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How to Purchase Label and Artwork Management Software for Consumer Goods Companies: A Crash Course

By BLUE Software

According to Gartner, consumer goods companies, chemical manufacturers, and retailers in particular struggle to scale their existing capacity to manage label and artwork content and processes.  And for good reason: label and artwork processes have been complicated by:

  • Proliferating product portfolios
  • Growth into multiple local, regional, and global geographies
  • Added attention to consumer safety supported by expanded regulatory requirements, differing by country, for label content and callouts

Add to this the ever-faster life cycles of products and of marketing campaigns designed to keep customers intrigued and loyal, and the ability of many companies to scale their existing label and artwork management processes to successfully coordinate these activities has been reached or exceeded.

Consumer Goods Manufacturers Face Unique Challenges

Because consumer goods companies make up a large part of the business at BLUE, we understand the unique set of challenges these customers face: increase revenue, confront stiff competition from retail brands, protect brand integrity across consumer touchpoints worldwide, and meet consumer needs for on-demand, specific information about their purchases – to name a few!

To this last point, one of the biggest challenges our clients face is increasing transparency regarding ingredients, production, and supply chain, and on focusing on clean label products to satisfy new consumer purchasing behaviors – all of which impact the label content and artwork.  Consider this: You update the ingredients list and related nutritional information on one product.  This product comes in four sizes and each size is available in 10 markets with different language requirements in each.  Suddenly, you’re up to 40 labels, and if you have multiple manufacturing sites, this number goes up again. Add on the cartons and other components, and the number keeps growing.

Savvy Manufacturers are Utilizing Label and Artwork Management Software to Master Complexity

This is where label and artwork management software can clearly add value.  A good label and artwork management software solution will establish a single source of truth for your label and artwork content and enable you to manage versions within versions.  However, label and artwork management tools across the industry vary wildly, and often, consumer goods manufacturers have plenty of questions:

  • How well does the solution promote brand consistency?
  • How will the solution save time and money through process efficiencies?
  • Will the savings above outweigh the cost of the solution itself?
  • What is the solution’s general value and role in the end-to-end packaging ecosystem?

So how can consumer goods manufacturers answer these questions and thoughtfully approach a label and artwork management software purchase?

Whether you’re just learning about label and artwork management software or are looking to augment your product lifecycle management system with advanced label and artwork management functionality, you will need to build a business case:

Step 1: Identify your Current State

When it comes to identifying the current state, BLUE typically sees four different scenarios:

  • Job folders: Label and artwork assets are placed into hard copy folders, which are then passed from one desk to the next for review and signature approval.
  • Weekly sign off meetings: Everyone gathers in a meeting room once a week to review and approve label and artwork files.
  • Email/pdf: A coordinator sends a file to all reviewers, everyone marks up the PDF and sends it back to the coordinator, and then the coordinator consolidates everything.
  • System in place: The organization has some type of system in place, but it is lacking in one or more areas.

Step 2: Define your Future State

Though we haven’t labeled it as “step one” in this blog post, defining your future state is often a good place to start.  It’s important to know what you want to get out of any change. Some examples could include:

  • Streamlined processes
  • Visibility
  • Optimization
  • Global harmonization
  • Single source of truth
  • Global consistency
  • Full version control
  • Auditability
  • Traceability
  • KPIs/metrics
  • Improve timeline from 50 days to 30 days
  • Improve RFT from 50% to 80%
  • Reduce project management time by 50%

Step 3: Create your Business Case

At this point, you will have defined your current state and articulated what you expect out of a future state, but before you can make a change, you need to justify the cost of the change. There are three strategies BLUE uses with clients to create this justification:

Quantify the Return on Investment, or the cost of the new solution versus the cost savings the new solution will realize.  You’ll want to identify the financial implications for the solution to assess the value for money.  In our experience, it’s great to identify an ROI calculator that works for you, and even more important: one that’s customizable.  Label and artwork management solutions are not one size fits all.  The costs and benefits for your organization will be different than the costs and benefits of other organizations in different industries and of different sizes, for example.

Be sure to talk to how the solution aligns with your corporate strategies.  When you tie strategic planning to a solution selection, you improve your chances of receiving necessary resources to implement and support the solution.  Examples of corporate strategies to which you need to align could include:

  • To bring innovations to the market faster
  • To build a continuous improvement culture
  • To increase global brand consistency
  • To standardize and simplify your business process, data, and IT systems
  • To reduce your impact on the environment

Take the Next Step

With the right label and artwork management partner, you can simplify the label and artwork content and process complexities challenging consumer goods manufacturers today.

To get a jump start on the Label and Artwork Management vendor selection process, download our white paper: Sample User Requirements: Workflow and Artwork Management Systems for Consumer Goods Companies.

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