Artwork and printing when you can't travel

Being on press during initial print runs has always been critical in the packaging procurement process. And why wouldn’t it be? Your print is your brand and everyone sees it!

But, 2020 has made it nearly impossible to be present during press approvals. This is a very uncomfortable feeling because, well, we have always been able to make it to press approvals. But the reality of the past year, and the uncertainty of when things will return to normal, have made it necessary to improvise.  

And, as travel has been limited, many companies may permanently reduce business travel moving forward, even after we come out of COVID restrictions. Learning how to still color targets and deadlines without on-site press approvals should be on CPGs radar moving into 2021. 

So, how exactly can you manage press approvals from 100, 1,000 or 8,000 miles away? Seems impossible, right? Well, technology and collaborative platforms now reduce or eliminate the need for on-site press approvals. Setting up the correct process upfront, and ensuring adherence to the process is possible.  

Here are three key steps to managing ‘off-site’ press approvals: 

  1.   Use a collaborative tool that gets everyone on the same page from the very start. Be sure to call out if samples will be provided for matching, if ink drawdowns/CMYK proofs are required or if there are any brand-specific requirements. 
  2.   Automate your approval workflows. By defining a process and automating the steps, everyone clearly understands what needs to be done and when. Knowing that a sample needs to go out for color matching from the start reduces delays and confusion down the road. Requesting an ink drawdown, where all parties know this is a requirement, can save time and money.  
  3.   Bring all of your stakeholders onto a single platform. By keeping communication and documents centralized with your internal team, suppliers and graphic vendors, mistakes that have required on-site press approvals are significantly reduced. 

Being on-site for press approvals provides a feeling of safety and comfort that has always been available to packaging teams in the past. This year has made it impossible to do so, requiring companies to adjust. However, by creating and adhering to upfront processes and automated workflows, keeping your brand safe without travel is possible. 

Craving more? Check out the next article: Building an Antifragile Packaging Procurement Program

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