Why Error-Free Packaging, Labeling Is a Must

Pristine, error-free packaging and labeling undeniably looks good, but it’s more than that. It’s a necessity… regardless of the industry in question. It of course conveys brand strength, but, more importantly, it’s about respecting regulations that were put in place for a reason.

Mislabeling Misadventures

The strength of those regulations (and the severity of the penalties for breaking them) depends on the country. For example, in the United States, the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act with the Uniform Packaging and Labeling Regulation (UPLR; and National Institute of Standards and Technology Handbook 130) require consumer commodities to clearly disclose packaging’s contents and manufacturer info. The goal is for customers to be able to make informed purchasing decisions through the comparison of accurate price and quantity information on packaging.

Additional regulations meanwhile outlaw deceptive packaging and labeling. At both the federal and state levels, false advertising and labeling laws exist, with offenders risking additional liability to any victims. Victims can include consumers who are harmed by the product or businesses further down the supply chain who unwittingly purchased the product. If, on the other hand, a party down the supply chain discovers the fraud but fails to take action, they could be responsible too.

The aforementioned laws are admittedly not all-encompassing. State laws can differ and the FPLA sometimes delegates regulatory and enforcement responsibilities to the agencies who oversee individual industries instead. For example, the Food and Drug Administration regulates packaging and labeling in the food & beverage, cosmetics, medical devices, and pharmaceuticals sectors.

Food and Drugs as a Case Study

Taking the food & beverage sector as an example, put simply, the packaging must contain what the label says it does. If the FDA has reason to believe packaging is inaccurate, that it falsely claims the product inside is 100% fruit juice for example, imports can be detained without physical examination. The product effectively gets prevented from being distributed (and sold).

When a manufacturer is the guilty party, the FDA may issue a warning. In the event the manufacturer does not comply and correct the issue, the FDA takes additional legal action to ensure the product gets removed from market, without it being permitted to return until the issue has been corrected. Criminal fines and even prosecution may result depending on the infraction.

Fines up to $500,000 for misdemeanors that result in death can be doled out. A misdemeanor, which would not require proven intent, can also result in up to one year in prison. A felony, which implies intent or a subsequent violation after the first, can lead to a maximum of three years instead.

In the case of the pharmaceutical industry, which is also under the purview of the FDA and whose customers depend on packaging for accurate dosage information, it’s easy to see why penalties need to be especially severe. A single misplaced period can have huge negative ramifications.

Performing Labeling and Packaging Inspections

A packaging or label error doesn’t have to be fraudulent to be costly. In fact, a great deal of mistakes are simply caused by human error. Market research indicates that 60% of product recalls are caused by workers. And it’s easy to see why. Typos can easily be created and then missed due to proofing fatigue during the artwork-creation and printing processes.

It only reinforces the need for failsafes, like a digital inspection platform, to improve upon the efficiency of a company’s quality control. Performing labeling and packaging inspections at each stage of the workflow reduces the risk of a recall and the number of required revision cycles, so products get to market faster, without any errors.

Inspections are going to be performed anyway, including potentially by the governing body in question itself. It only makes sense that a company would want to put its best foot forward in preparation. Having previously integrated robust quality systems is one key to success in such an instance. Not having to correct an error after the fact is another key to success in general.

There is obviously a difference between fraudulent practices and innocent errors that simply do not get caught in time. Unfortunately, they can each have severe consequences. What separates them from one another is how, instead of actively trying to skirt regulations, companies can actively try to prevent mistakes. It just takes a conscious effort to improve upon internal processes.

The Ideal Quality Management System: Automate, Customize, Compare, and Report

Quality management systems come in many shapes and sizes. Each is largely dependent on the industry to which a given application caters. There are nevertheless basic standards that must be met across the board.

In the packaging design and printing industry, an effective platform like GlobalVision compares two documents against one another to detect differences and prevent errors on the final product. Meanwhile, in the manufacturing industry, a tool like InspectionXpert enables the easy ballooning and data entry of figures/ characteristics on CAD/ inspection drawings.

