Great artwork origination sets the foundation for outstanding packaging, with operations at this early stage setting the tone for production. As the success of core pre-press operations has a knock-on effect all along the supply chain, it’s critically important to get this right. Packaging that has been designed efficiently, accurately, to specification and on time can determine the ultimate success of the product.
Removing the on-boarding bottleneck
Securing reviews and approvals from a global team is a major source of delay in the packaging development process, particularly when you take the increasing number of packaging components into account. In order to perform effectively, you need to know the status of your campaigns and projects at all times, with key data including:
- What stage is the project at today?
- Where are the bottlenecks?
- Do all stakeholders have access to the latest revision?
- Do your suppliers have all the collateral they need to proceed?
At Esko, our suite of solutions for packaging prepress turns the traditional layout of individual and often stilted processes on its head. Perfect on-boarding shouldn’t be a disconnected array of individual systems. Success comes when a thriving ecosystem of devices and software tools integrate to unlock crucial efficiencies. From the very outset, we design our software for ultimate synergy; as a network of interconnected tools. However, for prepress operators and designers, it hasn’t always been that way.
Managing incoming artwork and approvals remains a challenging aspect of design, even for seasoned packaging professionals. The subjectivity of design, accuracy and changeability of information and last-minute amends when the print-run deadline looms have all historically affected the consistency, incisiveness and agility to operate efficiently.
Part of the problem has been a discrepancy between the designer and the converter, which stems from each having different objectives: the designer’s raison d’être is to create a beautiful design, while converters must then reproduce that design given the limitations of reproduction technology.
Increasing capacity without increasing headcount
Being a truly collaborative effort, many stake-holders are involved in packaging design and development and it is vital to keep track of each key element in ideation and the creation process. A powerful and user-friendly web-based platform, WebCenter streamlines communication between all stakeholders, substantially reducing lead times and seamlessly integrating with production tools such as Adobe Illustrator® and business systems like MIS or ERP.
With errors, miscommunications and print reruns leading to unwanted timeline compressions and consequences in terms of time, money and most importantly, reputation, the status of projects needs to be visible at all times in order to minimize the potential for errors.
Recent years have seen ever more demand for shorter lead times and run lengths, particularly with the growth of digital print technology. This changing trend of more and faster packaging variation on the shop shelves has led to an increase in the number of individual SKUs that businesses need to track, trace and archive, itself creating a need for new processes for accuracy and quality standards.
We recently hosted a webinar with Dennis Ebeltoft, joint Managing Director at Springfield Solutions Ltd. in North Yorkshire, England. He strongly agreed that the demand for more jobs with shorter run lengths and lead times had created order-handling bottlenecks and approval delays, restricting business growth. As quality of service and turnaround time are two key components in how Springfield Solutions differentiate themselves from their competitors, he explained why the company is investing in WebCenter to combat these challenges in specification and on-boarding, to drive real value through the origination process.
Automation in approvals
WebCenter manages packaging pre-production specification, approval and project life cycle for brands and converters alike. The software has packaging at its core and enables effortless collaboration onall aspects of successful packaging: its shape, branding andcolormanagement, as well ascontrol of all necessary content.
Implementing an ecosystem of solutions,including WebCenter,makes approval pathways simple and easy to follow. New packaging development from ideation to shelf is a complicated journey, highlighting the importance of a packaging-aware workflow that allows everyone to contribute comments and approvals securely and efficiently from wherever they are in the world, via web or mobile. With rising job numbers, the imperative is to keep up with many tasks at the same time and at different stages and so visibility at all times is key.
Why choose WebCenter?
WebCenter puts the power of collaboration firmly at the forefront, pulling approvals, comments and amends into one central portal, so every stakeholder or participant can receive updates when a supplier picks up a file, when each version is approved and by whom, along with the changes that need to be made and when.
Of course, another key benefit of integrated systems is the consistency and error-free transitioning that come with it, which is of particular note to brand managers and marketers. In the retail world, your brand equity is the most valuable asset you have, and it is critical to protect it. The intangible elements, such as logos, graphic styles and colors are all elements that make your product instantly recognizable. Dips in quality can spell brand recall disaster for businesses, as well as costly re-runs slowing down the process and adding extra cost to the bottom line.
Time and resources are finite and valuable. Efficient systems such as WebCenter and the entire Esko software ecosystem lead to better use of allocated budget, tightening up the project turnaround speed and using unrivalled efficiency to create savings that allow businesses to accomplish more in the same timeframe.
For more on Esko and its products, visit www.esko.com.