Excellent Packaging Artwork Capabilities Part 4 - Supporting processes and organisation design

Written by Be4ward on 30/10/2023

Excellent Packaging Artwork Capabilities Part 4 - Supporting processes and organisation design

In part three of my blog series on how to create excellent packaging artwork capabilities, I looked at two important artwork processes: the core and interfacing, examining some typical interfacing processes and their interaction with the artwork process. Here in part four I will look in more detail at the third of our defined processes, Supporting Processes and the influencing aspects of organisation design.

Supporting Processes
The core processes described in a previous article define how individual labelling and artwork changes will be carried out. Whilst this is absolutely critical to the success of the artwork capability in an organisation, it is not sufficient in itself to provide a complete capability. A number of support processes need to be in place to achieve this. These include:

- Governance
- Performance Management
- Issue Management & Resolution
- Process Lifecycle Management
- Education, Training & Competence Management
- Information Technology Support
- Service Provider Management
- Project & Programme Management
- Forecasting & Budgeting
- Business Continuity Management

Many organisations will find that they already have one or more of these supporting processes in place that can be adapted or extended in scope to include the necessary artwork process areas. In many instances, this approach is to be recommended, as the artwork capability does not necessarily need its own unique iteration of a supporting process.

There are a number of questions that need to be considered when making the choice about incorporating artwork into an existing supporting process or creating a separate artwork-specific iteration. These include:

- Does a robust supporting process already exist elsewhere in the organisation which has a close fit to the supporting process requirements for artwork?
- Is the existing process owned and managed by a part of the organisation heavily involved in the artwork process?
- Would the owners of the current process consider artwork an appropriate extension of their scope?
- Is the existing process governed by an appropriate steering team that will take fair account of the needs of the artwork process when considering changes to their process?
- Is the artwork capability sufficiently small in scale to be successfully managed within another support process?

If the answer to any of the above questions is no, then careful consideration should be given to creating an artwork-specific support process rather than trying to force-fit artwork into an existing process capability.

For a more detailed discussion on each of the supporting processes, please refer to our book Developing and Sustaining Excellent Packaging Labelling and Artwork Capabilities.

Organisation Design
Having discussed the various types of processes associated with packaging, labelling and artwork capabilities, I will now discuss some aspects related to organisation design.

Roles that support the process

Roles should be structured to support the business process. Therefore you need to have defined your business process before your roles and ultimately people’s jobs.

An individual role should be constructed by examining the tasks a process needs to have performed and the skills and knowledge that those tasks require to perform them successfully. Once all this is understood, a logical grouping can be performed to gather together tasks that require similar skills and knowledge.

Some of the typical roles that result from this include:

- Artwork Coordinator
- Artwork Operator
- Proofreader
- Local Market Representative
- Regulatory Affairs Representative
- Printer Representative
- Supply Chain Representative
- Packaging Technologist
- Packaging Quality Control
- ERP Data Management Representative
- Packaging Operation Representative
- Legal Representative

In a typical organisation there are a number of artwork capability related roles that tend to equate to full-time roles for individuals, or at least absorb a very significant portion of an individual’s time. This is a point that will become useful when we discuss organisation design later in this post. These 'full-time' roles are typically:

- Artwork Coordinator
- Artwork Operator
- Proofreader

Organisation structure

Having looked at the key roles that support the process, we can now start to look at the organisation structures that will best support the new capability. We will focus here on the roles and people who spend the majority of their time carrying out the artwork process.

For those people who only spend a small amount of their time carrying out artwork process related tasks, it is normal for them to remain within the structure of their current organisation and we will therefore not consider them any further here.

Co-locating the full time roles and putting them under the same management can bring significant benefits, as I will discuss next. Indeed, if you look at the way typical manufacturing site-based artwork studios have often evolved, these are exactly the roles that exist there, together with the management structure to support them.

Whilst not the only answer, creating one or more artwork studios to serve the whole organisation can have a number of key benefits which have proved to be very powerful in some organisations:

- With one or a small number of artwork studios driving the global artwork activity, it is much easier to create and maintain a truly single global process.
- The need to develop far fewer relationships results in higher quality relationships being formed, which in turn results in the process working much more effectively.
- Individuals in the consolidated operation can leverage their specific knowledge across many more artwork changes.
- It is much easier and more efficient to provide all users with the training and support they need to carry out their activities correctly.
- Furthermore, with a critical mass of key roles at the artwork studio, higher quality training and competence development becomes possible.
- Awareness of the overall picture is improved, allowing improvement in things like brand consistency.
- A larger artwork studio leads to benefits of scale in support services and management overhead.
- Improvement and change activity is much easier to implement as there are fewer nodes to deal with.

When deciding on how many service centres are needed, a number of factors need to be taken into account, all of which will be very different depending on the situation within each company. The types of things which impact the decision include:

- Number of countries in which products are sold
- Commercial, supply-chain and support functions organisation structure
- Existing resource levels and the potential impact of reorganisation
- The political will for change
- The budget available for re-organisation
- The quality and extent of the IT tools available to the artwork process

Depending on what other functions are or could be located in a similar way, an organisation might also consider expanding the service provided to include physical packaging design and packaging related Enterprise Resource Planning data management. I do not believe there is a one-size-fits-all answer here, the organisation structure has to fit the particular company’s circumstances and timing.

In part five, the final part in this series, I will look in more detail at our final two capabilities: the importance of establishing the right inclusive leadership and governance and the role technology plays in establishing artwork capabilities.

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