There’s obviously a huge difference between their respective functionalities. Despite the disparity in how tools like the above are used though, there is a concrete, consistent checklist of features companies in the market for a new platform should have.

Automated for Greater Efficiency

As technology develops more and more, automation only gains steam in the workplace regardless of the sector. As a result, companies are becoming more empowered to better allocate human resources where they’re most needed instead of having workers perform mundane tasks that can more efficiently be done through automation.

For example, Safety Culture operates as a leading provider of solutions for site inspections and safety audits. The company’s software automatically syncs gathered data between mobile devices and desktops to provide actionable analytics in real time, while updated inspection forms can be automatically shared with team members.

Of course, “automatically” implies without user input, but that’s not necessarily the case here, nor can it be when it comes to quality management. Inspections still must be conducted by actual personnel. Whatever the scenario, it’s only logical that something that gets detected as having gone awry must first get verified as needing to be fixed in person. It’s at that point that it actually is (fixed). Quality-management software can’t reasonably be expected to make the fixes… just indicate where fixes are required.

While GlobalVision bills itself as a digital proofreading application, in which technicians click to perform inspections and then go through the results themselves, there is a definite automated (instead of automatic) element. Instead of manually proofreading artwork files, leading companies in various industries trust the platform to eliminate the propensity for human error by comparing an already approved master to a sample, pixel by pixel (during a graphics inspection, for example). Proofing subsequently takes seconds instead of hours or days.

Similarly, a fair portion of the legwork in InspectionXpert is done by the individual in front of the keyboard. Nevertheless, the application automates several critical inspection planning processes: the identification and extraction of characteristics, the correlation of imported data to ballooned inspection drawings, and the application of relevant balloons to newer versions. The end result, as with GlobalVision? Fewer mistakes, just in a different context.

Customize to Personalize Preferences

The ability to mold a given application to fit your company’s internal processes can be a deal breaker when choosing a solution. It makes life easier on everyone contributing to the workflow when settings can be custom-configured once for perpetual use (and re-configured when necessary). It also adds to the overall user-friendliness of the application.

This can take the form of something as simple as customizable balloon numbering or custom project templates to save time when switching between clients with InspectionXpert. In much the same vein, GlobalVision’s Job Wizard lets companies and printers, in particular, run inspections more efficiently by selecting one of many different pre-set workflow configurations. The option to have the Job Wizard load upon start-up ensures no one tester deviates from the company’s accepted inspection conventions.

SafetyCulture meanwhile allows for custom checklist form to be created from scratch. Smart and dynamic fields can also be added to each form, thereby promoting inspections that are more thorough. This is of course all in addition to the basic options a user would expect to be able to alter based on personal preferences, which applies to each of the above systems too.

Compare to Improve Performance

Running comparisons almost goes hand in hand with quality management to the point that it arguably represents GlobalVision’s primary functionality. The ability to compare the artwork, text, Braille, and color in a master and sample (or check the barcodes and spelling in either a master or sample) is at its core why printers and internal quality assurance departments rely on the software in the first place. Without it, they would have to go back to manually proofing.

With InspectionXpert, it’s more of a complementary feature. If a revision of the drawing on which you’re working exists, instead of starting over you can overlay one on top of the other and compare them. From there, you can save a PDF of the two and then make any necessary adjustments.

Meanwhile, Safety Culture admittedly doesn’t really lend itself to the comparison of revisions as it’s not that type of system. However, the ability to track performance improvements, comparing current and previous inspection results, is in large part what make its generated reports so informative.

Generate Reports for Future Reference

It makes sense that, leading to more-thorough inspections, Safety Culture’s iAuditor reports are just as in-depth. As one would expect, they can be broken down by a wide variety of filters, making any required data incredibly accessible, just like the reports themselves. Reports can be set to be sent out instantly to multiple recipients through multiple delivery methods in multiple formats and then downloaded at any time off Safety Culture’s secure servers.

