Right-first-time tip 10: Ensuring you have the right culture to succeed

Right-first-time tip 10: Ensuring you have the right culture to succeed

In this, the last article in the series, we will look at the importance of Culture and then summarise the series. Looking first at tip 10 on culture, you need to ensure you have the right culture, displayed across all teams involved in the end-to-end process, to ensure success.

Why think about culture?

So what do we mean when we talk about culture in the context of the workplace? Culture is a facet of the way people engage and behave towards each other. It is prevalent in the way people respond to instructions and rules. It affects the way people respond to different types of recognition and reward. Workplace culture is influenced by the different national and geographic cultures present in the workplace.

Culture could be considered as the informal rules in the workplace or ‘the way things get done around here’. Therefore if you want certain behaviours from your team, you need to make sure you have a culture that promotes those behaviours.

What would define a winning culture?

There are lots of ways you could define your target culture. We typically use nine parameters as a starting point:

  • Accountability
  • Commitment and values
  • Sharing of knowledge
  • Team working
  • Customer focus
  • Continuous improvement
  • Decision making
  • Working under pressure
  • Recognition

This list is not exhaustive but covers the key elements we consider most important. However, this isn’t necessarily a list you can just lift and use. Many companies have culture and value statements at a corporate, if not also functional, level and so your target culture needs to align with these. This may impact the parameters you chose or the language you use.

Once you have agreed your parameters, you need to decide what good would look like for each. If you were displaying a successful outcome for each parameter, how would that manifest itself? How would it look at feel? Could you measure it? It is best doing this as a team exercise to build buy-in to the desired outcomes.

How do I get the right culture?

Once you have defined your target culture you can look at how you can achieve it. What is different from today and what will need to change to make that happen?  Changing mindset and behaviours is difficult and takes time and perseverance. Do you need to change any management processes? Do you need to do team working training? Do you need to change the way people are measured? How do you reward for people who are doing what you want and what do you do about people who are not?

Your culture will not change automatically – you need to define the actionable steps that you will take to make it happen. Again, work with your team on this transition plan to build their buy-in..

The role of leaders in attaining the right culture

Leadership is key in realising and sustaining cultural change. Leaders need to express, model and reinforce the new culture you want to achieve. They need to role model the new behaviours – if they don’t, people will not believe it is real. They need to be seen to actively promote the culture you want, recognising teams and individuals who are displaying your new culture and behaviours. Therefore your target culture needs to align with the expectations of your governance, so you need buy-in from leadership as well as the teams involved.

Series summary

In this series of articles, we have covered a number of tips for how to improve your right-first-time.  Summarising these, we have discussed:

Tip 1 – Measure your right first time.
Tip 2 – Use codes to categorise errors, then ensure a thorough root cause analysis to eliminate the source of errors.
Tip 3 – Make sure all of the input information is correct before starting.
Tip 4 – Ensure there is a comprehensive and effective end-to-end process with clear roles and responsibilities.
Tip 5 – Make sure the right quality of checks is undertaken by the right people.
Tip 6 – Ensure all people in the process have the appropriate skills, competencies and capabilities through effective training.
Tip 7 – Ensure there is effective cross-functional governance.
Tip 8 – There needs to be an appropriate and scalable suite of IT tools to support the process and people working with it.
Tip 9 – Ensure quality time and quality facilities to do quality work.
Tip 10 – You need to have the right culture, displayed across all teams involved in the end-to-end process to ensure success.

We all understand that packaging and artwork still present a significant compliance risk and delivering right-first-time artwork is a complex endeavour involving many moving parts. Furthermore, being right-first-time increases speed, reduces waste and raises confidence. From this series, we can see that achieving high right-first-time is doable, but there are many parts to be addressed, requiring focus and persistence. As such, right-first is as much a mind set as an outcome

We hope you have found this series useful and helpful.  We are always searching for ways to improve our work, so of you have any feedback, please do not hesitate to contact us at enquiries@be4ward.com.

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.