Products, containers, shipping and sustainability

By Bob Tilling, VP of Sales at Kallik
How does one make shipping more sustainable? An answer posited here is integrated artwork and labeling, and it is an avenue that has been proven to work

Businesses are under social pressure to take environmental responsibility for their actions and to meet regulatory pressure and deadlines for corporate pledges on zero waste. But the task of moving to sustainable products, containers and shipping is not as simple as it looks. Any packaging changes can have a huge impact on integral artwork and labelling processes which if not part of the process, will cause costly product recalls or lengthy operational delays. Comprehensive label and artwork management solutions are essential to support sustainable packaging and provide adaptability in any business.

The push to become sustainable comes from both regulators and eco-conscious consumers who will reward companies that provide sustainable packaging by favouring their products. As a result, larger, multinational companies such as P&G are already taking proactive steps to phase out plastic containers. With net zero targets, supply chain shortages and the cost-of-living pressures also presenting major economic challenges for firms seeking to become more sustainable, businesses need to futureproof their operations sooner than later for cost savings and market gains.

Switch to sustainable business practices for big market wins

There is clear demand for sustainably packaged goods, with up to 70% of consumers saying they are willing to pay more for products with sustainable packaging. This market will only grow as consumers become more empowered to take climate action into their own hands. Businesses that change their packaging practices to more environmentally friendly methods have an increased chance to grab market share and reap the improvements to brand reputation – all of which translate to increased profits. The consequences of not acting on sustainability can be severe, even resulting in a decrease in share price.

Laborious label and artwork management processes can suck the life out of sustainability campaigns

However, the task of switching to sustainable packaging practices is far more complex than a simple change in material or reduction in packaging size. The associated changes required for label and artwork assets are often grossly overlooked in terms of scale and time frame.

For instance, one leading multinational consumer goods company currently has over 300,000 pieces of artwork, which require up to 60,000 minor changes per year. This is the scope of label and artwork management even before full-scale updates of entire product lines for sustainable packaging are required. The amount of time it takes to alter recycling symbols for each product based on the material type, regional recycling regulations and languages, as well as the storage and recycling instructions for every region and every language could stretch into months.

Not only does the manual process of updating this many label and artwork assets take time, but the complex alterations could easily fall subject to human error and inaccuracies, resulting in lengthy delays – assuming they’re caught before shipment. Even worse, these errors could lead to costly recalls and serious damage to brand reputation if they are not discovered in time. For many businesses this means the decision to adopt more sustainable packaging practices is too big a risk to take.

The recipe for sustainability includes pinpoint accuracy, which automation can provide

Businesses need a powerful, purpose-built label and artwork management solution to do the heavy lifting and make the change to sustainable packaging practices less of a risk and more of a guaranteed success.

An integrated label and artwork management (LAM) solution completely automates the process for updating label and artwork assets. For example, the rules engine function within the Kallik Veraciti™ LAM platform automatically applies predetermined rules on regulatory requirements for each geography to label and artwork assets. This ensures full regulatory compliance every time, as the system auto-corrects when design alterations change the level of compliance. Here, the removal of manual intervention reduces the risk of human error and ensures every asset is altered to the same standard. This improves the accuracy of updates and ensures they are fully compliant with the regulations of each market.

Faster processes, fewer errors – the race to sustainability requires both

The process of manually altering just one piece of artwork could take up to one hour but with an automated LAM solution, artwork cycle times are decreased to only five minutes per asset. Rather than editing each asset one by one, once programmed a LAM software solution can update all label and artwork assets at once with uniform precision. This significantly reduces cycle times and ensures the accuracy and compliance of every label and artwork.

Remove one more step from the process – keep LAM in-house

The cost of outsourcing this process to a label and artwork management company could reach up to $3 million per year. A LAM solution cuts the costs of label updates by automating the label and artwork management processes, reducing the number of people required to process asset updates, and allowing label and artwork management to be brought in-house. Solutions such as Veraciti™ have recurring returns on investment as the system stores all existing asset information in one place with advanced search features for enhanced visibility, making future updates to labels and artwork easier. This is especially useful where supply chain shortages and regulatory changes are likely to cause further label updates that require fast action.

The guessing game is over – businesses can count on an LAM solution to improve sustainability

An LAM solution streamlines asset data and automates batch updates to significantly improve labelling and artwork management and allow any business to transition to sustainable packaging. Whether it be a change in materials or the rightsizing of packaging, LAM solutions provide streamlined processes that allow businesses to choose approaches to sustainable strategies that suit them. Those organisations that commit now will secure sustainability and future proofed operations to meet these eco-conscious market pressures.

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