Improving Collaboration between Designers, Artwork Coordinators, and Regulatory Affairs Professionals

Midjourney

In the complex world of product packaging and labeling (Pharma and Food mostly), effective collaboration between designers, artwork coordinators, and regulatory affairs professionals is crucial for ensuring compliance, efficiency, and overall success. With ever-changing regulations, tight budgets and timelines and a large set of very different stakeholders, having a streamlined process that connects everyone is essential. Below you will find some key aspects of how to optimize collaboration centered around the benefits of using an Artwork Management System (AMS) like Twona NeXT.

Establish Clear Communication Channels

One of the main challenges every organisation faces when there is a large number of SKUs and stakeholders involved is maintaining clear and effective communication. To address this, you must establish a clear communication channel for each project, where all stakeholders can share updates, feedback, and relevant information. While tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams can help facilitate these conversations, they are hardly suitable for highly regulated environments due the lack of traceability. Additionally, they tend to be disconnected from the projects themselves, serving only as a platform for discussion. Ensuring a Single Source of Truth is key wile Slack or Teams can be used as secondary channels by means of an integration. This means, for instance, a notification can be sent from your system to Slack when a project reaches a certain milestone.

Define Roles and Responsibilities

It is essential to outline the roles and responsibilities of each team member involved in the packaging workflow. Clearly defining who is responsible for what tasks or step ensures accountability and helps prevent confusion and potential bottlenecks. Create a detailed SOP that outlines each step in the workflow, add your work instructions to facilitate adoption and prevent errors and arrange training for every stakeholder involved in the process.

Implement a Centralized Artwork Management System

Using a centralized AMS like Twonas can significantly improve collaboration between designers, artwork coordinators, and RA. Twonas offers a unique set of features that are tailored to meet the needs of the Pharmaceutical, Food, and Retail Industry, making it a perfect choice for managing your artwork projects.

Some of the unique selling points of Twonas include:

  • Automated Workflows: Twonas streamlines the entire process by automating tasks, reminders, and approvals. This helps to eliminate manual processes and reduce the risk of errors or delays.
  • Real-Time Collaboration: Twonas allows team members to collaborate on projects in real-time, ensuring everyone is always on the same page. This feature is particularly useful for reducing the number of feedback rounds.
  • Version Control: Twonas offers a robust version control system that tracks changes and maintains a complete history of all artwork files. This feature helps to prevent confusion and ensures that everyone is working on the latest version of the project.
  • Integration with Third-Party Tools: Twonas integrates with key applications making it easy to connect your existing workflow and systems.

Continuous Improvement

Finally, always be open to learning and improvement. Regularly review your processes, gather feedback from your team (both internal and external), and identify areas for improvement. Implementing a culture of continuous improvement will help ensure that your team is always working efficiently and effectively.

Want to know more? Then drop us a line and we will be happy to discuss your process needs.

Ingredient information on food packaging

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There are some basic elements that always must appear on a food product’s label/packaging:

  • Name of the product and manufacturer’s details
  • Ingredients
  • Weight, calorie count, servings & serving size
  • Nutritional information
  • Freshness – is it a fresh product, recently produced or harvested or how has it been preserved, and what is its best-before date
  • Whether it is organic or not and does it have any GMOs – generally modified organisms – present in the product?

When it comes to the ingredients, these are expected to appear listed from highest to lowest according to their amount, but there is not always a clear explanation on when the percentage of the ingredient needs to be shown on the label. This, however, is of high importance for consumers so they can make informed decisions about the products they purchase and consume.

This information is typically required by regulatory agencies such as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in Europe or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States, to ensure that consumers are provided with accurate and relevant information.

But why is this so important?

Having the ingredient percentage on food labels helps consumers understand the nutritional content of the product. For instance, knowing that a product contains a high percentage of sugar would be useful for those who are trying to limit their sugar intake.

More importantly, information about the percentage of whole grains or allergen substances such as peanuts or gluten can also be critical for individuals with dietary restrictions or allergies.

