The Bridging AgencyCG Artworx thought leaders delve into the aspectof knowledge transfer specializationA bridging agency would free brandmanagers from highly technical processesfor which they are ill suited and poorlytrained, thus allowing them to work moreintensively on research, marketing, andsales, which is where their strengths lie.PACKAGING PRINT RELATED PROCESSES: someone must hold all of the knowledge aboutSTAGES OF PACKAGING CREATION THAT TAKE brand requirements, print processes, and dataPLACE BETWEEN THE COMPLETION OF DESIGN AND formats to ensure that the project moves quicklyACTUAL PRINTING, TYPICALLY COMPRISED OF (BUT and seamlessly from stage to stage, and fromNOT LIMITED TO)ARTWORK, REPROGRAPHY, AND supplier to supplier.COLOR PROOFING. ALSO KNOWN AS ARTWORKAND REPRO, PRE-MEDIA, AND/OR PRE-PRESS. The question is whether the best candidate for this position is really the brand manager to whom the role has fallen by default.A recent Cocoon Group sponsored survey ofFMCG brand managers revealed a surprisingstatistic. The average amount of time spent by KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER SPECIALISTthese brand management teams on packaging It is from this starting point that Cocoon Groupprint related processes was about 15%, with recently held a round table discussion attendedsome respondents claiming that this single by internal experts and business drivers to talkaspect of their job took a whopping 25% of about whether or not there is room in the printtheir time when one took into consideration supply chain for an agency to take on the role of atravel time for print supervisions. ‘knowledge transfer specialist’ or ‘bridging agency’These tasks are highly specialized and technical A technically savvy, workﬂow-optimization houseand are not necessarily suited to brand whose sole responsibility would be to ensuremanagers with marketing backgrounds. Even quick turnaround and high efficiencies as brandedthen, as processes and supplier networks grow, product moved from one stage of the development
The bridging agency: CG Artworx thought leaders delve into the aspect ofknowledge transfer specializationprocess to the next. It was thought that this IN THEIR DISCUSSION,agency would then free the brand managerenough so that he/she could focus on moving OUR PARTICIPANTS CAMEthe brand forward according to the marketing UP WITH 5 ESSENTIALor strategic vision rather than continually hand-holding design teams and print suppliers. CHARACTERISTICS THAT WOULD BE REQUIREDAs envisioned by our round table participants,the bridging agency would liaise with all FOR THE AGENCY TOmembers of the network to ensure that data BE SUCCESSFUL ANDwas properly prepared for each new supplieras quickly as possible. Their value would lie in MARKETABLE TO CLIENTSbringing costs down, uncovering areas ripe forinnovation, and ultimately bringing products to PRODUCING BRANDEDmarket faster and more cheaply for clients. PACKAGED GOODS:1 2 THE BRIDGING AGENCY SHOULD IMPROVE MUST ALLOW FREEDOM TO THE COST EFFECTIVENESS OF THE WHOLE MOVE/CHANGE SUPPLIERS PROCESS, FROM PLANNING TO PRINT There was some discussion between theAt the end of the day, greater efficiency participants as to whether the bridging agencyshould translate into lower costs and/or higher would actually shield the client from suppliersproﬁts. The bridging agency should be able to and be able to switch printers at will; for instance,demonstrate cost savings in terms of quicker if greater efficiencies or cost savings are found.turnaround or fewer errors. Getting products tothe market in 6 months rather than 18 months is Others suggested that the bridging agent’sone demonstrable way that a bridging agency role would only apply during the actualcould beneﬁt the bottom line. Another beneﬁt is ‘knowledge transfer stages’ and be relegatedaccurate KPI reporting which shows that there is to ensuring smooth communication betweenless redundancy, overlap, and errors. suppliers, collecting and storing knowledge, and converting data to correct formats.As Andre de Koning, CEO of Mountain Designpointed out, “There are numerous overlapping It was agreed by all, however, that the bridgingor unclear responsibilities in the chain that cause agency would create ‘supplier independence’inefficiency and money-drain. The bridging for clients. By holding onto the data, lessons,agency should be able to clear that up right away.” and detailed knowledge of needed processes, it would be ensured that suppliers could be switched easily, quickly, and with no quality or time loss for clients.
