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UK Manufacturers Ponder Post-Brexit Proofreading Impact on Packaging

by Mike Malz

With United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May announcing her resignation, the country’s economic future with Brexit looming over its head is as uncertain as ever. Imagine how individual companies are feeling in the aftermath of her decision and ultimate inability to negotiate a deal for Britain’s exit from the European Union.

While uncompromising UK politicians who favor Brexit are generally looking to break up with the EU regardless of the collateral damage, now that a “no-deal” Brexit is back on the table that damage could end up being apocalyptic in scope. The lack of a trade deal with its closest geographical neighbor would be economically disastrous, as UK companies would inevitably be forced to shut down or move, resulting in lost jobs and hard-hit consumers. That’s admittedly the worst-case scenario, but none of the other possibilities were ever all that easier to swallow. Looking back, it didn’t have to be this way.

 

No Longer Business as Usual in the UK

On June 23, 2016, the same day the UK voted to leave the EU, millions of products streamed along the conveyor belts of pharmaceutical, confectionary, food, and many other Consumer Packaged Goods companies across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. It was business as usual.

Food and confectionary, clad in brightly colored wrappers were being shrink-wrapped and packed into glossy shipping containers and displays. Complex pharmaceutical and other life-science packaging in printed blister-packs similarly streamed off production lines, their labels and package inserts carrying detailed product information.

Companies had based their manufacturing facilities in the UK where they benefited from a highly skilled workforce, access to sophisticated technology, and geographical proximity to the EU. They range from 20 of the largest pharma giants worldwide, which employ some 90,000 people, to massive food and beverage companies such as Unilever, Diageo, and Reckitt Benckiser. From out of the UK, they had been able to ship their products, unimpeded throughout the 28 EU Member States. Then it all changed.

 

How Brexit Should Adversely Affect UK Companies

The morning of June 24, 2016, these companies’ marketers and production & packaging people awoke to what, for many, was the unexpected and undesired outcome of the Brexit vote. At a macro level, they pondered the impact of the vote on their ability to remain competitive within the EU.

However, as a result of the vote, additional regulation and charges might ensue with the viability of maintaining production in the UK irreparably compromised. Last but certainly not least at a micro level, current labeling packaging will have to change for thousands of SKUs. Who will pay for those changes if not the companies themselves?

Food retailers have already spent thousands of pounds per SKU to comply with 2014 and 2016 EU Food Information Regulations. If those EU-specific regulations are no longer valid, UK companies will have to prepare for the inevitable labeling ramifications. Simply bracing for impact and hoping for minimal financial costs isn’t an option. Physical changes will have to be made.

In terms of medicinal products in the UK, national legislation includes The Human Medicines Regulations 2012. The EU pharmaceutical industry is highly regulated and deals with many facets of the industry, including clinical trials, manufacture, advertising, and labeling. When the UK does eventually leave the EU, uncertainty will stem from the differences between future UK regulations and key parts of EU legislation. Again, pharmaceutical manufacturers, both in the UK and EU, are anticipating label and other printed product revisions and will have to prepare accordingly.

 

Managing Labeling Changes Post-Brexit with GlobalVision

GlobalVision specializes in automated text, artwork, barcode, and print inspection solutions. With over 25 years’ experience working with leading pharmaceutical, medical device, CPG, advertising, and printing companies and their suppliers, the goal has been to improve the quality of their labeling, packaging, and artwork materials. Doing so helps companies avoid costly errors leading to reprints, production delays, and any resulting client dissatisfaction that could result in financial losses.

GlobalVision solutions meet each of the needs of Regulatory Affairs, marketing, graphics, Quality Assurance and Control, and legal departments, all the way to production. The various tools integrated in GlobalVision desktop and web deployment options are designed to secure companies’ packaging workflows from end-to-end while increasing accuracy, decreasing approval times, speeding up time to market, and streamlining your overall proofreading process.

Over 70% of the world’s major pharmaceutical companies, like Pfizer, have chosen to incorporate GlobalVision solutions into their workflows. Ditto for CPG companies like P&G, J&J, and Nestlé. Major printers like R.R. Donnelley, WestRock, CCL Label, and Clondalkin have followed suit.

Are you contemplating widespread labeling changes post-Brexit? Continue preparing today by learning more about each of our solutions, with applications in every department. Contact us today at [email protected] and ask us to set up an introductory web demo of our solutions, tailored specifically to your firm.


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