Debunking the myths about packaging artwork management
Managing the packaging artwork for products can be a cumbersome - and relentless - process for businesses, especially when they rely on email and spreadsheets to get the job done. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Unfortunately, many businesses labour under a range of misconceptions about managing packaging artwork - from the need to constantly struggle with internal and external collaboration to the necessity of endless revision cycles.
Myth one - There is no way to change the existing new product development processes
Manual procedures, such as managing approvals through email and spreadsheets, have become part of the ‘standard’ process to manage product packaging artwork. These approaches lead to haphazard approval processes and make it harder to follow edits, comments, approvals and dates and to meet deadlines.
Instead, look to create an outline of existing processes that includes stakeholders, responsibilities and approvals for each product packaging type. Then, build out workflows to better streamline processes, and extend the review cycle to multiple people simultaneously.
Myth two - Collaboration is always frustrating
When creating packaging artwork, communications can feel chaotic. Relying on email and spreadsheets for project collaboration results in miscommunication. Emails can be overlooked and sit in someone’s inbox, causing bottlenecks and slowing time-to-market, while stakeholders lack visibility into the portions of the project that they’re responsible for.
In contrast, real-time collaboration and structured workflows deliver clear visibility into the status of packaging artwork. Each stakeholder can see the status of the project and where it is in the lifecycle.
Extending collaboration to partners, vendors and suppliers makes everyone’s job easier. When everyone has real-time visibility into the process, you see where your packaging is in the product lifecycle, and who - or what - is holding things up.
Myth three - Getting it right first time is impossible
Time-to-market will always be critical. Without an artwork management system in place, reviewers may not be able to differentiate between versions, thereby missing changes in the artwork that they’re responsible for. Such a haphazard approval process is a drain on your time and wastes valuable resources and money.
Once you replace spreadsheets with a solution that enables collaboration and automates workflow, however, you’re more likely to develop your packaging artwork right the first time around.
In this improved digital environment, you can set up workflows requiring project managers to incorporate necessary packaging requirements at the outset. Once these prerequisites are outlined, the first phase of artwork can begin and will trigger each subsequent step automatically.
Product packaging development demands real-time annotation tools and visibility into changes in artwork. With automation, predefined checklists and a set of approvals for each project/package, stakeholders focus on items for which they are responsible - thereby reducing cycle times and expenses.
Josh Roffman, Loftware
Myth four - There is no easy way to manage translations
With the confusion that comes with translations, you may end up sending the same content repeatedly. Some companies house translations in a shared spreadsheet, but doing this is onerous, especially when you have thousands of products sold in hundreds of countries. Spreadsheets make it difficult to determine the correct version.
There is a better way. Solutions offering translation libraries, with capabilities like version control and approval management, help ensure you use the correct version. Integrating business logic with a centralised translation library can automate the selection of the approved translation for each project, helping to make certain the right translations get on the right packaging.
Myth five - Searching for the right content takes forever
The life of your packaging artwork doesn’t end when your product heads for the door. With multiple products and packaging variations as well as frequent updates to deal with, life gets complicated.
Searching for artwork from projects completed months ago can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. You may not know, for example, if the latest version is on your computer, in SharePoint or owned by someone else, or which vendor has the artwork or content. This all adds complexity and can make managing your product packaging even harder.
Instead of storing your artwork with a vendor, you can house the files and packaging artwork that your company has purchased in-house. Once your vendor has finished creating the packaging and everything is approved, why not just load them into a digital library in the same system where you managed the project?
Once the packaging artwork has been approved by all stakeholders, it can then be automatically saved to a digital asset library, giving everyone access to the latest file and document ready to print. Housing all your artwork files, versions, videos, die cuts, finished artwork, brand docs, images and packaging in the same project management system used to approve the content makes life easier for everyone.
Truth - A digital artwork management solution can be the answer
The misconceptions reviewed above are myths – not truths. All of these are the results of challenges from disorganised manual processes. Managing packaging artwork is never easy, but you don’t need to let manual processes be overwhelming.
With today’s increasing pressure to get products to market by turning around packaging artwork more efficiently, forward-thinking companies are turning to automated, digital solutions to manage the process. With a user-friendly, cloud-based platform to streamline your packaging lifecycle processes, you can get to market faster, while increasing efficiencies at the same time.