Proofreading Test: Comparing Results in Microsoft Word, Grammarly, and GlobalVision

Do you trust your proofreading software as you send off that final copy?

Most people have their own proofing process and will continuously stick with one tool, but does that mean all tools are created equal and are just as effective as the others? Here’s a breakdown of three different digital proofreading tools that can help verify your copy: Microsoft® Word®, Grammarly®, and GlobalVision.

Proofreading Software Test Copy:

The text used for the proofreading test has four errors that can be classified as spelling mistakes. It came from a CBS New York article first published on March 7th, 2013:

“I was nervus about how hard it was going be, how much of a chnage it was going to be from high school,” Gonzalez said. “I know I needed to take remedial, If I started write away with credit classe it wasnt going to bee so well so it’s better of starting somewhere.”

Coincidentally, the article is about illiterate high school students in the USA and states about 80% of New York City graduates lack basic reading skills. Once notified of the spelling errors, CBS corrected them within the hour. It should be noted a few mistakes were added for this proofreading test. The results of each of the tools are given below.

Microsoft Word Spell Check Review:

This is arguably the most-recognized proofreader in the world, with a wide variety of languages available. The user types in their text in the word processor—the primary function of Word—and any detected errors get automatically underlined by that infamous red squiggly line. You know the one.

In this test, the red squiggly lines appeared on all the spelling errors in the text. Some grammatical issues and syntax errors were also detected, but not all. For example, the software is inconsistent when it comes to comma and capitalization usage. Other reviewers have had similar problems.

“I was nervus about how hard it was going be, how much of a chnage it was going to be from high school,” Gonzalez said. “I know I needed to take remedial, If I started write away with credit classe it wasnt going to bee so well so it’s better of starting somewhere.”

Furthermore, Word has trouble differentiating between contextually misused homophones, like “write” and “bee” in the above paragraph. Word is also unable to compare the differences in a sample and master file. If a user needs to compare two PDF files for revision purposes, they should look elsewhere. Otherwise, for a proofreader as part of a word processor, it’s fairly complete.

Word is available on most Mac and PCs. The latest version, as a component of Office 365, can be downloaded for CAD $139 (at the time this article was written).

Grammarly Proofreading Platform Review:

Oddly enough, when you type “proofreading software” in Google, Grammarly is the website that pops up first. Based on the results of the test, it certainly performs better than Word anyway, as it relatively impressively discovered the two aforementioned homophones in the above blurb. It also caught the “of” in the last sentence, which should have been spelled as “off” instead. Nevertheless, capitalization issues remained. The end result, after all recommended changes had been accepted, still left something to be desired from a basic-comprehension standpoint.

“I was nervous about how hard it was going to be, how much of a change it was going to be from high school,” Gonzalez said. “I know I needed to take remedial, If I started right away with credit classes it wasn’t going to be so well so it’s better off starting somewhere.”

In Grammarly’s defense, users have the option to pay to “Go Premium,” which, in this specific case, would have revealed three additional punctuation issues. Pricing includes monthly, quarterly, and yearly payment options. A separate, in-depth review of Grammarly’s premium features can be found here.

Overall, the trial version of the software is easy to navigate. The user simply copies and pastes the text in and Grammarly starts working instantly. On the first page you can click the “download” button and use the proofreading system through Google Chrome™, one of several deployment options that are available for increased accessibility. You can even use it in Microsoft Office apps, like Word, for a proven proofreading boost, as our test shows. That unfortunately only extends to different variations of English, with American, Australian, British, and Canadian conventions being the only supported languages.

Ultimately, if you are on a budget, Grammarly’s free trial version works fine, while the premium options tend to be well-reviewed. However, if you are a graphic designer or someone working in different languages or with PDF files, with text that may be hard to copy and paste inside the Grammarly app, it might fall short of your expectations.

GlobalVision Spelling Inspection Mode Review:

Lastly, we have GlobalVision software. Unlike the other programs, GlobalVision has both desktop and web versions, with multiple proofreading solutions available: Spelling, Text, Graphics, Barcode, Braille, and even Color Inspection modes. For our test, we performed a spelling inspection in GlobalVision Web.

GlobalVision picked up all the spelling errors too and generated a report for future reference. Meant for corporate usage, GlobalVision features an onboard dictionary that can be added to like Word, to prevent false positives in the future. The comparison to Word is relatively apt. Unlike in Grammarly, the spellcheck features in both Word and GlobalVision are meant as a complementary tool instead of the main attraction.

In that respect, it makes sense Grammarly would have the best test results of all three options, even if only in English, as Word and GlobalVision each support many more languages. Whereas Word is a word processor though, GlobalVision is intended as comparison software, meaning the user can upload multiple files at a time. GlobalVision spellchecks PDF, Adobe® Illustrator®, and Word documents, among many others, which is ideal for graphic designers and those who consistently work with different types.

