Packaging and Labelling: Organisation and Governance

Andrew Love

My previous article discussed the core artwork process and the other company processes it may interface with or be supported by.  In this article I will look at how roles are structured to support the process and the governance that needs to be put in place to lead the process.

Roles that support the process

Roles should be structured to support the business process. Therefore you need to have defined your business process before your roles and ultimately people’s jobs.

An individual role should be constructed by examining the tasks a process needs to have performed and the skills and knowledge that those tasks require to perform them successfully. Once all this is understood, a logical grouping can be performed to gather together tasks that require similar skills and knowledge. Some of the typical roles that result from this include:
  • Artwork Coordinator
  • Artwork Operator
  •  Proof Reader
  •  Local Market Representative
  •  Regulatory Affairs Representative
  •  Printer Representative
  • Supply Chain Representative
  • Packaging Technologies
  •  ERP Data Management Representative
  • Packaging Operation Representative
  •  Legal Representative

In a typical organisation there are a number of artwork capability related roles that tend to equate to full-time roles for individuals, or at least absorb a very significant portion of an individual’s time. This is a point that will become useful when we discuss organisation design at at a later date. These “full-time” roles are typically:

  • Artwork co-ordinator
  • Artwork operator
  • Proofreader


Organisational structure

Having looked at the key roles that support the process, we can now start to look at the organisation structures that will best support the new capability. We will focus here on the roles and people who spend the majority of their time carrying out the artwork process.

For those people who only spend a small amount of their time carrying out artwork process related tasks, it is normal for them to remain within the structure of their current organisation and we will therefore not consider them any further here.

Co-locating the full time roles and putting them under the same management can bring significant benefits, as I will discuss next. Indeed, if you look at the way typical manufacturing site-based artwork studios have often evolved, these are exactly the roles that exist there, together with the management structure to support them.

Whilst not the only answer, creating one or more artwork studios to serve the whole organisation can have a number of key benefits which have proved to be very powerful in some organisations:
  •  With one or a small number of artwork studios driving the global artwork activity, it is much easier to create and maintain a truly single global process
  • The need to develop far fewer relationships results in higher quality relationships being formed, which in turn results in the process working much more effectively
  • Individuals in the consolidated operation can leverage their specific knowledge across many more artwork changes
  • It is much easier and more efficient to provide all users with the training and support they need to carry out their activities correctly
  • Furthermore, with a critical mass of key roles at the artwork studio, higher quality training and competence development becomes possible
  • Awareness of the overall picture is improved, allowing improvement in things like brand consistency
  • A larger artwork studio leads to benefits of scale in support services and management overhead
  • Improvement and change activity is much easier to implement as there are fewer nodes to deal with

When deciding on how many service centres are needed, a number of factors need to be taken into account, all of which will be very different depending on the situation within each company. The types of things which impact the decision include:

  •  Number of countries in which products are sold.
  • Commercial, supply-chain and support functions organisation structure.
  •  Existing resource levels and the potential impact of reorganisation.
  • The political will for change.
  • The budget available for reorganisation.
  • The quality and extent of the IT tools available to the artwork process

Depending on what other functions are or could be located in a similar way, an organisation might also consider expanding the service provided to include physical packaging design and packaging related Enterprise Resource Planning data management. As I mentioned in response to a previous comment on this topic, I do not believe there is a one-size-fits-all answer here, the organisation structure has to fit the particular company’s circumstances and timing

Process Governance

Given the cross-functional and cross-organisational nature of the artwork capability, establishing the right inclusive leadership and governance is key to the long-term success of the capability.  All stakeholder groups involved in the delivery of the artwork capability need to contribute effectively or the whole process will fail. Therefore, all parties must buy into their role in the process and actively contribute to it.  This will rarely happen if they are simply passive bystanders in the design of the capability or the delivery of the resulting activities.
We would therefore recommend establishing a cross-function governance team to steer the establishment, ongoing delivery and development of the overall artwork capability. This governance body should include membership from all stakeholder groups involved in the process, including, where appropriate, external service providers.

It is all too easy when forming and managing governance teams to focus on the steering and decision-making aspect of the activity. If you are not careful, this may result in the leadership responsibilities of the team being overlooked. The governance team needs to ensure that they provide leadership to the artwork function in a number of distinct ways. Firstly, they need to ensure that a vision and strategy for the artwork capability is developed, agreed across all impacted stakeholders and communicated effectively to the broader organisation. Secondly, they need to ensure that the journey to achieve this vision is structured and managed effectively and that progress is communicated to the wider organisation. Thirdly, the leadership of the governance team needs to manifest itself in decisive decision-making that supports the vision and goals of the artwork capability. Finally, the behaviours the leadership display need to actively model and support the key cultures that underpin the successful service delivery.
To support these leadership activities, some organisations purposefully put in place a number of key roles:
  • Senior sponsor – a senior member of staff who will represent and support the overall artwork capability at the highest levels in the organisation
  • Governance team chairperson – the leader of the governance team who ensures that the governance team activities are managed effectively
  • Artwork process owner – an individual who is responsible on a day-to-day basis for ensuring that the end-to-end artwork process operates effectively and that any improvements to the process are appropriately designed.

With all of this in place on an ongoing basis, the artwork capability should remain effective and appropriate for an organisation over time.
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