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FLEXO Magazine : October 2009
14 FLEXO OCTOBER 2009 www.flexography.org managers to improve operational efficiencies, relieve stresses on the supply chain, reduce design costs and shorten time-to-market cycles CWM solutions serve as a bridge to existing PLM tools, enhancing platform functionality and mitigating the need for parallel systems and complicated system integrations CWM allows creative production teams to engender a range of efficient new processes through the definition (and subsequent optimization) of those discrete produc- tion workflows required for its implementation CWM facilitates real-time collaboration among team members, allowing global brands to gain upfront buy-in across languages and geographies, streamlining the ap- provals process and minimizing the risk of errors CWM applications can serve as a de facto institutional memory, cataloging creative collateral across channels and establishing a "single source of truth (or "system of record ) that allows for the redeployment of creative con- tent and reconciles challenges associated with synchroni- zation of product launches and uniformity across media. METHODOLOGY In developing its findings for this report, Winterberry Group conducted a series of in-person, telephone and online surveys with dozens of senior product development, brand management, creative development, packaging, marketing and information technology executives across North America and Europe, as well as several marketing service providers and consultants specifically focused on design and packag- ing functions for the CPG and pharmaceutical industries. The primary objective of this study is to provide a clear definition of the creative workflow management (CWM) ap- proach and demonstrate the role it plays as a complement to product lifecycle management (PLM). Additionally, this paper will outline prevalent business "pain points that CWM en- deavors to address, as well as a set of expressed benefits that support the continued adoption of CWM (and similar tactics) as a means of driving enhanced process efficiency in creative production. THE CHALLENGE The span of "pain points that confronts creative production teams---those branding, product development, packaging and marketing groups that manage the design and refine- ment of creative content to fulfill specific business functions--- is as varied as the brand missions those teams are tasked to address. But throughout our research, survey respondents reported a number of common challenges that typically add time, cost and immeasurable frustration to the process of de- veloping and launching brand-driven products and marketing formats. These are the challenges that CWM is designed to address, and they typically include: Long product development and design cycles that delay the go-to-market effort and reduce a company's flexibility, profit window and ability to meet marketplace demand. Any consumer brand or product manager will tell you: It's a small miracle that any new or updated products ever get onto store shelves, given the complex mix of creative elements, technol- ogy, approvals and production processes that must interact in close precision. Synchronizing those disparate steps typically requires a dose of both art and science---and a lot of patience. "Everything in our business is driven by product launch dates, and you need to make those deadlines, said a senior IT man- ager at one Fortune 500 CPG company. "You only have a small window of opportunity for certain types of products [to launch in coordination with planned marketing and other promotional efforts]. And every day lost to production delays, lagging approval processes or other schedule hang-ups ultimately INDUSTRY INDICATORS
Sustainable Fall 2009