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Smartflow reduces Habitat’s design to print costs

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Press release from the issuing company

Habitat UK Ltd has announced that it has purchased Smartflow from Gap Systems Ltd to manage their packaging artwork process. The Habitat group (www.habitat.co.uk) headquartered in the UK, is an international retailer of uniquely designed, high quality and affordable home furnishing products with 73 stores across Europe, as well as distribution to a further 14 markets over the world.

Why Smartflow?
Habitat UK Ltd Design Studio Manager, Joanna Rowbotham, had a requirement to improve the overall efficiency of their packaging artwork process, by reducing costs associated with artwork lead times, artwork approvals and product recalls due to errors in artwork.

Habitat’s internal artwork team create and manage over 2,000 artworks annually and each artwork has to be approved by a variety of departments checking for: brand consistency, legal statements, warning symbols and content errors. Prior to implementing Smartflow, the artwork process was managed by attaching PDF’s to emails and tracking them with spreadsheets. The old approval process impacted users by consuming valuable time away from their core job functions while they became involved with artwork related issues.

Habitat initially researched the market for an online proofing solution, but soon realised that greater benefits would be delivered from an automated design to print workflow tool which could be easily accessible by people with varying computer skills.

Packaging Manager Dean Radley explained that a key deciding factor in favour of Smartflow was its ability to handle artwork range approvals. Range approval enables a user to automatically mark up a  correction (such as a telephone number error) and apply it to all the artworks in that range but at the same time still treat each artwork item individually and track it in a single project. Habitat considers that this unique functionality delivers significant cost savings to any business that needs to manage artwork approvals in this way.

Ease of use was another compelling reason to go with Smartflow and consequently the roll out was both quick & cost effective. In addition, no special IT skills are required to configure Smartflow so authorised users can set up: projects, metadata, user functionality, reporting and workflows. Artworker Joel Winer, commented: “This approach has enabled the artwork team who understand the design to print process best, to take control of the management of Smartflow”.

Fast Implementation
Because Smartflow is deployed as a fully managed SaaS (software as a service), it was up and running in days and consequently had very little impact on Habitat’s IT department resources. Furthermore the SaaS monthly payment schedule offers a quicker return on investment and lower cost of ownership over a direct capital purchases requiring internal support from the IT department.

Gap Systems marketing director Andrew Garnham commented: “In these difficult times, businesses need to help existing staff become more productive, so any company attaching PDF artworks to emails for approval and then tracking them with spreadsheets is wasting valuable time and money”.

Gap Systems Limited delivers its Smartflow solutions to retailers, food manufacturers, consumer goods companies, brand owners, graphics agencies, printers and pharmaceutical companies, in order to reduce costs across the graphics supply chain. For more information about Gap Systems and Smartflow, contact: info@gapsystems.net at www.gapsystems.net or visit the product review at www.gapsystems.net/online-demo.htm




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