Truth be told, if you’re looking for a specially designed spellchecking tool with the best bang for your buck, Grammarly may be one of your best bets. If you’re looking for a word processor, Word is widely well-received, albeit with its share of frustrations. Nevertheless, its spellchecking feature is more than adequate (and can even be supplemented with Grammarly).

In sharp contrast, if you’re looking for digital proofreading software to perform pixel-by-pixel comparisons between two artwork files, decode barcodes, and translate Braille, GlobalVision’s Spelling Inspection is a nice-to-have, but it’s probably not the reason you’re buying the software.

Case in point, pricing options are available on the GlobalVision website, with different per-month packages available. Spelling comes included with the purchase of the Text Inspection option, which compares the text in two different documents, potentially two different file types with different layouts. This again speaks to how it comes down to what you’re looking for and need.

If it’s fast and largely accurate and reliable results, each tool that was reviewed above delivers, just in different contexts. They each work, but they get different jobs done. In other words, they’re far from created equal, especially for your specific needs. Pick the one that’s best for you.


Read our white paper on how to automate printed packaging quality
control and the different techniques and systems that can be used in the packaging workflow.


Man working on quality inspection with a laptop

Terms like “audit” and “inspection” are prevalent in any manufacturing business. The first one refers to analyzing manufacturing organizations and processes, whereas the second refers to any product-checking activity.

Generally, quality inspectors do this by following a pre-established list based on certain product specifications. In fact, any type of product can be inspected, starting with just the components used for the product to semi-finished ones and (most often) the finished product itself.

According to the ISO 2859 standard – which is derived from MIL-STD 105 E – quality inspection involves activities such as testing, gauging, examining, or measuring one or more product characteristics. However, inspection efforts end when the results are compared with specified requirements to determine whether the inspected characteristic achieves conformity.

Why Inspecting Early is Better

This is a crucial concept for any product developer because in the manufacturing world, the sooner we identify and eliminate errors, the better.

It all follows the 1:10:100 ratio, but before jumping to that, let’s remember that there are only six paths on which we can deal with errors. First, they fall into three categories: development, production, and delivery. Then, once identified, all we can do is either prevent or correct them.

Identifying and correcting an error in production will likely cost you 10 times more
(in both time and money)

According to multiple studies, there is a 1:10:100 cost/time ratio between these three broad categories. In other words, identifying and correcting an error in production will likely cost you 10 times more (in both time and money) than it would in development. Following the same ratio, an error will then cost you 100 times more to fix if it actually reaches the consumers.

That’s why applying quality inspection only at the end of the production line is a very risky move that only a few major companies dare to take. Big, organized, and customer-oriented companies are now focusing on inspecting earlier to save resources.

The Importance of Quality Inspection in Print

Package under digital inspection using GlobalVision tool

Companies needing to print in bulk will find that having a quality inspection process in place is extremely beneficial. Print inspection systems can provide the assurance and quality control your company needs to minimize mistakes. They will also guarantee the delivery of consistent results that will enhance your brand’s image through error-reduction.

In fact, the role of quality inspection systems becomes even more vital when dealing with offset commercial printers. Given that most printing presses operate at incredibly high speeds, irregularities in the final product are more than possible, if not mandatory. Quality inspection software in print – as opposed to manual inspection systems – provides the necessary accuracy to achieve consistent and flawless results on a regular basis.

Modern Print Inspection

Modern print inspection systems consist of advanced technology that links with your printing press or web rewinder to achieve exceptional results. It works by integrating vision systems (cameras), web viewers, and high-tech software that will catch any errors in time before they are printed in bulk.

Over the years, these quality inspection systems have been developing at a rapid pace. Nowadays, you can find multiple options online at very competitive prices. In fact, given that they require little to no maintenance, one of the key advantages of implementing these non-traditional tools is that you only need to make a one-time investment. Other benefits include ease of use and operation and the ability to have more control over your result.


Quality inspection is an essential part of every production line. Those who don’t understand how valuable it is are not looking at the big picture. Money-wise, the cost of manufacturing a product extends far beyond the build cost, as it continues across its lifecycle, from support and delivery to warranty claims and – for some products – disposal.

It might seem like an unnecessary investment now but, with proper management, they can reduce future costs, relating to customer support, warranty returns, and rejected/returned items. They can even add value to your company, as you’ll count on a competitive defense tool that will eventually pour more money into your pockets.


Read our white paper on how to automate printed packaging quality
control and the different techniques and systems that can be used in the packaging workflow.


Gif image of different components in Packaging Quality Control

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.

