Right-First-Time: An Introduction

Right-First-Time: An Introduction

I always consider that ‘Right-First-Time’ is the fundamental metric for an artwork service.  This is a simple pass or fail metric – did the artwork pass through the process once or was any change required? This is difficult to achieve on a consistent basis and requires focus and persistence. Therefore, in the next series of articles, I am going to explore this subject further.

The Importance of accurate artwork for your company

Is the importance of having accurate artwork stressed in your company? Do people assume that artwork needs several versions before it is approved? What happens when your affiliates spot errors that, thankfully, have not reached the customer and what is the reaction when unfortunately there is a recall, when one gets through?

It is essential to remember, a company can only sell its product when they are correctly packaged, can only ship its product when the text on the packaging is correct and at the end of the day, patient lives rely on the text being absolutely correct. If this is forgotten and management live with a lacklustre right-first-time record then the company’s reputation and profits will be directly impacted when errors do occur.

So why is getting artwork right-first-time so important?

Accepting that the first version is unlikely to be correct is a risky business. The closer you get to the launch or the implementation deadline you see what I refer to as the concertina effect – less and less time to deliver. In this environment when chasing for the final version through multiple iterations, the stress increases, confidence drops and the potential for mistakes increases.

Alternatively, when you focus on getting artwork right-first-time, things that are not correct are eliminated early in the process and potential sources of errors are designed out. When lead times are squeezed, as they often are in these types of situations, your risk of an error has hopefully passed and the likelihood of a recall reduced. Focusing in this area will have the additional outcome of more consistent lead-times, capacity will increase and everyone will have more confidence in schedule adherence.

Achieving a high standard in right-first-time requires focus and attention to detail

Best in class organisations achieve a right-first-time figure in excess of 95%. However, to achieve this requires continual focus and likely enhancement or redesign of your artwork process, combined with a degree of focus on what is required at each stage. It will also require regular support from a senior management team, made up from the groups involved. Technology will have a part to play to enable a high quality process, both for the production and checking of the artwork itself but also in the tracking and approval process. Finally, the right culture will be required, displayed across all the teams, to ensure success.

In the next series of articles, I will explore this topic further and outline a series of tips, based on the experience I have gained working with many companies, to help deliver an excellent right-first time measure.

To help you in your Artwork Improvement Program, you can also find useful information in my book Developing and Sustaining Excellent Packaging Labelling and Artwork Capabilities


Should you have any questions about this or any other of my blogs, or would simply like to request a copy of my booklets, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly on my email.

For more information on artwork, go to our free download section.