What Are the Most Important Features to Look for in Modern Artwork Management Software?

by Justin Ward, on August 13, 2019

What kinds of digital assets do your artwork management personnel have access to?
What kinds of digital assets do your artwork management personnel have access to?

Getting a product from early concept stages onto store shelves requires several rounds of development or approval for every element of the item itself, as well as the packaging. Artwork management workflows can be the key to speeding up your overall product development process and supply chain in general. It can be tempting to overlook specific artwork management systems if your company already has an accepted procedure in place, but it's worth asking yourself whether that present system is working as intended.

If your designers, compliance officers and other essential personnel are passing files back and forth via email or using nonspecialized software such as Microsoft Excel to track their progress, your artwork approvals run a high risk of slowing down or being derailed by human error. The answer to this imperfect approach can come in the form of a modern artwork management software deployment.

Breaking Down the Key Features of Artwork Management

Picking a new software solution to speed up your artwork management workflow should not be a common occurrence. It's important to ensure your new solution has helpful features in place that will keep it relevant for years to come. The following are some of the top items to look for when inspecting potential new innovations for your company.

Global Collaborative Tools and Centralized Asset Management

Multiple teams within your organization will have to see a packaging design before it is finalized. As Leprino Foods' James Macnamara wrote for Packaging World, marketing and sales personnel will have input on a new piece of artwork, as it will be their duty to develop campaigns around the finished item. The product development team will also need to register their opinions about materials and intended shelving. Add on compliance teams, partner organizations and upper management, and there are many individuals who need a quick way to communicate.

Whether the personnel with eyes on your artwork development process are all based in one building or scattered around the globe, they'll appreciate the ability to work together on the same versions of designs, with all comments and changes visible. The risks of duplication and general confusion that come from emailing assets back and forth vanish when employees and external partners have access to a single collection of updated, full-resolution assets and proofing tools.

Records for Compliance Purposes

Only considering regulatory compliance and the related packaging elements at a late point in product development is a bad idea, and it can lead to eleventh-hour slowdowns and revisions. Packaging School notes that companies should look into relevant agencies and authorities early in the label development process, then keep those ideas in mind through all steps of approvals - artwork management solutions can help ensure legal requirements stay top-of-mind at all times.

Ideal artwork management solutions for today's companies should ensure every change is noted and recorded, and that there is documentation for every part of label development. This verified information will help internal teams while they are working on obliging legal needs, and will prove important later if regulatory bodies request the data.

A designer using a computer.What does your design team need to thrive?

Data Analytics Features

Analyzing data is a potentially underrated part of artwork management, because it simply isn't possible to take this approach when a company uses a piecemeal system instead of a purpose-built piece of software. When your whole workflow for packaging development is digital, however, you can turn data from every step into analytics fuel.

The real-time analytics dashboards available with modern artwork management tools enable team members and leaders to track the key performance indicators that mean the most to them. When there is a risk of a project falling behind schedule, the warning signs will be clear, allowing managers to develop more effective approaches and remove bottlenecks, maximizing productivity.

Getting the Performance Your Product Development Workflow Deserves

Graphic Arts magazine pointed out that overseeing artwork management digitally benefits every element of the packaging workflow, from cost management to general visibility into the many tasks involved. If your company is still proceeding without a technological solution to your artwork development pain points, it's worth considering an upgrade.

Going too long with a non-optimized legacy approach to reviews and approvals just lets that system become further ingrained, while competitors that have digital artwork management in place may already be reaping the effectiveness and time-to-market benefits. Designing the labels and other packaging elements that adorn your products is a potential bottleneck, one you should waste no time in clearing.

Topics:Supply ChainLabelingLogistics