You Can Always Get What You Want…
in Packaging Quality Control
by Ryan Szporer
When it comes to packaging quality control, it’s not necessarily about catching every difference. It’s about catching every difference you want to.
An Inspection for Every Industry
When running inspections, it’s critical to compartmentalize each type of error, whether the type is text, print quality, color, spelling, etc. This is of particular importance to firms operating in industries where they might have different sets of priorities as far as packaging is concerned.
- In pharma, companies are worried more about the accuracy of text than color.
- In cosmetics, it’s just the opposite, where vibrant colors have to stand out.
- For food & beverage firms, it’s much the same scenario, where branding is everything.
- In tobacco, firms are especially on the look-out for print quality, seeking packaging that’s as pristine as possible, without ink splatter or random dots showing up.
Companies in each industry can place more emphasis on text inspections whenever necessary (for example), maybe even going so far as to ignore the differences that don’t matter to them. This can be done by simply choosing to run whichever inspection types apply most. Alternatively, sensitivity in each type of inspection can also be configured to suit the needs of individual firms on a case-by-case basis. Small differences can be discarded. Larger ones will be detected.
Take the extreme as an example. A given digital proofreading system is sensitive to errors of all types and reports back all the differences simultaneously. Heightened sensitivity, which leads quality control applications to catch as many differences between a reference and printed component as possible, is an undeniable asset. But that’s only in the right context.
That’s beside the classic definition of sensitivity when proofreading, which would lead to specks of dust on a scanner getting picked up as false positives. Sensitivity to that degree can be adjusted accordingly. It’s instead in reference to an inability to display those differences separately. If they appear altogether, it can be overwhelming to those tasked with approving (or rejecting) the files. When everything is lit up like a Christmas tree it’s hard to isolate individual errors. You can’t tell the false positives you should ignore from the ones you can’t afford to miss.
Inspecting Packaging with Pinpoint Precision
In contrast, when different types of inspections (graphics, text, barcode, Braille, etc.) are run separately, reviewers can better focus. After running a single inspection, they can run another separately and verify each set of results one after the other.
When differences get detected, they can be traced back to a specific part of the file-creation process, enabling decision-makers to get more of a handle on how to correct the mistake and take steps to limit the chances of it reoccurring. Alternatively, using specific solutions like GlobalVision, all the necessary inspections can indeed be run simultaneously. The results of each inspection will nevertheless be distinct. In the PDF that’s generated, even in a combined report, each set of results appears individually, one after another. It’s just easier for reviewers.
While more inspections are being performed instead of just the one, the difference in time spent reviewing is relatively negligible. After all, depending on the volume and size of the packaging components being verified, each inspection can literally take as little as a few seconds.
Meanwhile, the ability to dissect the differences with surgical precision allows for a shorter process overall. You’re no longer wasting time wading through a virtual junkyard, having to watch each step you take. You’re instead focusing on points of interest that stand out, the most important differences/issues in your specific situation.
Effective proofreading, by its very definition, doesn’t take longer than it has to. But it has to be done right. Being done right can just mean different things, depending on the industry in question and the buying patterns of a given company’s consumers.
By selecting which inspections to run and configuring the sensitivity to best detect the errors/ differences/ issues that are the gravest concern, that company isn’t just protecting their own best interests. They’re also doing it as efficiently as possible to get to market faster… with packaging that’s been proofread accurately based on their specific needs.