For example:

  • 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.
Quote from customer story of GlobalVision

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

Laptop showing GlobalVision text inspection softwares

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.

Soft Proofing 101

Soft proofing is a mechanism that allows you to temporarily simulate the way your image will appear when printed on your display screen. Given that it replicates how your print will look when it is on paper, soft proofing is definitely one of the most useful features of color management. Nonetheless, it also calls for a trained and experienced set of eyes that know how to properly correct an image when it doesn’t appear as intended. The key to succeeding at soft proofing relies on your specific type of paper and ink combination. This is called a ‘printer profile’, and it’s not usually provided with the printer, so if you’re determined to achieve accurate prints, you will have to spend more money to have it measured. Some printer manufacturers provide these types of profiles, but they’re only helpful if you use the same type of ink and photographic paper for which it was designed. The other things you’ll need before you start is a calibrated monitor and a color management software, such as Photoshop or Lightroom.

How it Works

There are two conceptual stages involved in soft proofing. First, you have to simulate the out-of-gamut colors so that in the second stage, you can simulate white balance and dynamic range. However, both stages are carried out at the same time from the computer’s perspective. One common misconception about soft proofing is that it will change the image’s data. Nothing can be further from the truth, as soft proofing will only change how the image is displayed on your monitor. In addition to this, both stages are optional so operators can choose to see both of these effects together or each in isolation.

Stage 1 – Color Conversion

This stage is very similar to the conversion of a regular color-managed image when it’s sent to the printer. Basically, the color space of the original image is converted so that it matches the printer’s color space. The outcome is the compression of any out-of-gamut colors into the printer’s typically shorter spectrum.

Stage 2 – Display Options

As opposed to the first stage, this one isn’t typically applied to a graphics file when printed. It addresses how the image is going to be displayed by compensating the differences between the darkest and brightest tones in print and on your monitor. If done correctly, at the end of this stage you’ll have an image that will closely resemble the appearance of your printed work.

How to Interpret a Soft Proof

When comparing your previous on-screen image with the results of the soft proof, you’ll notice that the difference can range from drastic to subtle changes depending on factors such as the image content, printer profile, and monitor. However, not all of these changes matter that much, so it’s crucial to remember which changes will be rapidly compensated by our eyes (mostly stage 2 changes), and those that won’t (mostly stage 1).

Stage 1 – Changes

Most color management programs include a “Gamut Warning” feature that indicates which of your file’s colors are outside the printer’s gamut. During the soft proof, you’ll need to monitor these colors closely as they could change drastically. Some problematic colors include mid-tone reds and other saturated colors that cannot be completely reproduced by most printers. A small decrease in saturation is to be expected in most soft proofs, but significant changes in hues must be prevented if possible. Changes in a hue can be managed by trying different rendering intents or even tweaking the original colors until an acceptable soft proof is achieved.

Stage 2 – Changes

Even though stage 2 changes are usually the most visible ones, they typically lack importance. The human eyes will automatically compensate for both white balance and dynamic range changes, so they won’t usually present any visual issues. In fact, both these settings are generally unavailable or disabled by default. If by any chance you are using these setting, it’s probably best to review the resulting image in full-screen mode. It’s also critical to look away for a few seconds before enabling these options. That way your eyes won’t have a prior reference and will fully adjust to the new image.


Read our white paper on how to automate printed packaging quality
control and the different techniques and systems that can be used in the packaging workflow.


5 Amazing Things Quality Control Solutions Can Handle

For business, it’s not simply about making a product for monetary gain. Planning, time, and strategy all go along with providing customers with something that will benefit them in their everyday lives. However, there is something of equal importance that most consumers do not think about when they reach for their favorite product on the shelf.

Do Your Work and Check It Twice

Each business has their own quality control process that they’ve implemented along the product creation workflow. This is done to ensure their goods are of high quality and they look as such when they get to their customers. Quality control in this context is imperative. While packaging has its primary function, it also contributes to brand expression.
Manufacturers use their product packaging to convey a message and look, which are critically important to attract and maintain consumers. Whether it’s the product name, the fine print, or a warning label, consumers will want to read it to learn more and make an educated purchasing decision.

Consumers Are Naturally Drawn to Colors

Lady reading the nutrition facts of food packages

When most of us pick up a product at the store, the first thing we notice is the color of the packaging. The color scheme of a product also becomes part of the brand and its messaging. Think about products like TideTM with their iconic orange bottle and the orange and yellow bullseye as the logo. Is there another product that comes to mind when we see this combination of colors? Probably not.

The color and artwork significantly influence consumer purchases, so much so that it accounts for 85% of the reason why someone decides to go ahead and buy a product. So, it’s necessary that the language and artwork be free of errors. These errors can harm a company’s reputation and muddy the waters for consumers, leading to potential lawsuits. Quality control solutions can prevent this.