The bridging agency: CG Artworx thought leaders delve into the aspect ofknowledge transfer specialization3 KEEPER OF ALL KNOWLEDGE One area of expertise in particular that Probably the most essential role of the was pointed out by Mick Cassell, Business bridging agency would be as keeper of Development Director for Cocoon Group, wasthe knowledge, data, and processes. Douglas direct knowledge of local print suppliers. “YouKaufman, Head of Brand Strategies, pointed would need to know what is available and who itout that the ideal thing would be for the is available from.”, he stated.bridging agency to hold knowledge for allbrand creation and delivery stages – strategy 5and design included. PAY BASED ON EFFICIENCIES AND SPEED OF MOVEMENT BETWEEN STAGESHe pictured a centralized ‘brand database’ In order to be attractive to clients,where brand books and consumer research the bridging agency would need to base itswere stored side-by-side with print guidelines compensation structure almost entirely onand contact reports, creating a ‘one-stop- efficiency and speed. Benchmarks and KPIsbrand-knowledge-shop’ for clients. This would would need to be established from the veryinsulate clients not only from suppliers, but also outset. The bridging agency would need toemployees who may be absent, go on holidays, implement a barrage of reports to track exactlyor leave the company altogether. where the money is going and set up processes for continual improvement. No one in theAccording to Monika Jevocinova, Client Services discussion was prepared to put forward anDirector of CG Artworx, “We have seen cases actual pricing structure, and yet, everyone feltwhere a brand manager will fall ill and no many of the pieces were out there to developone in the company knows whether data is something.at the design agency or the print house.” Acentralized supplier would ensure that up to 6date information, knowledge, and data are MUST BE COMPLETELY TRANSPARENTavailable for quick implementation or sharing This led to the ﬁnal point of thewith network members. discussion, which was that of transparency. Andre de Koning very rightly pointed out that “The largest budget in the4 EXPERT IN ALL PRINT TECHNIQUES, packaging area is pre-press, and yet, this TECHNOLOGIES, AND SUBSTRATES is essentially a black hole for most clients.” One area where the process Everyone felt that the bridging agencycurrently fails for most companies is focused should be able to provide more transparency;expertise applied to innovation and continual otherwise it would be seen as adding clutter toimprovement. Very few individuals have an already complicated process.expertise in all aspects of print technologies,and those who do often have little incentive to Everyone agreed, however, that if the stepsinnovate in ways that save the client’s money. of putting into place clear KPIs and stage-by- stage reporting were implemented, it wouldAs technical experts across a broad range already go a long way in clarifying real costs inof print-related processes and materials, the packaging print related processes and, indeed,bridging agency would be in a unique position in all brand delivery.to make recommendations based on a clientneed for increased efficiency.
The bridging agency: CG Artworx thought leaders delve into the aspect of knowledge transfer specialization At the conclusion of the round table, all participants felt that a bridging agency – if it could deliver on the promises covered above-would deﬁnitely bring value to the process of bringing products to the market. It would free brand managers from highly technical processes for which they are ill suited and poorly trained, thus allowing them to work more intensively on research, marketing, and sales, which is where their strengths lie. While there was some disagreement about the scope (strategy and design included or only packaging print processes) and as to whether a bridging agency could retain credibility if it additionally offered production services (thus becoming another supplier), every participant agreed that this was a discussion that should be carried further and revisited at a future date. Our participants: ANDRE DE KONING, CG Board member, NL PETR BACA, CEO, Cocoon Group MICK CASSELL, Business Development Director, Cocoon Group DOUGLAS KAUFMAN, Head of Brand Strategies, Cocoon Group JIRI LUKACEK, Product Director, CG Artworx MONIKA JEVOCINOVA, Client Services Director, CG ArtworxMany of these principles of proper knowledge transfer are ingrained in the products,services, and philosophy of CG Artworx. For instance:• Maximizing efficiency through the centralization of core processes is the basis of our Smartworx document management and workﬂow management tools.• Innovation and optimization opportunities for technologies and processes are exploited through CG Artworx’s technical and regional experience.• KPI reporting and benchmarking help CG Artworx manage and optimize the crucial and expensive steps between design and print.While not a ‘bridging agency’ as deﬁned within the context of this article, CG Artworxdoes work by these principles with the predictable result of faster times to market,lower costs, and increased all-around efficiency in print related processes. For moreinformation on how CG Artworx is using the latest trends to ﬁnd efficiencies for ourclients, visit our knowledge center at WWW.CG-ARTWORX.COM Or, contact us directly for a consultation: email@example.com CG Artworx U Pruhonu 13/800 | 170 00 Praha 7 | Czech Republic Phone: +420.222.998.590 | Cell: +420.724.723.193 Part of Cocoon Group www.cg-eu.com