Artwork Management Maturity Cycle
Artwork System Sales Representative: We are in business of Artwork Management Software. etc.
CPG Company Executive: What’s the deal? !
This is the first reaction of many CPG and Pharma companies (mostly all the Small and Medium-sized businesses) when it comes to Artwork Management.
This solution is not needed by anyone except the key stakeholders, such as packaging, regulatory and QA, marketing. It is a new concept that IT staff have not heard of. The team responsible for Labeling and Artwork is left to manage their own files, including uploading files to desktops and sending them for approval via email. Sometimes, printouts are also used.
This type of operation works well for small businesses that only have a few products. They also have low volumes so IT automation is not an issue. Medium and large businesses with increasing SKUs, changing regulations, and global expansion will find the benefits of automation a clear advantage. They’ll be able to get their products on the market faster and remain compliant. As a company grows, automation provides the necessary consistency and structure.
You can group the current state of Artwork Management within a company into one of these four stages
Manual or email-based processes
Structured Workflows & Basic Asset Library
Integrate Asset Library and Workflows with other systems such as SAP and PIM.
Global Enterprise-Wide Artwork Management System extended for Vendors as well as all other stakeholders.
Structured Workflows & Asset Library
To consistently deliver high quality products on the market, it is essential to get rid of manual processes. A basic Artwork Management system that includes a central searchable and version controlled Asset Library and structured workflows for review/approval is almost a requirement. The biggest fear people have is “Where do I start?” ‘.
Begin with the process. The first steps in a successful project implementation are understanding the current process and mapping the future process. This will allow you to identify the people responsible for the tasks and their roles. They will also be able to tell you how long each task will take. When mapping out the process to-be, be aware of any exceptions. Assumptions need to be validated. What-if scenarios should also be considered. A well-organized workflow is essential for keeping track of assets, approvals, and final delivery to print.
Many companies have a Quality Management System that incorporates continuous process improvement. This may mean that the artwork processes need to be optimized for the growth of the company. A business requirement is to have an artwork system that is flexible enough to keep up with changes. The organization can automate the entire artwork-life-cycle by starting with the core processes.
Integration with other systems
Now that processes are in place it is time to improve efficiency at every step of the workflow. Collaboration, annotation, and proofing tools allow users to do their jobs faster and better. Online annotation tools allow for accurate feedback and help with workflow approvals. You can speed up the process by using proofing tools to check everything, including colors, fonts and images as well as dimensions, barcodes and braille.
Data management is crucial to obtaining a single source of truth. Product information can be reused through integration with an ERP, PLM, or PIM system. It is necessary to have an Artwork system that has ERP connectors. This system must also be able to integrate Product and BOM information. You can make changes to artwork in the Quality Management System. After approval, the Artwork Management System pulls data from SAP such as Item Code and BOM details. Finally, the artwork is uploaded into an eCommerce Portal for online publishing. The Artwork management system can be integrated with other systems to create a seamless flow data and files that will allow for faster market time and compliance to regulations.
Integration with Adobe Illustrator or Structural design tools to create Dielines makes it easy to manage files and control versions.
Global Integration with Third Party Vendors
Once internal systems are in place and connected, it’s time to add external vendors, third-party contractors, design agencies/translation agencies, print management agents and any other people involved with the artwork process. The ability to bring everyone together on the same platform improves visibility, reduces rework, and creates a system that can scale with the company’s global expansion. You can set up control points where, for example, an invoice to a printer vendor will be released in the ERP after the artwork has been approved. The vendor is also guaranteed to receive the correct file to print. Expanding to new markets and countries is easier, and the outcomes are more predictable throughout the enterprise. This requires an enterprise-scale Artwork Management System that is built on a BPM Engine and robust Content Management Framework. It also needs architectures to scale up or down according to the company’s changing needs.