How to manage brand consistency across regions with centralised production facilities?
Our Customer Profile
The UK-based largest retailer of car maintenance, cycling and touring products. Products go cross-category of leisure, car tuning, car enhancement and travel solutions with many vertical variants defining a full range of product offerings. Different brands’ labels are successfully marketed through a national network of stores backed by online promotions and catalogue selling.
With products not being manufactured in-house, the client’s product sourcing unfolds globally, taking the DSN partnership to classic European countries and more global destinations such as Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia. Generally, all packaging projects start with a concept developed by our client’s brand management team. When the product strategy (different brands) and the positioning (different levels of product quality) are defined, sourcing specialists look for the most appropriate manufacturer to deliver the requested materials. Typically, these products are set, including the entire packaging, as they are completely packed before shipping to the selling market. This implies that many manufacturers work with local affiliated packaging providers or printers. Unfortunately, these printers operate with their own specifications, if any. The brand management team perceived lacking colour consistency and no insight into printing conditions as non-negligible risk factors.
DSN print management services were selected to tackle these challenges. Headquartered in Europe with support functions in different regions, the DSN experts in colour and printer management would become vital in ensuring and improving quality and consistency. To defeat the effects of the scattered way of working, the following targets were ambitioned:
Through a process known as questionnaires and fingerprinting, existing printer characteristics were registered and digitalised in individual printer profiles. Based on this data, an accurate digital colour proof was presented to the client’s brand management team for approval. With the proof offering full print predictability and simulating the effects of substrates on the design, design and colour expectations could be managed upfront. At this stage, our client can still intervene if unhappy with the result. DSN print management services also developed a “brand colour reference book”, also known as a brand colour book. Specific brand colours were created, developed and presented via a “colour book”, providing a single colour reference proof to the printer. This ensured that the desired brand colour would be achieved. To understand the basic printing specifications even further, printer questionnaires were filled in by every printer involved in the process. This offered benefits for DSN and the printer houses; DSN had more in-depth knowledge on preparing print-ready data. On the other hand, the printer houses were satisfied knowing that the delivered repro files would be suitable for their printing machines allowing them to minimise setup timings. This new process also required new roles and responsibilities. The manufacturer of the products needed to manage the printer quality, thereby ensuring an accurate representation of repro files and colour proof.
Next, the printer needed to print on time and with the correct quality. The printer provided DSN with accurate printing information by filling in the printer questionnaire, ensuring that repro would be provided to their exact technical requirements. To manage all these changes toward the previous way of working, DSN installed a dedicated team to support its client. While reliable resources in Western Europe were handling all artwork & repro preparation of all packs and proofs, dedicated DSN Far-East staff supported the local manufacturer and printers in technical management. Since brand knowledge was diffused and often misinterpreted, the centralised team – combining multilingual and print technical account handlers – got the mandate to support the client’s business in all colour management related topics and projects.