The packaging market is busy and highly competitive. The technological revolution has allowed companies to mass-produce and reach consumers all over the world. Satisfying consumer’s needs and keeping things fresh comes with the constant expansion of a product portfolio. Not to mention the rising popularity of both packaging customisation and personalisation to win consumer’s engagement.
Yet, the above requires generating and updating high volumes of accurate and compliant packaging graphics, meaning companies are facing new challenges.
Employees - designers, marketers, engineers, product and process managers - and even agencies, are to do more and more daily. They need tools to manage the same processes quicker and maintain premium quality at the same time.
That’s why packaging automation is becoming a new market standard and necessity. Read more about it, and decide whether it is the best solution for your company too.
1. It takes a long time to see results.
2. It costs much more as the prepress companies need to secure payrolls of hundreds of employees = it’s all covered in their service costs.
3. You are not in complete control over your content and/or aware of what information your packaging includes. Are you?
Ok, so that’s how it goes. It all starts when you need packaging graphics.
You turn to an agency to prepare packaging artwork designs for you. You need to send them a brief of what's needed first though. There are lots of people involved in the internal process of creating the brief. Packaging engineering, designers, marketing, product managers, nutritionists. All the “knowledge holders” providing content for that single piece of artwork.
Finally, it's on. You forward it to the agency and then... keep on waiting for any visible results, losing precious time to market.
The process of creating the brief taken together with communicating and waiting for an agency start piling up. The agency creates all the packaging variants and then passes them for your approval. After which they adapt them to various types of your packaging - bottles, tins, cans, and boxes in various sizes and materials.
A few weeks have passed, and you finally get to see the output. We mean, its initial version. Not including all the upcoming amendments and updates in case any small detail changes along the way. In which case, the process gets looped… again.
All of the above takes weeks in which you lose time to market and considerable sales in revenue. (Yes, we did a case study, and we’re happy to share it with you! Contact us for details).
Are you aware that you could create and amend all of these artwork variants yourself? But this time, it would only take a few minutes and cost a fraction of what you're currently paying. You’re just missing the tools to easily execute and control the process from beginning to end.
When it comes to packaging design automation, the first part of the process doesn’t change. You still need to create new product packaging designs. It’s the next steps that bring a crucial difference.
What makes automation unique is the shift in execution. It’s not about making or amending individual artworks each time anymore. It’s all about having your Brand-Maps (templates) that allow you to create and update hundreds of packaging variants in minutes. All of which are consistent with your company’s branding and meet legal compliance requirements.
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*The automation process described below relates purely to MYPACKBRAIN's solution. Our experts have more than fifty years of experience in the packaging and prepress industry. Having identified that the market and traditional service companies cannot fully address today's fast-paced needs, they created a unique fully automated packaging graphic design process.
It all starts with creating a “Brand-Map”. It is a packaging template reflecting a unique set of your company’s brand requirements related to each packaging design. It takes minutes to hours to prepare one.
It all depends on your design complexity. It is the longest part of the process, but it is also crucial for automating and reducing all actions to minutes downstream. It can be managed by you or outsourced to MYPACKBRAIN’s prepress experts.
That's it. Afterwards, everything gets fully automated. After creating your unique packaging Brand-Maps and defining variable content, you become self-sufficient in generating new artworks for each packaging variant.
Now, it’s you who are empowered to create, update and amend your packaging whenever needed. As you have regained control over your content, it’s easy to create packaging artworks and their multiple variants even at the very last minute. This can be aligned to last-minute supplier change or reacting to market forces, packaging customisation for example.
Packaging graphics for fifty different flavours or scents? Five minutes, and consider it done!
You can empower an unlimited number of authorised users to create and update your brand’s packaging designs. Anyone involved in artwork creation gets assigned access. In the end, you know what’s needed, and now you have the tools, too. There’s no need to involve third parties anymore!
The solution guides and controls each user’s actions to ensure that created artworks are brand-compliant. There’s no second-guessing what’s on your packaging anymore and if the branded assets used on the packaging are always up to date. The system controls every detail to eliminate errors. What's more, the whole process is monitored and audited, meaning each action is recorded and analysed. It helps with the traceability of changes and further optimisation of your workflow processes.
As the system carries information in JSON format, it’s easily understood by other systems. You can integrate smoothly to trigger artwork automation from in-house systems whether that be PLM, Content Management or even Esko’s WebCenter.
Artworks are created on demand and sent back to your system within seconds.
In the past, companies were operating on a small number of packaging artworks. Nowadays, these amounts are significantly increasing, often reaching several thousand. Labels, tags, cartons, shampoo bottles... All these graphics are distributed around many different artwork suppliers. At some point, it's easy to get lost with where and which assets are used on your packaging.
That's why automation brings content management back in-house.
Imagine you need to update an existing packaging artwork. Even better - you need to update all the versions and variants of your existing packaging due to regulatory changes, promotional actions, or simple graphic amendments. It's overwhelming and confusing, isn't it? In reality, you can do it in minutes.
Automation allows you to control the process from beginning to end. It includes controlling all your content and digital assets. It allows you to stay in-the-know by understanding every element of your packaging. You’re in full control.
Just log in and do it yourself. No briefs for the agencies. No waiting. There’s no hesitation or second-guessing if the content used is correct. Our software has everything under strict control of the system and related to your requirements and guidelines.
You have a complete overview of what is happening with the packaging and assets across your global portfolio without any effort. How powerful is that?
Let's say there are two - macro and micro - levels of automation. As a result, it gives a very wide spectrum of things that can be automated. From every single step of the process to all those tiny single details of your packaging. The sky is the limit. Yes, you can automate anything you want!
Think of the process as a whole - from beginning to end. There are so many steps that can be automated:
Automate the whole process straight ahead, or follow "mix and match" approach - start partially and then gradually keep on automating missing bits. It's up to your needs and preferences.
Having the right tools allows you to keep everything transparent, audited and under control. This way you can analyse and optimise your processes even further!
In the end, there are so many different packaging designs involved when it comes to product management. It’s not only the primary packaging you see on the shelf but also the outer case cartons in which the products are transported to supermarkets. If your company still pays agencies for creating outer case cartons or shelf-ready packaging, it’s time for a change. It’s so easy to generate them fast, including barcodes, logos, product name, etc. Even back-of-pack can be automated. You can automate every single detail of the packaging that's needed. So why increase costs by paying agency fees, if you can do it faster internally for much less?
Traditional prepress companies hire and secure the payroll of hundreds of people.
When you have the right tools and become self-sufficient:
No more waiting, often not helped by back-and-forth communication between all external parties. The process is simple and quick.
The increase in time-to-market and savings are incredible. You manage the process internally and can generate print-ready packaging artworks in minutes. So not only do you decrease your operational costs for artwork creation, but you increase your revenue from delivering products to market much faster than you currently are, too.
It's as simple as that.
Any company dealing with high numbers of artworks will benefit from these solutions. Due to the high level of security and control, automation works even for the most demanding sectors:
If your company deals with any of the below challenges, it will profit from artwork automation solutions:
If you’d like to discuss how MYPACKBRAIN can help you improve your processes through automation, just get in touch with us. We’re happy to give you an overview of how it would work specifically for your company.