Here are five amazing things quality control solutions are made to handle:

  1. Reviewing artwork– If you include artwork on your packaging, you do not want errors to ruin the consumer’s first impression. With software that inspects artwork and compares it to the internally approved file, you can ensure it’s pixel-perfect.
  2. Inspecting cylindrical objects– Is your packaging cylindrical? No problem. It’s still possible to scan in the packaging and inspect it digitally, using select quality control software solutions. Supported items can include plastic bottles such as Eska’s bottled water, glass jars, soda cans like Coca-Cola’s Diet Coke, and cylinders with embossed text, like the containers your grandmother used to store her cookies.
  3. Inspecting barcodes– Have you ever been caught in line at the store when the barcode just would not scan? Barcodes contain incredibly useful information and need to be error-free and scannable. Some quality control software solutions can check that all barcodes meet ISO, ANSI, and CEN standards.
  4. Translating Braille– Is Braille required on your packaging to ensure regulatory compliance? Some quality control software can inspect and translate Braille and ensures it complies with regulations like the Marburg Medium Braille Font Standard.
  5. Final product checking– It’s one thing to check each element of packaging, but another to check them altogether. Deploy software that lets you scan and inspect the final packaging, including barcodes, Braille, artwork, and text. Scanning the final packaging or printed material that the consumer will see ensures no mistakes are made, only the perfect first impression.


Quotes from customer stories about how automated proofreading solutions helped with quality control

Competition is fierce in every industry, prompting businesses to fight for the top spot as the consumer’s favorite brand. Not only do companies need to come up with an incredible product, but they must make sure that their brand messaging is communicated effectively with the look of the packaging. Taking it a step further, these companies need to also implement some form of quality control…for both. There is no question that a lot goes on behind the scenes during the product creation process and it can get overwhelming at times. However, there are tools available at a company’s disposal.

Automated proofreading solutions were designed to help with quality control processes. Software like GlobalVision can save companies a lot of time by reviewing files before they are sent to the printers. It’s important for labels and artwork to be reviewed before they are printed and sent off to the market. Having your packaging laced with errors when it reaches a customer is bad enough. What’s worse is knowing that a solution can take seconds could have saved you thousands.

Register for one of our weekly demos or request a free trial today to find out more about how automated quality control can streamline your packaging process.

Standardizing with One Print Supplier is Critical

High standards are a necessity in the printing industry. Standardization is meanwhile a whole different animal… one that’s arguably just as critical to the survival of the fittest.

The Need to Standardize

If there’s a delicate ecosystem at play here, it’s not necessarily the free market. Instead it would be that of a given company as it attempts to balance multiple suppliers. Take for example the following situation: An especially large order of one specific SKU has been made. It requires more bandwidth than your go-to supplier has available. What do you do?

The easy answer is to spread the order out over multiple suppliers. That way a single supplier’s capacity limitations aren’t an issue. You would run into several other problems though, namely the resulting inability to control the appearance of your product’s packaging on store shelves.

Going with multiple suppliers, printers as an example, means going with multiple sets of hardware, multiple brands of paper and ink, different levels of expertise, etc. In essence, even if the printers are each given the same digital file off of which to work, there are no guarantees that what will result will end up being the same packaging. In fact, just the opposite: You can practically guarantee the packaging will be different in each case, even if subtly so.

Hence the need to standardize.

Steps in Place

Standardizing is theoretically simple. Consider a single company, perhaps your own. One way of standardizing involves using the same computers (PC or Mac) and software, down to the version number, in every department. It’s the simplest way to eliminate conversion errors in your files when sending them from co-worker to co-worker.

Now imagine the benefits of expanding that level of standardization beyond your doors to the offices of your suppliers. For example, any work done on a digital file would appear 100% as intended regardless of whose system it’s on. That would reduce mistakes, back and forth, and the amount of revision cycles up to and including the point at which the proof is received back from the printer for approval. Of course, it will all be for naught, unless you’re able to standardize on a single printer, but at least half the battle will be won.

Companies reserve the right to go with several printers right from the get-go. It affords them the overall flexibility to go to a different one on a dime if your usual go-to simply cannot take on a job when you need it, not to mention the financial flexibility to go where the cost makes the most sense. You will nonetheless run into the same types of issues and be unable to guarantee the product will meet not just your high standards, but the standards set by each other unit beside it before it makes its way into the hands of the end user.

The Standardization Dream: One Supplier

Dismissing the need to standardize outright is the same as saying it’s okay that your product does not look the same from unit to unit on the store shelf, which is a fundamentally absurd notion. Taking it to one extreme, if your product doesn’t look the same from unit to unit, how will customers know what to buy?

