In this blog I am going to focus on the initial steps required when you start to develop an excellent Artwork Service capability for your company. In particular I would like to talk about establishing the dimensions of the provision and the importance of involving your customers.
Recognise the Artwork Operation is providing a service to the business
It is very important, in the first instance, to talk to the artwork operation’s customers and establish what they think of the current provision. It is vital to understand from their point of view what is going well and needs to continue, what needs to stop happening and what is currently not done but is something that needs to be put in place. Examples might be that communication is going well and needs to continue, that there are too many late surprises and this needs to stop and that currently the service doesn’t cover commercial samples and it needs to do so. It is useful to understand what the customers see as the ranked priorities, as this will drive the changes you are going to make.
One of the other key things you need to establish are what are the dimensions of the service? By this I mean what does the Supply Chain team think should be the beginning and the end of the service? So where in the process does the Artwork team pick up from the Regulatory group and at what point does their responsibility end – is it when the artwork is signed off or is it when the cartons, with the new regulatory change, have been received in the market? Often the customer’s expectations are different, so it is important to get as much alignment as possible and make sure the final vision is agreed on by all parties.
Another important aspect is what is needed in terms of the standard of service. This should be driven by the requirements of the customers themselves and perhaps captured in a Service Level Agreement (SLA). This will also mean new or adjusted metrics so if your customers are fed up with too many changes causing delays you will need metrics to control the amount of rework.
Are there any hidden customers?
All the groups who receive information from the artwork team and those who send data to the team are the customers. However there could be some vital groups that need to have a say so make sure you spread your net wide when you are having these discussions.
Finally it is useful to understand what the organisation’s appetite for change is. If you find out that the majority of your customers ‘want change and want it now’ you will know you there will be plenty of momentum but if you find out that there are initiatives which need to take priority over this one or the organisation see this as a low priority then you may need to adjust your timings and budget.
I will explore this topic further in the next post, looking at establishing the principles of the service and if there are any changes in the culture required.
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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