In my previous blogs I have talked about some of the different types of errors and the impact on your organisation. In this article I talk about what I believe is a significant underlying cause, explaining why mistakes are made, and why the risk is, if not tackled, will continue to happen.
Artwork generation requires the coordination of information from many people
In many artwork operations the standard output produced is high. However mistakes do occur. Pick up a standard pharmaceutical carton and look at all the pieces of information which appear. Item codes, logos, safety statements, overprint areas, Braille, licence details and the registered address are just some of the detail and let’s not forget the corporate brand image, the fact the carton drawing must be correct for that product and the production machine. All the information which appears is provided and approved for use by many departments and external agencies: Regulatory; Packaging Technology; Commercial; Safety; Legal and Government Agencies are the main ones but there are others.
A key requirement is good provenance for each piece of information
In my experience a lack of robustness with the multiple processes involved in providing each piece of information and approving its use, is one of the significant underlying causes of errors.
Let’s compare two examples – the item code and the price. The raising of the Item Code is generally covered by a standard operating procedure and is raised in a highly controlled validated environment, usually the company Material Resource Planning (MRP) system. All the item codes are held in Bills of material (BOM) associated with that product. The planning department will usually be the one to check and release the information, and the artwork department can easily refer to it on the system, ensuring it is correct before it is inserted in an artwork brief. The planning department when agreeing the artwork brief can recheck the item code provided by themselves by looking within their validated MRP system.
The Price unfortunately has a less assured path. It will usually come from the local market commercial teams and will be provided via non- validated systems like email or in a letter. The exact source of the information may be unclear and because of this its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. The artwork coordinator putting together the artwork brief will probably only have a letter or email to refer back to and when the commercial person goes to sign off the brief may have no further information to check against.
So the key to reducing the risks with artwork is to look at the process for each text/ design element, agree on each origination process, how it will be checked and released and by which trained personnel.
We’ll discuss in the next post what I believe are two other significant underlying reasons for error, the rework they cause and what can be the impact on the commercial timelines.
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.
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