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FLEXO Magazine : July 2013
Industry Indicators Remove Barriers, Access Data Drive More Profitable artwork Production By Michael Leeds We marketers are thrilled about the possibilities of Big Data—the cascade of information generated and collected where our brands interact with shoppers. Why not? It’s human nature to be intrigued when something offers a big solution to an age-old problem. This mindset explains every heroic quest for the “killer app” and—closer to home—why a new pair of running shoes makes you want to jog again. But there’s a flip side to this psychology: the resistance to look inward for big, thorough solutions. We in branded communications recognize this as the re- sistance some organizations have to a tough analysis of their own processes and to the steps – procedural, technological, etc. – that could make them more efficient, productive and cost-effective. As we all know, change is hard. But there are two clear trends among our clients that are instructive. 1. Consumer products and pharma brands are taking a serious look at the amount of time it takes for artwork, premedia and printing projects to move through their own organizations, prior to and between “submits” with us. Without fail, this is helping them identify where speed- to-market and cost-efficiency are being compromised 2. Clients are starting to compare performance metrics across their own regions. They are using this data to leverage best practices in collaboration with their divi- sions and with us—globally EXCITING DEVELOPMENTS What both of these trends reveal is exciting: the removal of old barriers – barriers between client and vendor, barriers be- tween procurement and brand groups, and barriers between geographic regions within a company. Let’s look at Trend 1. In-house processes are familiar. What happens to artwork when it’s at the agency is the “hid- den” factor. Brand managers can get into the habit of putting more pressure on their agency partners to drive efficiency than they put on themselves, at times demanding—and some- times paying for—fast turnarounds. Other times, they tacitly ask partners to help manage internal processes. There is only so much elasticity available before timelines, bottom lines and working relationships fray. The current trend is to take a hard look at internal processes. Popular practice is to engage a smart agency partner, with deep domain expe- rience in continuous improvement techniques, in a conscien- tious and holistic assessment. After all, your partners have probably “seen it all” and will have valuable things to offer when given the green light. These should include strictly analyzing measurable fac- tors like cycles, reworks, errors, resource use, timing and budget – and then implementing (or increasing) the formal “performance summits” that should happen at least quarterly between clients and their production agencies. BIG DATA / BIG SOLUTIONS • Analyze processes to make them more efficient, productive and cost-effective • Identify where speed-to-market and cost-efficiency are being compromised • Compare performance metrics across regions • Leverage best practices in collaboration and do it globally • Implement formal “performance summits” between clients and production agencies • Devise and revise key performance indicators • Eliminate reservations about changing how things are done 62 FLEXO JuLy 2013 www.flexography.org HD-ITR Flat Top Dot Seamless Sleeves High Definition Flexo Technical Partnerships OEC Graphics is not simply a source for prepress. We are your graphics provider, brand developer, technical expert, press-side troubleshooter, equipment consultant and your means to establish even stronger relationships with your customers. Our goal is to grow your business by becoming technical partners. Together we can educate and inspire your customer base to expand on the relationship, growing business together. LISTEN. CREATE. DELIVER. REQUEST A SAMPLE call Brad Vette at 1.800.388.7770 or email email@example.com Their Technology OEC Graphics Technology 50% More Color Space Press-Neutral Technology Drive Quality & Productivity TAKE YOUR FLEXO TO THE HIGHEST LEVEL Let OEC Graphics... Let OEC Graphics... Wisconsin . Chicago . California . Atlanta