Granted, it’s unlikely that packaging would be so different that customers wouldn’t recognize two products on the same shelf as being the same, but what if we’re talking about differences like the texture of the packaging or the shade of the background color? It literally looks bad and it reflects badly on your brand in turn, that is if the label even stays on the darn thing. It’s an actual risk, if the same adhesive isn’t being used throughout the production process.

So, even though, at face value, you may need multiple printers to deliver an especially large job, it’s a bit of a trick question. What do you do? You stack the deck. You actually find one printer who’s large enough with the capacity to pull off the job in question and all others down the road. The right printer will accept your demands to standardize on everything from software to hardware and use the same materials job-in, job-out. There are printing plants specifically built for just that purpose, to cater to single clients.

Even if retaining the services of a specific printer costs money, you’re ensuring a high quality of service, a high quality of product, and high degree of consistency. It just makes more financial sense in the long run, without risking your brand equity in the process.

Standardization does pay off. You just have to do it wherever possible. If not, you may quickly find yourself at the bottom of the food chain.

Register for one of our webinars or request a personalized demo today to find out more about how automated quality control can streamline your packaging process.

Monitor with the lock of GDPR Compliance

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is coming to the European Union and it’s not to be trifled with. Hypothetical fines of up to 20 million euros to companies who neglect to do their part to help the people of the EU gain back control over their data spell out how important compliance is not just to success, but survival. From a business perspective, getting ahead of the potential far-reaching consequences is obviously critical. It doesn’t have to be impossible, though.

Checks and Balances… and Stock Prices

For starters, the 25 May 2018 date on which it will be enacted is the culmination of a two-year transition period that began in 2016. As such, it should be pointed out this development is far from reactionary to the recent data misuse and privacy scandal surrounding American cyber behemoth Facebook. Despite involving Facebook, the outrage technically originated over the Atlantic with British consulting firm Cambridge Analytica allegedly impacting the United Kingdom’s Brexit vote  (and American 2016 presidential election) by leveraging the platform.

In other words, this legislation could not come any sooner. There is a clear need for checks and balances to keep the best interests of the consumer at heart. As Facebook is discovering firsthand after the fact, trying to find some way to address the issue only once one of the worst-case scenarios has come to fruition, it’s also in companies’ best interests. Facebook stock has seen better days, with the resulting #DeleteFacebook movement gaining more and more steam.

The point is organizations who didn’t see this coming only have themselves to blame, as they’ve had ample time to make necessary adjustments. These adjustments include educating staff and getting buy-in, making required hires, and undergoing internal audits to ensure compliance.

Compliance in this case is largely synonymous with acquiring consumer consent to process their data. Out are longwinded terms and conditions. Consent must be given via forms written in clear and concise language and must be able to be withdrawn just as easily. The relationship between consumer and company will be made all the more transparent, effectively through reports on demand, documenting how customers’ data is used. If an EU citizen/ resident makes a request, the company in question will have to make the information accessible and accurately report it to them.

The Benefits of Big Data

Data is obviously a powerful thing. When used properly, it can help a firm drive product development and improve relationships with customers in one fell swoop. For example, in relation to quality-control solutions-provider GlobalVision’s product offering, mining data pertaining to the packaging you produce can help minimize waste and optimize internal processes. Leverageable data doesn’t necessarily have to come from consumers or infringe on their privacy to connect with them.

As argued by GlobalVision Director of Technology Jonathan Hou, “You could capture data from packaging and print suppliers to help identify areas of improvement or pick top performers in your supply chain. Helping find the source of errors will help in reducing reprints.”

Meanwhile, smart labels and packaging work the other way and let consumers themselves pull data about a given product to better assess if it meets their needs. So, data, in and of itself, is far from the problem. It’s when the data in question and the trust between the two parties here is abused that problems start to surface. In that sense, what GDPR is setting out to accomplish, act as a watchdog to ensure companies toe the line and stay on the side of ethical compliance, is for the best.

Putting the “PR” in GDPR

The word “compliance” often gets a bad reputation as conforming is just not individualistic. People want to be able to make their own decisions and conforming often runs counter to free will. Unfortunately, as the ongoing Cambridge Analytica saga would attest to, free will is consistently at risk of being manipulated in this day and age. When compliance is being asked of multi-national corporations and not the people they are supposed to cater to, it’s often a good thing.

Data integrity starts with data security. The GDPR looks to guarantee both, stating that, “the controller and the processor [of data] shall implement appropriate technical and organizational measures to ensure a level of security appropriate to the risk, including… the ability to ensure the ongoing confidentiality, integrity, availability, and resilience of processing systems and services.” – Art. 32(1)(b).