Reports are also a big InspectionXpert selling point, especially the ability to create those of the custom variety. Users can create reports in formats like AS9102 and Production Part Approval dimensional results, but aren’t limited to common templates. They can use Microsoft Excel and import specially designed ones tailored to individual customers.

GlobalVision reports, which are both saved in the application’s Audit Trail and can be shared as part of the approval/ rejection process, can also be customized. Testers/ technicians can fill in header information as required and opt to include different elements like thumbnails of the differences, the Master as a reference, and a signature field that can be manually signed. Electronic signatures are also a licensable option for enhanced data integrity, to further address the need to meet FDA 21 CFR Part 11 compliance on the part of quality-control professionals.

Overall, there are many factors to consider when searching for the right quality management application. It definitely must strike the right balance between user-friendliness and a comprehensive feature set, as there is usually some trade-off between the two. However, the required features undeniably vary from industry to industry. Meanwhile the overriding need to improve internal efficiency and performance metrics are universal. The abilities to automate, customize, compare, and document, together, make it possible.

Old-School Acetates Offer Up Only Inefficiency for Proofreaders

The idea of transparent, acetate overlays probably takes you back to college. The clear plastic sheets, on which notes could be scribbled and then displayed at the front of the class using an overhead projector, were godsends to professors thanks to their time-saving simplicity… even if that simplicity left something to be desired from a technological standpoint.

Issues with Acetates

In the printing industry, in the present, it’s a similar situation. Acetates’ speed advantage has somewhat withstood the test of time, at least with regard to manual proofreading. Unfortunately, their overall ineffectiveness has forced the tool to fall by the wayside. In their place, automated systems and digital proofreading platforms have been adopted into the mainstream, highlighting the clear-cut advantages they share over acetates in the process.

During their heyday, acetates mostly originated from printers, who supplied them to clients. The purpose behind them was straight-forward: to check for inaccuracies once a shipment had come in. And, in principle, using them was easy. As the overlay comprised a to-scale print of each insert/ packaging component, all you had to do was place it on top of one to find inconsistencies

Easier said than done though, it turns out. A lot of complications could creep in, compromising the integrity of the proofreading process. For example, while overlaying an acetate hypothetically draws immediate attention to (unintended) inserted characters or defects on a sample underneath, the same isn’t true for characters or portions of characters that are missing.

Of Acetates and Automation

After all, the acetate, which is assumed to be 100% accurate based on the file the customer had already approved, would be physically covering up any characters that should be there but accidentally got removed at some point in the file-preparation process. That leads to another issue, namely when the acetate itself gets printed.

Generally speaking, the acetate is only created by the printer after the file has been converted into a TIFF file to make the printing plates. During the conversion process, errors can be introduced into the file. As the file gets prepared, trapping/ color separations/ barcodes get added, meaning the customer is taking a chance they are overlaying a bad acetate on top of a bad final print. Considering the potential ramifications of a typo, that might be too large a risk.

Ultimately, there are too many uncertainties surrounding the acetate to use it as a substitute for the master file to compare to a sample. The proofreading method admittedly has it benefits, namely its speed. However, if the goal is to compare samples to what has been approved internally, digital proofing systems can accomplish that same task… faster too.

Out with the Old, in with the Digital

Digital files can be loaded in (or hard copies scanned in) and then compared to one another, in a matter of seconds or minutes. That’s compared to hours and days when inspecting shipments from the printer. Ironically, it’s a similar process, as one file gets digitally overlaid on top of the other and the two get inspected pixel by pixel for differences.

Both ways are arguably better than manually going over a master and a sample by eye, character by character. However, there’s simply no comparison between a digital inspection system and acetate overlays.

For print suppliers, printing an acetate is one more expensive step at which errors can be introduced. More materials, labor, and oversight are required to print the acetates in the first place. They also have to be stored in case of a reprint, which can be wasteful, especially compared to the size a digital file takes up.

It all translates to higher costs passed on to the client, who have to first proofread the acetate to ensure its accuracy before even starting to proof samples. Doing so using an acetate means devoting more resources than you otherwise would because you’re actually proofing at a slower pace relative to how you would with a digital system.

