Why You Should Eliminate Spreadsheets from Your Artwork Management Process

by Justin Ward, on December 10, 2018

Efficient approval workflows are better than spreadsheets.
Efficient approval workflows are better than spreadsheets.

What does your new product development workflow look like? Is your company still handling important decisions regarding packaging and Artwork Management via spreadsheets and other manual and non-configurable solutions? If so, this outdated approach directly impacts your ability to collaborate and your time to market. This approach results in duplicated data, excessive revision cycles and  miscommunication between stakeholders.

Alternatively, comprehensive Artwork Management solutions provide value from their ability to remove unreliable manual processes. 

Benefits of Replacing Spreadsheets

The widespread use of spreadsheets in communications persists due to inertia and a general lack of visibility as well as difficulty managing unstructured data and versions.

In a Forbes column, data-mining expert Meta Brown pointed out three main problems with employing spreadsheets instead of more modern data management tools. Namely, working with sheets requires time-consuming manual effort, introduces the risk of error and generates non-standardized forms that rely on individual employees' knowledge to make sense.

Artwork Management is one of the internal processes within your product lifecycle which is negatively impacted by spreadsheet use. Individuals who have to edit, approve and sign off on product artwork. Using labor-intensive and error-prone manual processes, including the use of spreadsheets and routing of physical folders, adds time and risk to your product lifecycle. This is especially true when there are multiple teams involved and individuals are not completing their tasks on time. Spreadsheets and trackers can be overly complex in size and result in too much time sourcing, chasing and trafficking. These spreadsheets are frequently distributed via email and require a Project Manager to update the master regularly to ensure all changes have been captured.

Project management and general workplace communications are currently muddled, according to Stephanie Vozza, who writes about business productivity Fast Company. The influx of more modern platforms into environments defined by spreadsheets and email hasn't been uniform. Multiple types of workflows are coexisting uneasily, and it's difficult to instill the needed transparency. There are significant productivity benefits for organizations that can confidently move forward and revamp their Artwork Management processes.

An employee checks on digital documentation.Modern Artwork Management tools can speed product development.

Importance of Efficient Artwork Management

Without finalized and approved artwork, items can't make it to the market. Furthermore, errors and miscommunications in the Artwork Management process can lead to recalls, regulatory action or consumer dissatisfaction. Extensive use of spreadsheets among the Artwork Management stakeholders may lead to this kind of value-damaging disconnect. Fortunately, product development teams don't have to settle for outdated methods, and can upgrade to modern Artwork Management platforms.

The main characteristic instilled by comprehensive Artwork Management solutions is clarity. When every relevant team member can be confident that they are seeing the latest version of a piece of artwork and sign off on it, there is less chance of delays, mistakes or general confusion about the status of the project. In industries governed by strict regulations, where process visibility is especially important and finished products must meet demanding standards, this kind of transparency is especially indispensable.

For more on the advantages of an efficient Artwork Management process download our recent report "From Chaos to Calm."

Chaos to Calm

Topics:ManufacturingArtwork Management

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