Beware of the concertina effect with other underlying issues

Beware of the concertina effect with other underlying issues

In my last post I talked about the importance of having provenance for each artwork element and how gaps here can be a significant underlying cause of artwork error. In this article I discuss what I believe are the two other significant underlying reasons, the rework they cause and what can be the impact, often not appreciated, on the commercial timelines.

The risk of the data being entered incorrectly needs to be managed

Sometimes an operator makes a mistake and a good piece of data is corrupted when added to the component artwork, perhaps typed incorrectly. An example might be the item code is put in with the wrong numbers, or much more significantly, the wrong dosage is added. Attention to detail is important with this operation and so it is vital to design your processes to make such errors as unlikely to happen as possible, select and recruit the people with the right aptitude for this role and measure their levels of accuracy on an ongoing basis.

It is also important to recognise that these types of errors will be made occasionally and to manage that risk. I always recommend to our clients that an artwork process includes a full and independent proofreading step and we have always seen a reduction in errors when this investment is made. I will return to the subject of proof reading in a future blog.

Be aware of the ‘Concertina’ effect

The other significant cause of errors is when the operator produces the artwork correctly but the people involved in approving the artwork change their minds and ask for changes. It is not uncommon for people to request multiple changes and what happens is the artwork goes through many rework stages. However, in most cases, the deadline has not changed and this might be for a launch or to meet a regulatory requirement.

The timelines to complete the change and have it approved and the component ordered have been compressed and it is often in this slightly ‘ panicky’ environment that a mistake is introduced, perhaps the wrong change is made as the instructions are no longer clear on what is required.

So to avoid the concertina effect happening and make the likelihood of introducing an error much less likely you need to introduce discipline into your process. I always recommend the introduction of an artwork brief.  Here all parties must agree and sign for the changes required. The artwork operator will then follow the brief and it is understood no changes can be made without going to the start of the whole process.

It is likely some groups will resist this discipline at the beginning, as they believe you need a ‘responsive’ process, but once the procedure is understood and operating correctly people see the benefits as the lead times for changes reduce.

In my next blog I talk about introducing a controlled process and explain how this does not happen by accident but occurs when a company sets out to develop their artwork capabilities with the right supporting infrastructure.

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


Developing and Sustaining Excellent Packaging Labelling and Artwork Capabilities Book

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.