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FLEXO Magazine : October 2009
12 FLEXO OCTOBER 2009 www.flexography.org BUYER S BRIEFING • Creative workflow management (CWM) is the dedi- cated set of tools and processes designed to optimize the development and utilization of creative elements and associated data through the product develop- ment cycle. • Processes and tools designed to streamline workflows often fall short in easing the compliance process, since they are often optimized to manage graphic workflows, but not the criss-crossing data and com- mentary that often accompany compliance queries. • CWM is unique in that it is focused intensively on the optimization of results through the creative workflow a step in the product development and marketing cycles that has been traditionally overlooked as an art. • Advanced collaboration tools are useful for more than just sophisticated conferencing; a system of permissions allows individual users to only see and edit the relevant part of the design. This function limits the risk of work duplication, errors or lost time due to distractions. • A single interface for workflow management and as- set management also eases the timing and synchro- nization of marketing with product and campaign launches. This ease of use also enables simpler fore- casting, allowing managers better visibility into when individual components will be ready for launch. Now is an awfully challenging time to be a brand man- ager. The economy has staggered its way through a long and difficult recession, slowing product development cycles and putting marketing, package design and product management plans in jeopardy. Meanwhile, the pressures to perform---to continue incubating and growing products, all while improving upon profit and efficiency benchmarks established during more robust economic times---march on virtually unabated. Competitive pressures, too, are higher now than ever before, fueled by diminished consumer spending, the pro- liferation of marketing channels and the fragmentation of consumer audiences into smaller micro-communities. Com- plicating issues further, the array of tools designed to make sense of it all (including a range of process management technologies introduced over the last decade) has grown increasingly complex and expensive. Without an appropriate strategic approach to installation and usage, these platforms often compound the very inefficiencies they were designed to address---leading many marketers to abandon automation altogether in favor of the tried-and-true (and time-consuming, costly and error-prone) methods of the past. Yet for many product managers, package designers and marketers, a tangible solution to these challenges has emerged: the adoption of product lifecycle management (PLM). A "roadmap" for successful product development, PLM refers to any planned approach to the design, manufac- ture, roll-out, maintenance and disposal of products for the marketplace. Developed in the mid-1980s and grown substan- tially along with the broader focus on process efficiency that took hold through the 1990s, PLM processes are now man- aged by a wide array of dedicated tools that coordinate with other enterprise-level performance initiatives to drive short- ened go-to-market cycle times, reduced production costs and a host of other productivity benefits. So significant are the benefits, in fact, that marketers are expected to nearly double their investment in PLM tools over a five-year period---from $7.5 billion in 2006 to $14.6 billion in 2011, according to ARC Advisory Group. At its core, PLM is a fundamentally strategic approach to process management. At the operational level, though--- where the design and execution levers are pulled that ultimately deliver sought-after productivity gains---it requires integration with a focused set of best-in-class tactical tools to Creative Workflow Management: Bringing Science to the Art of Brand Execution Survey respondents describe their roles. INDUSTRY INDICATORS
Sustainable Fall 2009