The excitement of the new year celebration is gone, and structuring and organizing packaging projects for 2019 are well underway. 2018 was filled with product innovations, consumer and industry trends, and changing standards – all at a pace that left you feeling overwhelmed before you even had time to think about this year’s projects. Nevertheless, the expectation still exists to create packaging with impact, and more than ever to bring projects in on budget. This can be a lofty goal for a process that is full of constantly moving parts and contingencies, but one that always begins with effective planning.
For every type of package produced, there are systems and processes that have been developed to organize and direct activity from concept to shelf. Without delving into the complexities and specifics of an immense variety of packaging processes (based on the type of product you are packaging), it is sufficient to say that the best way to launch and manage a new packaging assignment is to continuously break down larger more complex tasks into smaller, easy to manage components. These components need to be organized and managed in a logical, sequential process that builds upon itself while moving toward a uniform goal within an integrated schedule. Planning for packaging is a continuous and contiguous activity of responding to known and unknown variables that arise throughout the process.
For those that have been through multiple packaging projects, the process becomes intuitive, as does the ability to establish and project timing benchmarks. For those less experienced or for those that do not have projects large enough to require a global management process – begin planning by considering the following:
- Clarify your goals – Establish mutual definitions and understanding with team members; know exactly what you are focused on accomplishing and what your end date is.
- Understand the requirements – Not all packaging requires the same structural or legally mandated content; know which requirements impact you.
- Define timelines – How much time does the prepress and print process require, and when does material need to be available with converters in order to meet logistics requirements? From there, begin to block out and back out the time necessary to complete branding, graphic design, and production phases. When you have established your deadlines, lead your team to live up and deliver to those dates.
- Assign team and responsibilities – As soon as possible, sit down with team members and review the full scope of your project and its requirements, and confirm accountability from all participants. Your teams will work to a differing set of guidelines; know what you expect from each team.
- Communicate – Communication is free and it is your single most important tool to ensure timing, performance and budgetary benchmarks are achieved!
Breaking down the planning process into smaller, manageable groups of activities allows tighter management – not only in terms of the project and process, but also keeping costs in check, and having an active communication channel that ensures timing does not become compromised. It is the only way to bring a project in on time and within budget.
If you need help to move through the packaging process efficiently and effectively, contact us at 920-886-7727 or [email protected] Throughout our 60 plus years of supporting customers with consumer brands large and small, we apply our experience and expertise to the entire process to create efficient and effective solutions.