Humans are prone to make mistakes. Regardless of how careful we are during a packaging project, errors can happen. That’s why quality assurance (QA) exists. Brands that excel on the QA front can reduce the number of mistakes on the packaging that make it onto the shelf.

However, mistakes can still slip through the QA process on occasion. Packaging managers and teams should also consider tools to help reduce errors as much as possible.

Packaging typos or artwork mistakes typically come about during human interactions—anytime an employee is working on the package design. While complete automation in packaging is not likely something that will happen anytime soon—as there will always be a need for employees to interact with the design—there are specific parts of the packaging process that can certainly be automated.

One such process is making edits and changes to the artwork of a package design. Automated artwork solutions can drastically improve the quality of brand packaging while simultaneously reducing costs.

So, what are the changes or alterations to artwork solutions that would be the most beneficial to automate?

Most Common Use Cases For Automation With Packaging Artwork

According to an internal Esko study, forty percent of all packaging artwork changes are due to minor content changes. Here are some of the ways that automation will be used in packaging in the present and near future.

Updating simple content/text – Small minor updates to the copy on a package can turn into big errors. Even a small typo can drastically harm brand reputation.  

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Updating tables – While typos with copy can harm brand reputation, mistakes with ingredients labels or other important tables can hurt brand image and put the consumer in danger if they have allergies, for example.

Updating codes and symbols – Barcodes are essential for stock management and keeping tabs on sales. Wrong barcode labels can be extremely costly to a brand.

Creating variants from a master template – Automating variants of a master template should be simple, and therefore automating such processes is a smart move for brands.

The Benefits of Automated Artwork Solutions

By using automated artwork solutions to take on those simple changes, packaging managers can accomplish the following:

  • Reduce human error by removing human interaction and therefore decreasing the risk for inherent mistakes.
  • Increase speed-to-market by managing small changes internally and automatically.
  • Decrease costs by insourcing minor changes

Who Should Automate Artwork?

Packaging artwork directors who experience the issues below could benefit from an automated artwork solution in their packaging process:

Significant Pressure to Create and Update Packaging Faster 

The need to meet demand is crucial for a product’s success. The inability to get packaging created fast enough to satisfy consumers can lead to a tarnished brand reputation.

Increased Number of Brand SKUs

Adding SKUs to a brand portfolio is a great way to improve the diversification of options based on consumer preferences. However, it can be difficult to manually make the changes to master templates and other necessary alterations to pull off adding additional SKUs.

Increased Outsourcing Costs

Artwork directors that recognize outsourcing costs for artwork updates have gone up dramatically and don’t want to decrease their bottom line should also consider automated artwork. This is especially important for those who are over their current spending plan and need to find ways to reduce costs.

Too Many People Involved in the Quality Assurance Process

As mentioned previously, having a thorough QA process is essential. That being said, artwork directors need to make sure they are spending their QA budget wisely. Investing in automation on the QA side will improve efficiency and quality to reduce inherent errors.

Need to Reduce Packaging Risk

The cost of errors is high. This is true for both the costs of recalls and making changes, as well as brand market share and equity.

Automation in packaging is already here, there are plenty of solutions available for packaging managers to use that can improve efficiency, decrease costs, and reduce errors. Brands that utilize these solutions the best will place themselves in front of the competitors for years to come.

To learn about how Esko can help improve your brand packaging processes, contact them today.

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