In addition to nutritional and allergen content, the percentage of ingredients used can also impact the overall quality and taste of the product. Take for instance a product that contains a high percentage of filler ingredients. Its flavour or texture may differ from that of one that contains a higher percentage of high-quality ingredients.

By providing information about the percentage of ingredients used, consumers can make more informed decisions about the products they buy and determine which products best meet their needs and preferences.

Furthermore, when a product’s packaging uses an image that depicts a certain ingredient, the label must clearly indicate the percentage of that ingredient used in the product. This is because images can be misleading and give consumers the impression that a product is something that it is not really. Imagine that you place a picture of juicy strawberries on a carton of strawberry yogurt, but it mostly originates from a concentrate juice that contains only a small percentage of fresh strawberry. By indicating the percentage of the ingredient used on the label, the consumer is given a more accurate representation of what they can expect of the product.

Products where, unless the percentage of an ingredient is mentioned, a user could fail to distinguish them from other foods, must certainly have it showing in their labels.

Another reason for the requirement of ingredient percentage information is to ensure that products are properly labeled and marketed. If the ingredient appears in the name of the product, very much so! For example, if a product claims to be “whole grain,” , “light” or “low-fat”, the label should indicate the percentage of whole grain ingredients used/ percentage of fat or calories that are reduced so consumers can be sure they are getting the product they expect.

As seen, there are various reasons – regulatory and not – why including information on the amount of each ingredient in your product is relevant. The fact that some of these are not mandatory, makes it a hard decision sometimes as your product label are in general already quite full, and the font sizes are already small so adding more information only makes it harder. However, the decision to include them can have a competitive advantage for you when customers are comparing seemingly similar products. Nowadays there are alternative to traditional labeling to help you, and your designers, be more creative about what comes where in the packaging – think of peel labels, or QR codes, which can take some of the load of the information.

Deciding what stays visible and what is “hidden” behind those techniques is a different matter… how would you make that decision??

Relevant links

Post that inspired this article

European Food labeling rules

2 Challenges of multi language packaging

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Creating and managing packaging materials for the food industry can be a complex and challenging task, especially when the products are going to be commercialised in many countries. Two of the main challenges include compliance with regulations and cultural differences. Not to mention the complexity in managing multiple packaging materials in the factory.

Compliance

Compliance with regulations is a major challenge when creating and managing packaging materials for the food industry. Different countries have different regulations regarding food packaging, including labelling requirements, food safety standards, and environmental regulations. This can make it difficult for companies to create packaging that meets the requirements of all the countries where their products will be sold. Additionally, these regulations are constantly evolving and companies need to stay up-to-date with the latest changes in order to remain compliant.

Cultural Differences

Cultural differences are another major challenge when creating and managing packaging materials for the food industry.

Different cultures have different tastes and preferences when it comes to food, and this can impact the design and messaging of the packaging. Companies need to take these cultural differences into account when creating packaging that will appeal to customers in different countries. For example, a packaging design that is popular in one country may not be well-received in another country due to cultural differences.

The multi-language setup also influences the complexity of creating and managing packaging materials for the food industry. Companies need to create packaging that includes translations of all the text, which can be a time-consuming and costly process. Additionally, the translations need to be accurate and culturally appropriate in order to avoid any misunderstandings or offence. Consistency in look, message and tone should also be considered when selling across borders.

How can you improve this?

One key advice to improve this process is to work with a professional translation agency that specialises in the food industry. These agencies have experience translating food packaging and can ensure that the translations are accurate, culturally appropriate, and compliant with regulations. Additionally, they can help companies stay up-to-date with the latest changes in regulations and cultural trends in different countries.

Another advice is to work with an agency or studio, or independent artwork designer, who is experienced in the production of multi-language packaging materials. These professionals would be able to create, edit, and review materials in different languages, as well as different alphabets before they reach your internal review teams.

Ideally, these two are working together or at least, are in contact, to speed the final delivery of correct packaging information and its formatted result for printing purposes.

And you, how do you manage your multilingual packaging projects?