Speeding up design-to-print

Packaging Professional magazine
8 May 2008

Many brands rely on speed-to-market to gain maximum impact and capture vital market share. However, delays can occur and increasingly they happen in the design-to-print supply chain, drastically affecting production time.

The design-to-print stage of production involves complex techniques and processes that require a large number of individuals, both internal and external. By nature, this generally means the process becomes disorganised.

With lack of ownership, mismanagement, confusion regarding delivery deadlines, and an increasing number of changes because no individual is responsible for coordination and final decisions, the time to market for a product could extend to months past its due date. This severely affects profitability.

Digitalising and reorganising

Recognising a gap in the market for a solution that streamlines brand development, ODIN software was born. The technology creates an environment to aid free-flowing communication, minimise errors and eliminate duplication, resulting in an effective design-to-print process.

With four functional modules to suit companies’ requirements, ODIN is an easy-to-use flexible system that fits into exisiting workflow models. ODIN On Time, ODIN Sprint, ODIN Assets and ODIN Brand Toolbox can operate as separate entities or work together to create a brand management system.

ODIN On Time reduces the common delays involved in design-to-print by giving the brandowner total control of the workflow and its execution. Timeframes are set and communicated to each team member so individuals have a clear understanding of what is required and when.

The brand manager monitors the up-to-date status on the system, which highlights any overdue activities. Once a stage is completed, the packaging function provides printing specifications, and manages external printers and the legal reporting of waste volumes.

ODIN Sprint digitalises the graphics lifecycle, providing the brand with online annotations, artwork approvals and amendments, which can all be made simultaneously online from anywhere in the world. Changes are updated on the system in real-time and can be viewed individually, allowing the brand manager ultimate control to accept or reject.

Digitalisation of artwork amendments speeds up the sign off process and maximises the number of changes a brand can handle. A brief generator quickly provides best practice templates to ensure all parties receive accurate and comprehensive information.

ODIN Assets maximises the value of existing resources to help turnaround products quickly and cheaply. It is a state-of-the-art storage and retrieval system that manages photographs, logos, design briefs, advertisements, brand guidelines and graphics.

ODIN Brand Toolbox allows brand managers to automatically create a variety of graphics for consistent ranges. At the touch of a button, users can alter a graphic to change language, colour or image, creating multiple versions of the same brand. This can be used for packaging artwork, posters and brochures, and saves money as it eliminates the need to commission a designer to recreate the master file.

These resources can be recycled to drive down costs, or used for an alternative project to increase brand consistency. For example, the same image used on-pack can be employed for in-store promotions, eliminating additional photography costs.

Somerfield fresh

Freshness is one of the key objectives for Somerfield’s own-label range. Brand development solution company ODIN has been working closely with the UK supermarket to maximise the efficiency of speed-to-market and the company worked with ODIN to identify issues in the supply chain.

Somerfield’s goal is ‘right first time’ previously, the supermarket circulated a paper artwork proof that was marked with written amendments. The approval process took an incredible amount of time as proofs went round agencies in circles. Often, by the time changes came back on the first version, the third version was being created.

ODIN provides Somerfield with control over the approval process – changes are made online, in real time, and all comments are recorded. All parties in the supply chain are linked together, including 418 suppliers, 358 printers and 167 Somerfield employees.

The perfect brew

Delivering almost 2,000 lines, of more than 200 blends to over 100 countries around the world is a mammoth task for tea brand Twinings, UK. However, using ODIN, brandowners can turn around artwork in 28 days and the number of changes they can deal with has risen 50% every year using the system, with no increase in the number of employees.

In 2004, the Associated British Food Group challenged Twinings to update its brand from a classic and traditional image to a modern category leader. This meant several hundred pieces of artwork were amended every month over a two-year period.

Twinings uses two modules of the ODIN system – ODIN Sprint, speeding up the artwork approval process, and ODIN Assets, providing worldwide access to images and brand communications in one centralised system. ‘ODIN has enabled us to become a more aggressive player in the hot drinks market and position ourselves as the market-leading brand that the Associated British Food Group tasked us to achieve,’ says Tim Sturt, Packaging Development Manager at Twinings.

Business benefits

With a system such as ODIN, organisations can streamline their design-to-print processes to ensure transparency and coordination by one individual, giving project ownership. ODIN enables maximum employee productivity, as work does not need to be chased, and the efficiency of the design-to-print process is increased, so more products can be turned around in a shorter timeframe. ODIN drives down companies’ costs and helps to boost profits by ensuring products are up-to-date and on-shelf.

Further information: