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Five Ways to Beat an Intimidating Regulatory Deadline

By BLUE Software

With the rapid pace at which regulations are changing, there is a good chance your company could be faced with mass packaging changes in a short period of time. Should you find yourself in this position, here’s a great example to follow.

On April 26, 2016 at the BLUE User Conference, USG Corporation’s Director of Integrated Marketing, Mark Joseph, delivered his presentation, “Building Core Capability.” One of a few industry leaders presenting at the conference, Mark shared USG’s recent challenge: meet the deadline for OSHA’s Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. This regulatory deadline coincided with an initiative to overhaul USG’s brand identity, meaning not only were packaging changes underway, but it was necessary to convert more than 1,000 Material Safety Data Sheets into new Safety Data Sheets to post on the USG website and provide to their distributors. Further complicating matters, USG also had to provide the new Safety Data Sheets in French and Spanish. With a manual process consisting of four contract employees using a physical job bag system, accomplishing everything in a nine-month window seemed impossible.


1. Assess the Task Ahead

First, document the scope of what needs to be accomplished. In this case, USG discovered they would need to make changes to more than 800 packages within a nine-month window. They also ran the numbers and realized in a typical year, they processed only 200-250 package changes. USG would have to quadruple their annual package processing numbers and complete the processing in three fewer months.


2. Hire the Right Personnel for Success

USG knew the challenge that lay ahead, but they lacked the right team to help them achieve it. A search began for a product manager, two packaging production managers and a copy developer to augment the packaging department personnel. After a short search, they were on to the next step.


3. Choose the Right Partners

Having the right people in place is of paramount importance, but USG required more than a manual process to put these employees, and the company, in the best position to succeed. USG issued an RFP for a software solution to help them hit the OSHA deadline in the short term and transform their workflow process in the long term. They selected SGK’s Brandimage to provide the overall strategic design direction for their product line. The design firm refreshed the design on approximately 50 primary SKUs, with adaptations for the various forms and sizes for the remainder of the packages.


4. Find Software That Can Digitize and Expedite the Packaging Work

The pre-media company USG selected was working with a robust Label and Artwork Management (LAM) software uniquely qualified to help them hit the deadline. It offered a workflow routing system capable of a dramatic and immediate effect. Even veteran employees who were resistant to change realized this LAM offered them capabilities they hadn’t realized were necessary. Suddenly, it was easy to define project timeframes. The team could monitor who was responsible for which tasks by going to a single web-based page, providing a level of visibility and tracking USG didn’t have previously. Online proofing made sharing large files and collaborating over changes and approvals a far simpler process, even when done remotely. Finally, this LAM came with a Digital Asset Manager (DAM) that allowed USG to store the entirety of their packaging and marketing collateral in one centralized location. This LAM, of course, was BLUE.


5. Reap the Rewards

The project was a mammoth success. Brandimage gave USG a new, cohesive design and BLUE helped USG create an end-to-end workflow management process and hit the deadline. In doing so, USG increased their productivity by a whopping four times. USG overhauled their system and created a packaging department that was modern, efficient, and cost effective, which was just the beginning of their relationship with BLUE.