Proof reading: a vital part of your process

Proof reading: a vital part of your process

In the next few articles I want to talk about the important process step – proof reading. I will cover a number of different aspects, including the key steps involved, how these steps are controlled, selection and training of proof readers, what auditors like to see in your process, and the potential difference in proof reading centrally and in the affiliates. In first article, however, I would like to discuss what proof reading is and why you should include this as part of your process.

Proof reading – what it is and the key benefits

Proofreading is the process where text or artwork files are reviewed and checked, in a methodical manner, to detect errors so they can be corrected. Detection during the artwork and labelling process is essential to ensure no components with errors are produced, ensuring no product with artwork errors ever reaches the patient. In addition to avoiding the patient safety implications of an incorrect artwork, the detection of errors is essential to minimise the cost implications of artwork recalls, and also to maintain company reputation with patients, heath professionals and the Regulatory authorities.

A proof reading step will verify that required changes have been made accurately, confirm inadvertent changes have not been introduced and supporting data, specifications, drawings, etc. have all been utilised appropriately.  It is one of the last defences before artwork is released to production.

Take care with your source information

Proof reading may not necessarily identify errors in the source information provided for the creation of the artwork, as the artwork is typically being compared to the source information.  Therefore, if an incorrect code has been supplied or there is an error in the source text, this could go undetected.  The adage of ‘garbage in = garbage out’ applies here.  Hence it is critical that the accuracy of source information is verified before the artwork is prepared, and if necessary the proof reading step ensures comparison back to the master data where applicable.

The introduction of a proof reading process step will give you a step change in quality

Where proofreading is carried out by trained and competent staff, in key points in the process, it will greatly increase the assurance of your process.  However, we still find artwork operations where the proof reading is limited or in some cases, not performed at all.  The introduction of a set of fully comprehensive and thorough proof reading steps can have a marked impact on right first time for relatively little effort.

When in the process should we proof read?

Proof reading should be undertaken after any artwork file is prepared or modified, including every revision loop.  The whole artwork should be thoroughly checked each time to ensure that all required changes have been accurately incorporated and no inadvertent changes have been made by mistake.

Typically, there is a three-step process – a verification by the artwork operator that they have made the changes necessary, a full and comprehensive independent proof read and then a final verification of specific content by the Affiliate Regulatory personnel and other functional representatives required.

In my next article, I will explore this important subject in more depth.

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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