Furthermore, the data that is gathered shall be “limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed.” – Art. 5(1)(c). That doesn’t necessarily have to do with security, but it does with integrity, both with regard to data and the motivations behind its collection.

In principle, no one can argue with the merits of the argument. In practice, it’s just a question of whether the GDPR will be adequately enforced, once 25 May rolls around. If so, there should be no question as to its effectiveness, taking steps in the right direction. For companies looking at life after the legislation comes into effect, those first steps are always difficult, but it presumably gets easier. At least it should, after they try walking a mile in their customers’ shoes.

Quality Management: A Step-by-Step Process

Most consumers hear the word “quality” when associated with packaging and immediately think of the final product on the shelves in stores. However, its meaning is much different in the packaging and labeling industry.

A lot goes on behind the scenes of the packaging process. For instance, a quality management system must be put in place for the best chance of the product being a success, but what exactly is quality management? It ensures your packaging process is planned from start to finish, that all information is accurate, and that you provide an exceptional customer experience. It’s harder than it sounds to put in place though, as quality management processes vary depending on the industry.

The perception may be that a quality management process is implemented at the design and packaging stage of a product. However, many companies have deployed quality management systems at every stage. As an illustration, consider just how many departments are involved in the creation of a product, from its early stages until the package is in the customer’s hands.

All Information Should be Accurate

The quality management process typically starts with regulatory affairs and marketing. These departments take the data gathered from the manufacturers and strategically market the materials. Pharmaceutical companies must meanwhile impose strict guidelines on their products for health reasons. This is where the quality process comes in. All information needs to be clear and correct. No one wants to recall a product because of a small labeling error. A way to ensure the accuracy of packaging is by using quality management software to review your files before they are sent to the design department.

Ensuring Your Vision is Clear

Part of the quality management process involves precisely displaying your vision on your packaging. When planning the design and packaging of your product, it is essential to choose a supplier that understands your needs. Choose carefully though; You want to work with someone who will be able to bring your creativity to life. For example, if you are looking to take risks and be innovative with your design, your supplier must be equally willing to take that risk with you. Both the company and the supplier must be on the same page, or collaborating can become a challenge.

From Digital to Print

Woman and man communicating about print inspection

For businesses looking to take that risk and re-launch their packaging, having a physical proof is imperative. A proof, or a printer’s proof, is a copy of the design. These are made to ensure that the printer is meeting their client’s needs by helping their vision come to life. You want to make sure that not only is your design translated into an artwork file, but that it looks just as good in tangible form. When your clients receive the good, the packaging is the first thing they see. If your file has errors in it or isn’t color-consistent, go back to the drawing board. Work with the graphic designers to come up with a design that is both practical and conveys your brand’s message. Proofreading software can also be used by designers to review files for artwork accuracy, by comparing proofs to the internally approved original.

Validation Of Your Packaging

After your product has been packaged, the next step is to put it through a series of tests. You want to make sure that package is of the highest quality and you provide a positive customer experience. Most companies perform the following analysis on their packaging: Installation Qualification (IQ), Operation Qualification (OQ) and Performance Qualification (PQ). IQ ensures that the sealing equipment is installed at the manufacturing facility. PQ tests the integrity and repeatability during the sealing process. Lastly, OQ makes sure companies perform durability, rub, and drop tests to so the package will hold up and not fall apart during transportation by the time it reaches its destination.


Even when your product is sitting on the shelves of stores, it must provide a good first impression to potential buyers. A product that looks high-quality will grab consumer’s attention and earn their loyalty. In other words, it’s important that your packaging be error-free and created the way you had anticipated. If you decide not to design your packaging in-house, partnering with the right supplier is essential. You want to work with someone who is on the same page as you, especially if you’re looking to revamp your brand. Ensuring your packaging is of the highest quality is the ultimate goal, whether you’re in regulatory affairs or work on the design team.

Regardless of your position, you play a major role in quality management, which should ideally span multiple departments. Consumers who see the value in your product are likely to stay put. After all, a company is only as successful as its packaging.

Author: Kajetan Wyrzykowski

Packhelp is a start-up manufacturing custom packaging. In order to create a box, our customers can use an intuitive and easy-to-use online design tool. Additionally, the minimum quantity of orders is only 30 pieces and the production times begin at 14 days.

Researcher working with machine on a cartoon background

There are some constants that cannot be ignored, even between two radically different products.

If you were to take those two products and examine them, there is no denying there would be a long list of properties that vary greatly between the two. We’re talking shape, size, purpose, etc. In a way, they cannot be compared. Nevertheless, whatever the industry, products tend to follow similar development lifecycles. From the point at which a light bulb goes off in someone’s head up to the release of the product to the market, set stages are followed. One such stage, testing, is as universal as it gets in principle.

