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Artwork Management - How to do it right

The digitalisation of core business processes in a rapidly changing economic environment is an essential prerequisite for companies to be adaptive and flexible. In their digitalised form, it is no longer possible to imagine everyday business without processes that are critical to the company.

Challenges of the past, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, have once again given special emphasis to the necessity of this digitisation, as it could make largely autonomous work possible.

The advantages of applications that made it possible to work with the new, digitalized core processes became particularly clear during this time. Time and cost savings and increased process reliability through clearly defined processes are just a few examples.

Artwork management systems - potential often underestimated or unknown

In order to support companies in realising these advantages, various applications have already been developed which are used in the most diverse departments and company areas. Those applications - such as ERP applications - are widely known due to their relevance for the company's success and are prioritized in the optimization process. The measurable successes speak for the level of awareness of these applications.

However, the advantages are not limited to the renowned applications. There are numerous applications on the market that find their place in other areas of the company, but are not yet established in the companies and whose existence and benefits are still partly unknown.

Artwork lifecycle management solutions are one example. Managing artwork and print data is a crucial aspect of marketing and therefore building strong brands.

Companies invest considerable resources in creating elaborate and appealing artwork to promote their products or services. With the growing volume of graphic files, managing and organising these files can become a challenge, leading to inefficiencies, errors and increased costs. While media asset management applications can address some of these challenges through centralized data management, they offer no or inadequate solutions to fully digitise the creation and modification processes in addition. To overcome these challenges and provide a holistic solution, so-called artwork lifecycle management solutions have been developed as software-as-a-service cloud applications.

In this article you will find the key benefits of how an artwork lifecycle management solution optimises the artwork management process in companies.

Central data management by means of individual search directory

The ever-growing number of artwork files and print data can quickly lead to confusing data folders and data chaos. Artwork management tools provide a central directory that makes it easy to find specific files quickly. All files can be individually sorted and categorized so that they are easy to find and accessible at any time. By individually configuring certain categories and keywords, all documents and projects can be specifically identified and found via the detailed search function. This feature saves time and reduces errors, as team members and project participants no longer have to search laboriously for the files and their projects. They can now find the documents quickly and easily and immediately see which tasks need to be completed.

Great time saving

The combined functions of an artwork management tool save the process stakeholders and thus the companies valuable time. The project workflows including approval processes as well as the entire artwork and print data including all versioning are centrally managed via a single application. The digitised processes ensure an automated project workflow in which the project participants are informed in good time about their respective tasks and the associated deadlines through the automated project emails. Manual task coordination and data distribution is thus no longer necessary, reducing overall manual communication and resulting in massive time savings of up to 70 percent.

Version control

The integrated version control enables all affected stakeholders to track changes to the artwork files. With the view and compare function integrated into project management, project participants, whether internal staff or external partners, can communicate change requests and other messages directly to the document and track the comments of other project participants. Version control additionally allows access to earlier versions if required and ensures that only approved documents are used. This helps companies and processes to continuously optimise and avoid costly errors that can be caused by using the wrong version of a file.

Organised project workflow and interface function

Artwork management tools offer clear, project-specific processes via project management and simplify collaboration on the various projects through functions such as automated task distribution and individual task timings. The project participants work together on the projects at the right time and to the specified extent. They can exchange project documents, give feedback via integrated annotation and comparison functions in order to work together on changes. In addition, approval processes can be integrated into the project workflow and the approval history can be digitally mapped. This can significantly reduce the number of approval rounds.

Quality control

Should errors occur despite the digitised and secure project workflows, the cause can be quickly identified thanks to the traceability and consistent recording of all actions, and necessary measures to reduce errors can be initiated. The individual project workflows can include multiple checkpoints and approvals prior to the release of the final file approvals, depending on the wishes of the applying company. This ensures that projects are only continued and documents are only used if the requirements are met by the respective project participants and project managers.

Contemporary artwork management systems also make it possible to directly determine the causes of approval rejections and to implement further improvements to the processes in a timely manner on the base of the data collected.

Cost savings

Used correctly, the listed functions of artwork management tools lead to massive cost reductions. They reduce the need for revisions, saving time and money. Errors that lead to costly reprints are also massively reduced, which can also prevent any necessary costly and reputationally damaging product recalls.

Process optimisation through analytics and individual reports

In order to achieve truly effective time and cost savings with artwork management tools, it is a core requirement that the digitised processes also enable these savings. With the help of integrated analysis and reporting functions, the mapped processes and the overall project performance can be read out and evaluated. This helps companies to identify bottlenecks in their own processes and to optimise them. Various target/actual comparisons can be used to compare project planning and effective project implementation and to analyse compliance with the company's various KPIs. If the reports reveal weaknesses in the process, the company can address precisely these points in order to become more effective and efficient.

Application connectivity and integration into existing system environments

Artwork management systems are not only convincing with their own functions, but also enable further automation and thoroughly digitalised processes by means of various connections via interfaces to other, established applications. This then results in further advantages for the entire organisation. The configuration options here are diverse and individually transferable to the requirements. One interface option that is already frequently used in practice is the connection between the artwork management tool and the customer's ERP systems. The exchange of data via an interface between the two applications enables massive time savings; for example, item master data and project information only have to be maintained and updated via one application, while the interface carries out an automated update in the other application. Project creation, project starts and deadlines for individual tasks can also be automated via an ERP interface. This means that projects no longer have to be created and started manually in the artwork management tool but can be started via the interface with the desired timing. Errors due to redundant input are completely eliminated with an interface.

Process competence in counselling as the basis for success

Sound engineering with the specialised functions of an artwork management system forms the basis of a successful system implementation. However, to realize the maximum potential and ensure the success of a system, sound advice is absolutely essential. A provider should definitely have process competence in the respective industry in order to ensure high-quality advice for a client's individual needs. Only if this prerequisite is met, efficient communication between those responsible for the project can be ensured during the introduction of an artwork management system. In this way, optimal process digitisation and integration into surrounding systems can ultimately be implemented.


When applying the benefits of the above to your own organization, it can be concluded that investing in artwork management tools can streamline workflows, reduce errors and save costs, giving companies a competitive advantage in their respective industries.

Are you interested in a further, personal execution on the subject? You can find more information about our artwork management solution PAS on our website under "Applications".

In addition, you can get in touch with our personal customer advisors at any time via our official contact form and get a first impression for yourself and your organization by means of a non-binding consultation.


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