Getting different results than the ones to which you’re accustomed usually requires subversive thinking. While many people are comfortable with the status quo, those who excel are constantly looking for new ways to improve. Sometimes this results in changing the way entire industries think. These people are called disruptors, and while you may have been reprimanded in grade school for being disruptive in class, you can receive accolades for being disruptive in your industry if you go about it the right way. We believe this is especially true in marketing’s packaging and labeling disciplines.
So what’s wrong with the status quo in the packaging and labeling process? Well, for one, it leaves you exposed. Developing a label is a highly complex task and it’s usually a manual process involving many stakeholders. It doesn’t matter how competent and hard working these stakeholders are. When there are many, the waters get muddied and this invites errors somewhere along the line.
Think about it. People in many different departments (marketing, regulatory, packaging, product responsibility liaisons, etc.) scrutinize a label. And each time the label is passed to a new person, there’s a different and potentially contrasting approach in terms of the time involved in the approval process. This adds a lot of time, which can quickly lead to missed deadlines and ship dates. While missed deadlines and ship dates might not show you exactly where the problems lie within your packaging and labeling process, they’re solid indicators your process is broken.
And missed ship dates aren’t the only problem. Human error often results in labeling mistakes that lead to either expensive recalls or products hitting the market with outdated or inaccurate information, thereby putting consumers at risk. Lost money from missed launch deadlines, content inaccuracies, unneeded waste, and potential lawsuits? These are very real dangers for companies everywhere, but they don’t have to be.
Our Director of Business Development, Jackie Leslie, has developed four steps to improve packaging and labeling utilizing Microsoft’s former VP Steven Sinofsky’s “Stages of Disruption,” outlined here:
- Assess Where You Are: Reference a maturity model that will allow you to see where you are and where there is room for improvement in your organization’s packaging and labeling capabilities. Try to pinpoint whether your process is repeatable, defined, managed, or optimized.
- Establish objectives: This is where disruption is necessary. Try to measure everything to discover what’s working and where the process is breaking down. Focus on accomplishing key transformation tasks like reducing cycle time and increasing visibility, developing brand consistency, and establishing a single source of truth. Make sure your process is flexible and scalable. And, finally, tackle regulatory compliance and traceability.
- Detect obstacles: Clarify the communication process with your team. Defining your processes across the organization is key and can best be achieved with better communication, improved information sharing, and clear definition of role responsibilities.
- Align people and technology: Taking advantage of technology doesn’t mean eliminating the human element. On the contrary, software can actually enable each individual to perform to his or her potential. Technology divides the workflow and tracks it so the workflow runs more efficiently and with fewer errors. It also allows individuals to work more efficiently by offering them an effective framework within which they can work.
Jackie Leslie shared these four stages to show you how you can disrupt antiquated processes and introduce change. Providing everyone with a consistent way of working and a clear view of their responsibilities, as well as enabling managers to access a dashboard to track where everyone is in the process are just a couple of advantages that result from disrupting the system and choosing a software solution for your artwork and labeling process.
Read more on Stephen Sinofsky’s 4 Stages of Disruption here.