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Managing SKU Proliferation

An online ordering, proofing, and graphics asset management system helps streamline label development and production processes.

January 2013
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Specializing in servicing the luxury hotel and resort market, Gilchrist & Soames®—based in Indianapolis, Ind. and Peterborough, England—provides cosmetic-grade toiletry collections to world-class hotels, resorts, cruise lines, spas, inns, and bed and breakfasts. Offering a large array of products, including shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, shower gel, dental rinse, bath salts, bar soaps, and necessities, Gilchrist & Soames has thousands of product SKUs to manage—from a design, development, formulation, manufacturing, quality assurance, and distribution standpoint.

Gilchrist & Soames not only supplies its own branded guest amenities, it also offers exclusively designed custom collections that support and enhance the brand positioning of individual properties.

"One of the biggest challenges we face as a company is the ability to manage the art files for the thousands of different SKUs," said Christina Mavity, director, quality assurance and technical services for Gilchrist & Soames. "We were looking for a way to keep track of the most current art revisions, without having to maintain a big book of artwork per project.

"We're held to strict cosmetic regulations, including the accurate listing of ingredients per product," she continued. "It's vital that in our incoming inspection/quality control process, we are verifying the product to the latest artwork with the correct ingredient listing. In the past, we've encountered situations where we'd receive labels with the wrong ingredient listings and had to pay for a rush order to correct the labels, causing us to spend more time and money."

With the multitude of SKUs comes different product weights, measurements, ingredients, material types, and graphics. Looking for an easier way to streamline and simplify the label development and production process, Gilchrist & Soames turned to WS Packaging Group and its WebFlex™ online ordering, proofing, and graphics asset management system.

Gilchrist & Soames has partnered with WS Packaging since 2005 to develop and print the labels for the majority of its personal care product lines. Since that time, Gilchrist & Soames has used the WebFlex management system, and the impact has been significant.

"In many cases, large companies, like Gilchrist & Soames, don't have an established system in place for graphics asset management," said Chris Doerr, executive director of national sales, WS Packaging. "I've worked with a range of companies whose art files reside with one individual, which can be very risky. With WebFlex, all art files are stored in a single, centralized electronic profile. It's a secure site, password protected, with limited access, which provides a great level of security.

 

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