It’s then that the IQ, OQ, and PQ enter the picture.

For the uninitiated, the “Q” stays the same with regard to each of the above acronyms. They stand for Installation, Operational, and Performance Qualification and each impacts the product development process and quality control in its own way, but as steps, one after another.

As an illustration, consider the pharmaceutical industry. Each piece of equipment or system that enters into a drug’s “chain of custody” must be tested as being qualified for use. “Validated” is another way to put it, with validation defined as, “evidence that provides a high degree of assurance that a specific process will consistently produce a product meeting its pre-determined specifications and quality attributes.”

It’s an exhaustive process with many ins and outs, starting with the IQ.

Installation Qualification (IQ)

The IQ, or Installation Qualification, ensures, as its name suggests, that a product is properly installed.

Physical products like instruments or tools may call for properly allocated floor space, correct operating conditions, and that there is physically no damage to the unit in question. In the case of software, this means verifying items like whether the folder structures are intact and that the minimum system requirements are met. Checks may also include the memory of the workstation on which the software is being installed, the operating system, software libraries, and that all required files to run the application are accounted for.

“Minimum requirements” is perhaps a good way to put it in general. Whether it’s hardware or a piece of software that’s being tested, the Food and Drug Administration’s IQ definition applies. It states the objective is to document that the “system has the necessary prerequisite conditions to function as expected.”

After ensuring that the system in question can run, the focus shifts to how it runs.


Operational Qualification (OQ)

The OQ, or Operational Qualification, is next up. It is traditionally started out once the IQ has been run through, acting as a pre-requisite for technical acceptance of the software, equipment, or facility. In this capacity, the OQ tests that the functionality of a product is as desired. It acts as a review of start-up, operational, maintenance, safety, and cleaning procedures where applicable.

Each critical button/ function is tested to make sure it does what it should. This holds true for both software and hardware and includes everything from the smallest of details on displays to the exact range of temperature fluctuations, etc.

What’s critical is that every piece of equipment and software operates within the stated limits. Ultimately, that’s the point of the OQ. Once each is proven to, it’s time to test those limits.

Performance Qualification (PQ)

The final step in the qualification process, the PQ, or Performance Qualification, is meant to ensure the product stacks up against real-world conditions, albeit in simulated scenarios. Whereas the OQ verified functionality, the PQ is results-oriented. Tests tend to have expected results attached to them, meaning they have to be consistently reproducible.

The detailed test plan itself is created from the product development lifecycle. Both the Functional Requirements Specification (FRS; document detailing the requirements that are expected to be performed) and Detailed Design Specification (DDS; document detailing how those operations are performed) factor in. System and unit testing (testing done at the modular level) are also taken into consideration.

The goal here, aside from making sure everything works, is to make sure the system is able to be validated. After all, the validation document serves as proof that the system works as expected when it is being installed at a customer site. That documentation is something the customer holds onto, if ever an issue or audit arises sometime down the line.

At their cores, the IQ, OQ, and PQ are sub-sections of validation, simply parts of a larger process. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, though.

GlobalVision as a Test Case Scenario

Take, for instance, GlobalVision, which develops automated quality control software (and various hardware accompaniments like scanners) for packaging components and product collateral. While its own quality control process is as thorough as you would expect and of course includes internal validation, let’s re-examine the pharma example from earlier.

GlobalVision offers validation execution services with industries like pharma in mind. Pharma is renowned for its stringent requirements revolving around standard documentation and GlobalVision has decades of experience within that space, among others, and caters to the top 10 pharma companies in the world.

As mentioned earlier, each piece of equipment or system that “touches” a product during its development has to be validated. Packaging proofreading software falls into that category. The pharmaceutical company in question could theoretically validate an application on its own. However, GlobalVision doesn’t just supply its own validation documents, extensively developed through its decades of experience working with companies in the industry. GlobalVision offers to execute them onsite, thereby further saving the company time and resources better devoted elsewhere.

In this case, validation execution is a value-added service tacked on to the product itself, the software. Software is somewhat of a particular case as multiple versions of a program are generally released, with each version theoretically an upgrade relative to the last, either through fixes or the addition of new features designed to address issues that had been encountered.

It further proves just how critical testing is to the success of a product, how it’s ongoing. It’s essentially one lifecycle that never ends, further bridging the gap between different industries. Testing and the success it endeavors to achieve is their common ground.

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A New Era for Quality Management Systems

The fourth industrial revolution, sometimes referred to as industry 4.0, has been widely predicted to be the next step for the manufacturing industry. Technologies such as the cloud, robotics, and the IoT are changing the manufacturing world as we know it.

