Do you feel as though you never know the status of label and artwork projects in your organization?  Do you long for greater control over – and visibility into – all of those label and artwork management cycles?  Do you ever receive emails from different label and artwork stakeholders with conflicting information and wonder, “What do we do now?” Do you worry your risk of recall has increased because documented processes are no longer followed?

As your business grows in size and complexity, managing labels and artwork can become a formidable task, and you might not know exactly where to turn to bring things under better control. Do you need to implement different procedures?  Buy new collaboration software?  Improve email management? Something else entirely?  You may even have an inkling your organization needs a Label and Artwork Management solution, but you’re not 100% sure.

To clear up the confusion, here are the five signs it’s time to implement Label and Artwork Management technology.

Sign 1:  You don’t know where a file is in the approval process.

Let’s face it: approval processes can be discouraging. Even in the simplest and most mature markets, packaging labels and artwork typically require approvals from at least three or four stakeholders. And in more complex scenarios, as many as 15 people may need to approve packaging labels and artwork at various stages of its development, including packaging coordinators, quality assurance people, packaging engineers, health authorities, printers, design agencies, and others responsible for technical, regulatory, and compliance approvals.

This means approval workflows can easily become a waiting game – and a long one at that. Can you pinpoint when your boss sent the file to quality assurance? Can you say for sure the design agency has their hands on the latest version? How much time does it take for the file to get from point A to point B?

With Label and Artwork Management technology, you can create custom label and artwork workflows that empower you to track an approval’s progress. You’ll know who’s handling the file at all times, and you can set automatic reminders to keep approvers on task and on schedule. You can even adjust deadlines as necessary for each stage in the approval process.

Sign 2: You’re routing files for approval by email.

People like to rely on email. It’s been a popular form of business communication since its debut, and there are many reasons why.  Email is a reliable way to communicate quickly, and at scale if necessary.  It allows the recipient to respond at their leisure.  Email keeps track of itself, and it allows the user to skip the “niceties” usually required in a phone call.

But email is more of a hindrance than a help when it comes to Label and Artwork Management.  The reality is, artwork files usually take nothing less than a wild ride through multiple email inboxes before they are approved.  The version in your inbox might not include the most recent changes.  Or multiple people might have made changes, but one or more of the changes conflicts with previously approved content and so the file has to retrace its steps.

With Label and Artwork Management technology, you gain a fluid, accessible approval process.  Everyone can see the latest artwork version – and the annotations on it – in real-time.  They also have instant access to briefing documents and reference files so feedback aligns with pre-approved assets and guidelines.

Sign 3: You have a lack of accountability.

Accountability is essential to creating efficient teams and hitting deadlines. Without it, problems persist and there’s little opportunity for improvement.  But if your label and artwork workflows are manual, it’s hard to tell where an approval was delayed or why a stage-gate was missed.

A Label and Artwork Management solution enables companies to trace multiple iterations of an approval. Documentation is available for each step, and this transparency and traceability supports root-cause analysis when delays occur. It pinpoints bottlenecks and shows where an item is in the approval process at all times, enabling efficient follow-up or highlighting opportunities for process improvements.

Sign 4: Inter-departmental processes are a grind.

No team is an island unto itself, especially in Label and Artwork Management.  Chances are, your team interacts with other teams in multiple departments throughout the organization: marketing, legal, regulatory, operations, and so on.

As a result, your label and artwork workflows will cross into these departments’ territories – and if you’re not careful, this is where bottlenecks will occur.  Departments that don’t rely on the same systems and processes you do… or that don’t adhere to the same deadlines or timelines you do… or that otherwise do things differently than you do – can cause substantial delays.  If you can’t share files, assign tasks, and communicate inter-departmentally, you’re not going to see the results a more cohesive unit could achieve.

Label and Artwork Management can help streamline processes across departments, as well as help you label (pun intended!) roles and assign tasks to certain people, even if they’re not a direct part of your team.  This means that if a bottleneck does occur, you’re not emailing back and forth to see who might be responsible. You’ll know exactly which step of the process is “stuck” and who should be taking care of it.

Sign 5: You have poor brand consistency.

Your brand identity is the fundamental way you differentiate yourself from your competition on the shelf, online, and in the media.  It impacts the consumer experience at every touch point on the path from product discovery to product purchase – affecting consumer perceptions of your value, trustworthiness, and health.  For these reasons and more, inconsistency is bad for brands.

But unless your teams can easily get a hold of the brand assets they need to remain consistent, brand consistency will suffer. More often than not, when teams can’t find what they need they’ll make their own or commission an agency to recreate what they were looking for – which is inefficient, expensive, and creates versions within versions of your brand.

When your teams use a Label and Artwork Management system, you make it easy for them to access the materials they need to stay on brand without undertaking new content or artwork initiatives. And when you integrate brand guidelines in the same system, you can educate users about what the brand stands for and how to use brand assets accurately.  This also makes it simple for your organization to gain visibility over all global brand assets – from design to distribution and archiving, including approval tracking and rights management.

Label and artwork management key to brand packaging success

It’s natural to want to maintain the status quo. But your business must move forward to succeed, and Label and Artwork Management technology enables you to move miles closer.

To learn more about the benefits of Label and Artwork Management, download our e-book: Boost the Bottom Line by Streamlining Package Design.

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