proceed smoothly when stakeholders have the resources they need to succeed. When workflows are too informal, or reliance on legacy technology has led to inefficient and ineffective file storage policies, unexpected and costly delays may be the result. This is where up-to-date Artwork Management Solutions deliver value, providing a content management approach that ensures employees have easy access to the content they need to complete their tasks without workflows descending into confusion.
Causes of Chaos
The following are a few scenarios in which product Artwork Management may become compromised, along with the ways in which product packaging software can negate these issues. Manufacturers hoping to ensure that artwork design, adjustments and approvals do not become bottlenecks in their overall operations should pay attention to these risks, then choose software tools to smooth their workflows.
Labeling a New Product
New product development can often feel like a footrace between companies trying to establish their leadership in a particular product space by iterating quickly and putting new goods on store shelves. Time-to-market is the measure of success for companies that sell their goods at retail, according to Forbes contributor Greg Petro. He indicated that in a consumer space working at smartphone speed, businesses should focus on accelerating their development cycles.
However, product packaging can throw the whole new product development timetable off schedule, if common content management mistakes crop up. When the employees tasked with creating packaging concepts, iterating on the designs or signing off on the latest versions become confused about where to find files - or fall behind because communications are being handled through email - delays may result. Since no product can make it into the marketplace without an approved label, these Artwork Management follies can slow an item's roll-out and weaken the manufacturer's potential earnings.
Breaking through those unreliable legacy processes is where product packaging artwork software can help new product development. When companies use such a tech tool, every change is meticulously tracked, and every stakeholder makes edits and approvals in a centralized system that the others can access. This streamlining of the workflow helps managers shepherd each new label design through changes and sign-offs and get products out to the public.
Updating Existing Packaging Artwork
There are many reasons why a product already on the market could need a new label. Regulations about label content may have changed, or the company might simply want to take a different direction with its visual identity. In these cases, the design team has to take the concept back to the drawing board. Just as unreliable and inefficient Artwork Management workflows might derail a new product's development cycle, the same interruptions can affect an attempt to redesign the label.
Especially in the case of revisions required to stay in regulatory compliance, failure to manage artwork efficiently can have a negative impact on the bottom line. A business that can't get its new labels designed and approved quickly will suffer an interruption in sales, losing potential business. Stakeholders must be able to quickly call up the needed artwork files, make the revisions and receive sign-off, both internally and from third-party bodies.
The same Artwork Management systems that can guide products through the development process can help with any changes needed after the fact. The clear workflows and great visibility of all related assets will continue to provide potential value as long as an item is being produced and sold.
Branching Out into Overseas Markets
Reaching overseas customers is a branding balancing act. Companies need to quickly tweak their packaging designs, changing elements such as required warnings and measurements while maintaining the integrity of their branding. As an example of the kinds of information governed by regulatory bodies, the National Institute of Standards and Technology pointed out that the Uniform Packaging and Labeling Regulation for items sold in the U.S. calls for the identity of a package's contents, the identity and location of the company responsible and the net quantity in metric units.
Localizing written content, changing regulatory data and making other necessary adjustments for international versions of projects can quickly get out of hand if companies don't have strong content management tools in place. Each new country adds a new variation of a label, so organizations that keep their information in disorganized legacy systems may find it difficult to track the current version of each piece, or to keep track of approvals.
A single source of truth is also important for managing packaging artwork workflows for companies hoping to localize content with little trouble. Branded imagery, compliance information and more should be kept in a centralized location to ensure consistency and prevent long, inefficient searches for the correct files.
Working with a Packaging Printer
Integrating with outside partner organizations is one of the many overlooked challenges associated with product packaging creation. Companies that attempt to scale up their production or branch out to work with third parties in multiple territories may find that their workflows and processes don't work smoothly with the systems owned by their chosen partners.
Working with a printer's digital front end system may mean losing control over the integrity of a label design. Furthermore, businesses can find themselves repeating the same processes and delivering the necessary files to every one of their potentially many allies in the printing space. These manual data handoffs bring the risk of human error and eliminates first hand control of the creative.
The standardized workflows associated with Artwork Management solutions allow manufacturers to know exactly which files are the correct, approved and finalized versions of their packaging and hand the data over smoothly. Offering access of a centralized digital asset library to a third-party printer makes the exchange of data quicker and less prone to confusion.
One Consistent Answer
Using an up-to-date, centralized Artwork Management solution that integrates with internal and external systems to deliver improved content visibility is the way to solve numerous problems at once. Companies struggling with legacy tools and outdated workflows for artwork design and management may not realize how much room for improvement they have in their processes. With a systems upgrade, they can discover the value they've been missing out on.