According to a survey made by the DMDII (Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute), a vast majority of respondents considered digital design and manufacturing to be a significant force driving competitiveness. The same survey also found that only 13 percent of respondents believed their companies possess a high digital capability.

Although there’s been progress in digitally transforming functions such as development, research, maintenance, and production, businesses still have a long road ahead when it comes to the digitalization of quality management systems.

The reactive approach to quality is currently the law of the land, where disparate quality applications and manual inspections are used to track quality within production lines. Of course, it’s needless to say that this approach results in frequent errors, leads to cost overruns, and ultimately diminishes product quality.

A reactive quality control means having a stack of legacy applications performing multiple quality functions, but the lack of a holistic approach in this type of quality management system creates ineffective communications between the quality and production departments and a disorganized work environment. As a result, productivity is impaired by simple errors like inventory pile-ups, and staff members have to invest an increasing amount of time and effort in quality-related repairs and reworks.

Adjusting to a Shifting Landscape

Why is it that, in spite of the rapid technological advances we are witnessing, a wide range of consumer, pharma, and technology products are recalled every year? The issue lies in the conventional quality management system, which operates in concentrated silos instead of offering a holistic, company-wide view. With the advent of stricter regulations and demanding customers, it is the moment to think about new quality strategies and start implementing a digitalized, integrated quality management solution.

Several case studies have concluded that integrated quality management systems help maintain quality throughout the product’s lifecycle, improve preventive and predictive capabilities, and offer a greater visibility into the whole manufacturing and quality control process. The digitalization of quality management ultimately helps companies to deliver consistent quality products faster while at the same time optimizing costs and efforts.

Why end-to-end quality management systems are the answer

End-to-end automation of quality management systems – including planning, control, and improvement – allows for the easy monitoring of quality across the production lifecycle. A comprehensive view of all the operations helps identify issues proactively, optimize product performance early in the development cycle, and analyze and uncover the root cause of such problems.

Over time, integrated quality management software will lead to clean and lean production capabilities – all thanks to automation advances. This is currently laying the foundation for the digital end-to-end manufacturing cycles. Soon, the establishment of machine-to-machine interactions will enable real-time access to needed information.

These integrated ecosystems will further spread proactive and holistic quality management across all aspects of the production, including process enforcement, quality process standardization, personnel and skill qualifications, configuration and production process verification, and in-process inspection.

Aligning Digital Technologies for Better Quality Insights

While there are countless ways in which analytic solutions and digital technologies can be used to modernize quality management systems, without a doubt, the first place digitalization needs to be applied to is the plant floor. This will allow for better quality insights that eventually lead to the implementation of critical preventive policies.

For instance, the integration of mobile and cloud-based technologies can ensure the inspection of the manufacturing site by remotely located experts. This real-time collaboration between different types of users will lead to the timely identification and resolution of errors. Also, the visualization of real-time defect data can also help maximize supply chain processes and efficiencies.

Big companies like Toyota are taking advantage of advanced analytics and APCs (advanced process controls) to fix, in real time, any quality-related problems in production, thus minimizing scrap and rework and even enabling manufacturers to reduce quality control costs by 10-20%.

Why aren’t all Companies on Board with this?

Any company seeking to achieve real recognition, growth, and success must embrace this new era of digitalization. Unfortunately, not all of them end up following the advice and philosophies that quality practitioners have to offer. Like most changes, the evolution of quality management systems in the industry is a process that takes time and, in some cases, a few tries. But one thing’s for sure: perseverance and consistency are fundamental aspects of continuing with the promotion of this change.

In spite of this, there have been multiple businesses that successfully shifted into digitalized systems. In part, this is thanks to companies like GlobalVision, which is one of the leading automated quality control service providers in the packaging world, offering quality inspection tools that range from text and spelling to design, print and Braille inspection. Just recently, GlobalVision’s technologies were built in Esko’s automation engine, creating a new type of prepress workflow where quality is assured all the way.

Stepping into the future

Living in this highly competitive marketplace, low-quality products can impact brand reputation and market share significantly. The reactive quality control approach, therefore, needs to fade away and allow integrated quality management systems to ensure the complete coverage of the production cycle. With the addition of early detection capabilities, companies can initiate timely corrective actions and prioritize maintenance resources, minimize downtime, reduce costs, and maximize product quality.

It’s definitely a big challenge – one that most companies are wary of making – so where are we supposed to begin?

First of all, achieving integrated, holistic digitalization of quality control systems demands a systematic approach. It requires a deeper understanding of the quality-related nuances of all aspects involved so companies can then stitch them together into comprehensive frameworks infused with advanced technologies.

Then, and only then, businesses can begin stepping into the future of digitalized quality management systems.

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