The art of collaboration in packaging processes - why automation is key
Troy Walker, Loftware's global artwork & packaging solutions executive
According to recent research, around a third of consumers base their purchase choices around the packaging, often making these decisions in under seven seconds. The importance of high-quality packaging artwork, therefore, cannot be overstated: After all, not only does the product’s artwork communicate the brand, but also its compliance to industry regulations.
To produce standout artwork - while also reducing the risk of non-compliance and subsequent product delays - processes need to be carefully managed. Those who need access to approved artwork, as well as those collaborating for review and approval, need visibility too, as this is increasingly crucial in ensuring consistency and speeding up time to market. This is especially true not only for designers and printers but also for regulatory/compliance professionals, packaging professionals and brand owners.
Collaboration between all these stakeholders is crucial to the success of any artwork management process. It’s more important still that this collaboration happens seamlessly.
Too often, this is not the case.
When creating packaging artwork, communications between departments, colleagues and external vendors can appear disorganised, chaotic and prone to slip-ups. Too many artwork professionals still rely on the traditional online communication formats to manage complex projects.
Email and spreadsheets are not the way forward
Email is meant for communication, not for the management of complex projects. Relying on email and spreadsheets for project collaboration results in miscommunication, delays and a lack of accountability. Emails can be overlooked and sit unopened in someone’s inbox, resulting in bottlenecks.
At the same time, stakeholders lack visibility into the portions of the project that are in their specific areas of responsibility. Indeed, artwork could move to the next phase of the project without receiving the proper approvals from all necessary stakeholders. Using email can also cause mix-ups with due dates and, sometimes, stakeholders will just forget.
When working with outside vendors, the challenges can be even greater. Messages and tasks within email chains can be confusing, resulting, for example, in the wrong artwork component being changed or the wrong version going to the printer.
Automated collaboration - bringing everything together
When it comes to project management, collaboration and workflow go hand-in-hand. When these forces work together, the entire project team reaps the rewards.
Real-time collaboration and structured workflows enable project managers - and their artwork management teams - to have clear visibility into the status of their artwork. With an automated system, managers can paint a clear picture of project deliverables for the whole team. Each stakeholder is then on the same page and can see the status of the project and where it is in the lifecycle.
Extending the tools to collaborate with partners, vendors and suppliers makes everyone’s job easier. Not only will external partners and suppliers have real-time visibility, their own list of tasks and due dates, but all information will be housed in one place, allowing each stakeholder to get their jobs done quicker.
Internal and external collaboration is key to time-to-market. With the right solution, project owners and managers can easily collaborate between departments and vendors. When everyone has real-time visibility into a product’s packaging, potential bottlenecks can be identified and eliminated, helping drive operational efficiencies and ultimately boosting the bottom line.
With the benefits of using an automated artwork management solution that enables seamless collaboration between all stakeholders on projects, the days of using emails, spreadsheets and manual processes look increasingly numbered.
Getting everyone on the same page may be one of the more obvious rules of business, but too many packaging companies fail to follow it when it comes to packaging design and creation. And, as Troy Walker, global artwork & packaging solutions executive at Loftware, explains, they are missing a fundamental trick.