3 Ways Improving Your Labeling & Artwork Management Process Drives Speed To Market
With highly regulated industries continually being hit with new rules and changes, here are three ways to improve your labeling and artwork process.

Beth Peckover
Chief Delivery Officer


Highly regulated industries are continually being hit with more stringent rules and changes, particularly when it comes to their artwork and labels. As product portfolios grow and businesses penetrate new markets, it becomes increasingly difficult to identify and respond to the changes that these new regulations entail in a timely manner. 

This has a subsequent impact on speed to market, for both new and existing products, and can also result in product recalls if this process is handled inadequately. While your business needs to get products to market quickly to remain competitive, it is essential that this process is also quality-driven in order to maintain regulatory compliance.

Basic artwork management is not enough

Historically, there has been a major focus within these markets on artwork management, where artworks are approved, stored in an asset manager and version controlled. However, Gartner notes that ‘what has typically been called labeling and artwork management in the past is only artwork management that governs artwork activities for the final product packaging’. 

Enterprise labeling and e-labeling technology has subsequently emerged to ‘address the distinct needs of specialized labeling, product traceability and transparency’. It has become increasingly clear that an artwork management system is not enough to achieve speed to market. 

Enterprise label management will take your business to the next level in terms of speed to market and compliance. More and more businesses are discovering the benefits of a single, end-to-end enterprise labeling and artwork management (LAM) solution that both encapsulates and compartmentalizes the entire labeling process. Compliance is guaranteed through the ability to access audits from every step of the process, identifying problems instantaneously and preventing long-term issues such as recalls or wider compliance shortfalls.

In a highly competitive business world, the ability to quickly locate labels affected by regulatory changes and make swift amendments to them is of greater significance than ever for companies that operate on a global scale. When thinking about sharpening your label and artwork management process to drive business growth, there are three key areas to focus on:

1. Structure your data to drive traceability and quality 

In order to appreciate the value of managing and structuring your data correctly, it is helpful to consider the consequences of not doing this. Imagine that you have 10,000 products in your portfolio, and 50% of these are sold in a market where you are required to place a specific regulatory symbol on all labeling. The regulator requires you to use a different version of this symbol and you have 6 months to implement this change across all of your products. How easy would it be to find all labels and artwork which use the old symbol, update them with the new symbol and send them for approval? For most organisations, just the task of finding the impacted artworks alone can take months, due to the fact that their data structures do not allow this traceability.

Data needs to be structured in a way that allows the individual elements of an artwork or label to be managed independently of the artwork itself. Phrases, translations, symbology, imagery and all other aspects of the label need to be individually stored in centralized asset and phrase managers. This enables version control of each constituent part, as well as the ability to pre-approve each component, so you know that you're building your label with correct and compliant data. The value of this method of label data storage cannot be overstated, as it provides a basis for simplifying and optimizing the rest of the labeling process. It enables common components to be standardized and reused across all artwork and labels, and getting the data right upfront means the artwork creation process is much smoother.

2. Enable collaboration across the value chain

Once all of your label components are contained within a single location, the relevant data can be structured into a label dataset. At this stage, you can select each of the components (images, phrases etc) that your label requires and determine where they appear with the confidence that each component has already been pre-approved. 

Collaboration is key here; stakeholders across various teams such as product, marketing, regulatory and legal may be required to contribute to the label dataset. Automated routing should be in place to ensure that the people who need to give their input or approve artworks are given the opportunity to do so. Furthermore, the system you use for this needs to be readily available across the globe with 24/7/365 uptime to ensure that all timezones are catered for; cloud hosting makes this possible. 

Preventing delays at the artwork creation and approval stages is paramount to speed to market, and digitizing the data collation and approval process ensures that new artworks get to the relevant approvers as soon as possible. If the data is correct the first time and it goes straight to the people who need to see it, your new label will require far fewer rounds of approval. Speed to market is not just about how quickly the label itself is changed; it is ensuring that approvals are correctly executed the first time around too.

3. Automate traditionally manual & time consuming processes

Of course, speed to market can be improved beyond centralizing the process to one end-to-end system. Having all of your labels in a central location is one thing, but finding every label that uses a specific component is another. 

The enterprise labeling solution you choose needs to enable you to easily identify all labels that are affected by changing regulations. Take the example of the post-Brexit change from the CE mark to the UKCA mark on products sold on the UK market: the affected labels can be identified automatically through setting a simple search criteria. Perhaps in this instance the search would include (1) All UK labels (2) containing the CE mark component. This sort of search function can return search results in a matter of seconds, giving your company an accurate representation of the task at hand. 

Apply this process to tens of thousands of affected products that would otherwise need to be identified manually, and the value of this function becomes very clear - even finding just 100 impacted labels manually is an incredibly time-consuming process. In the pursuit of speed to market, the ability to easily locate labels with any given components is essential regardless of your company size.

Another clear way to speed up the process of getting a product to market is to automate artwork creation. Many businesses outsource their label artwork to external design teams, disconnecting an otherwise streamlined, end-to-end process. In the case of technical labels predominantly found in the chemical and life science industries, labels can be generated completely automatically with the right LAM solution; once the relevant components are chosen, the software will create the label for you using pre-defined templates. New artworks can be created in seconds, instead of weeks.

Digitizing your labeling and artwork management process will support revenue growth

An intelligent enterprise labeling and artwork management solution provides numerous competitive advantages across highly regulated industries. Kallik’s market leading solution, Veraciti™, is already helping our customers across medical devices, chemicals, cosmetics and food & beverage industries achieve huge efficiencies in their labeling processes. At Kallik, we’ve seen our customer’s project completion times cut in half, with an average label and artwork generation time of less than 60 seconds, monumentally improving speed to market. Find out more about our impressive statistics here.

Medical device manufacturers, pharmaceutical firms, chemical and cosmetics companies use Kallik to deliver trust in their labeling, confidence in their brand and integrity in their process. If you want to find out more about how we can support your label and artwork management transformation in your business, please get in touch at beth.peckover@kallik.com. We’d be more than happy to help.