It turns out, sometimes the technologically advanced solution is the simplest one instead.

Cartoon of the quality management system for ISO regulation

Quality Management System Definition

A quality management system (QMS) is a term that refers to a system in charge of documenting all processes, responsibilities, and procedures for achieving quality objectives and policies. A QMS allows companies to direct and coordinate their operations to meet both regulatory and customer requirements while also improving its efficiency and effectiveness on a regular basis.

ISO 9001:2015 is the international standard that specifies all the requirements needed to implement a quality management system. In fact, most people use the term QMS as a synonym for the ISO 9001 family even though the latter is only a document that describes the former.

But why is it so important to implement a QMS, you might wonder? Quality management systems actually serve plenty of purposes, including:

  • Engaging staff.
  • Lowering costs.
  • Reducing wasted materials.
  • Setting company-wide direction.
  • Identifying and facilitating training opportunities.
  • Improving processes.

Benefits of Quality Management Systems

What are the advantages of using a Quality Management System?

Once implemented, quality management systems have the power to affect all aspects of your company’s performance. However, the design and implementation of a QMS will bring you two overarching benefits:

  1. Meeting the organization’s requirements, which ensures that your company complies with industry regulations and provisions of services and products in the most cost-effective way. In the end, this will create room for growth, expansion, and profit.
  2. Meeting customer’s needs, which will help to build trust in your company, in turn engaging even more customers, sales, and profits.

Other advantages include preventing errors, reducing costs, helping to communicate a willingness to produce consistent results, improving your company’s offerings, and ensuring all processes are completely controlled and defined.



Quality Management Standards

As we previously mentioned, the ISO 9001:2015 standard describes all the requirements that a company must meet to implement their own quality management system. By far ISO 9001:2015 is the most implemented and recognized QMS standard on the planet that counts for complete international acceptance.

However, there are plenty of other QMS standards available, such as the ISO 14000 family that deals with environmental management systems, the rest of the ISO 9000 family (including both ISO 9004 and ISO 9000), ISO/TS 16949 for QMS intended for automotive-related products, ISO 13485 for medical devices, and ISO 19011 for auditing management systems.

Requirements to Implement a QMS

All quality management systems must address a company’s unique set of needs; however, we can name a few general elements that all QMS have in common, such as:

  • The creation of a quality manual.
  • The existence of quality objectives and policies.
  • A set of procedures, records, and instructions about all internal processes, data management, quality analysis, improvement opportunities, and customer satisfaction.

Each aspect of a QMS is intended to serve a specific purpose that in the end will help to achieve the final goal: meeting both the organization’s and customer’s needs.

How to Implement a Quality Management System

Before establishing a QMS, you must consider several elements. To begin, make sure that your decision to implement a quality management system is a strategic choice only influenced by your needs, objectives, services, and products provided. Now that you’re clear about what to do, here are the basic steps to implement a QMS:

  • Design and Build: They deal with the structure of the QMS, along with the plan for implementation and all its processes.
  • Deploy: In this stage, you’ll need to break each process into multiple sub processes. It also includes staff education and documentation, training tools, and metrics.
  • Control and Measure: These stages are accomplished by systematic, routine audits of your QMS.
  • Review and Improve: In this stage, you’ll deal with the results of the audits. The goal is to determine the efficiency and effectiveness of all your processes regarding your objectives.


A product’s quality can be measured in terms of durability, reliability, and performance. Quality is a crucial element that differentiates your company from its competitors. By implementing proper quality management systems, you are ensuring that all necessary changes in your processes are implemented, which eventually leads to superior quality products and, in the end, bigger profits.

Maintaining Data Integrity with GlobalVision Software

Read our whitepaper on how GlobalVision complies with data integrity requirements, such as:
electronic signatures, different access levels and security, and audit trail with full traceability.

Related articles:

What is data integrity? 

Automated Quality Control

Quality inspection system

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.