Packaging design and development need to keep up with ever-changing regulatory compliances. While regulations can seem like a hindrance to faster go-to-market and increased customization options, they serve an essential purpose.
Regulatory compliance standardizes the information that goes on the packaging, giving consumers the necessary information. Regulatory compliance is also crucial for public health and safety. With the changing consumer behavior and the evolving market, regulatory compliance also needs to change, and brands must keep up to avoid legal repercussions.
What Regulatory Compliance governs in Packaging?
Brands are heavily scrutinized by the government and regulatory bodies for their packaging. The regulations are often complex and difficult to navigate. The packaging regulations govern points such as:
- Contact Materials: The materials that are in direct contact with the food, beverage, or chemical contained in the packaging.
- Ingredients List: Brands must mention the active and inactive ingredients in the product.
- Environmental labeling: Each packaging must mention the material they are made from and how they can be recycled. Packaging made from polyethylene and other similar materials must carry these instructions.
- Marketing Claims: Any marketing claims such as “contains zero sugar” or regarding the presence or absence of any other additives must be verified.
- Nutritional Information: For food and beverages, brands must mention the amount of macro and micronutrients. Every regulatory body has a predefined template that brands must use.
- Safety instructions and warnings: For medications, alcoholic drinks, and chemicals, the labels must contain warning and safety information. Labels should also advise what to do, such as when to contact a doctor, in case the consumer violates the safety instructions.
- Text readability: Regulations also govern the fonts to be used and the sizes they should be in. For instance, the FDA has strict rules for prescription medicines to ensure text readability. FSSAI has regulations for how large visual symbols should be on the product label.
- Label materials: The regulations also prevent brands from using materials where the labels would fade away after the products have stayed on the shelf for prolonged periods. Printed labels must be resistant to the wear and tear that the packaging experiences during the shipping process.
Warning and safety information on product packaging. Source: Biocair
What makes Regulatory compliance so complex?
Compliance management can quickly become a gargantuan task for organizations. Without proper software infrastructure, navigating the maze of rules can be complex and time-consuming. Brands can take forever to get their product labels right. Here is why
Too Many Rules
To cover all bases, the regulatory bodies ensure that their set of rules is as comprehensive as possible. However, for the brands, this comprehensive set of rules can become over information. For example, FDA has hundreds of regulations in place just for the pharmaceutical industry. It includes regulations related to labels, workflows, and more. Filtering out the relevant rules and adhering to them is a challenge.
Staying Compliant over time
The rules keep changing almost every year. Regulatory bodies such as FSSAI and FDA release multiple updates every month. While only a handful of them are related to packaging updates, implementing them is difficult. Even a minor change requires a label to be modified, approved and printed.
Staying consistent across various SKUs
Brands need to ensure that their branding remains consistent across all the SKUs even after complying with all the regulations.
Elaborate Recordkeeping Requirements
Regulatory bodies need brands to keep records of the workflow and the approval process to add traceability. This system is mandatory in the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry done to ensure accountability in the entire label development process.
Lack of dedicated tools and established workflows
While regulatory bodies define a set of rules, brands need to come up with workflows to create labels and packaging adhering to those rules. These workflows can often be extremely complex with numerous stakeholders contributing to the same project. The process can become chaotic when using traditional tools such as emails and spreadsheets.
Moreover, such changes in regulatory compliance may require brands to create new workflows from scratch. Without proper project management tools, these label development projects can fall apart.
Navigating Compliance Management with Artwork Management Software
Artwork management platforms can help navigate the complex maze of regulations by providing the tools for it. Artwork management platforms such as Artwork Flow enable collaborative label proofing by integrating with existing workflows and automating recordkeeping tasks. It allows brands to stay compliant by simplifying proofing tasks. Here is how they can help.
Speed up timelines with automated Workflows
For label development and compliance management, simple project management software is not enough. In artwork management platforms, project managers can set up automated workflows where all stakeholders get assigned deadlines and checklists at each project stage. Furthermore, the workflow can be reused across multiple projects.
Ensure compliance with checklists and templates
Checklists ensure that nothing is missed out during the label proofing process. Managers can use checklists to define what a reviewer needs to provide feedback for. This system ensures that the reviewer does not overlook any details.
Simplify recordkeeping requirements with electronic signatures and audit trails
Signed approval is a necessity in pharma and life sciences. Electronic signatures make artwork approval simpler in such cases. The Audit trail feature automatically logs user actions so that one can trace every approval and rejection. This brings accountability to the compliance management process.
With an artwork management platform, you can easily collaborate across departments and even with stakeholders outside the company. Need legal advice on your label? You can easily onboard people from a legal firm with an invite email. You can also onboard people from within the company and define who will provide feedback on what part of the label. With everyone working collaboratively, keeping labels compliant becomes much simpler.
Track multiple projects from a single location
A key part of compliance management for packaging labels is ensuring all the label development projects are running smoothly. Using artwork management platforms, managers can track all running projects from a centralized dashboard. Here, they can see which projects are progressing smoothly, which are delayed, and which can potentially get delayed.
Get Precise feedback using built-in proofing tools
Built-in proofing tools enable reviewers to check text size, see if the font is correct or not and check for typos. They can check if the right color is used using CMYK or Pantone color codes. They can also measure the sizes of visual elements right on the design file. All of this is possible without even leaving the browser. If they wish to provide feedback, they can directly annotate the design file, or leave a comment against a checklist item.
Integration with existing design tools
Artwork management platforms can integrate with existing design tools such as Adobe Illustrator and others. This allows designers to get access to project assets right from their design tool. With this system, designers can quickly respond to feedback and provide updated artwork to the brands, reducing overall go-to-market times.
Unified Digital Asset Management
Artwork management platforms come with secure cloud-hosted storage with file versioning. File versioning allows users to revert to an older version if needed. Online storage ensures that accidental data loss never happens.
What tools do you use to ensure compliance in your brand? Let us know in the comments below. To see how artwork management tools can help with compliance management, try out Artwork Flow for free.