When a company develops a number of new product packaging that is subject to review by many company departments, partners, retailers—and regulatory agencies—it needs a very good production and collaboration system to keep track of everything. That’s just what ISDIN found with DALIM ES6.
ISDIN is an international laboratory specializing in innovative solutions for major dermatological needs and pathologies. ISDIN provides a complete range of dermatological solutions with the highest quality standards. Their constant innovation and research serves a common objective: development of products at the forefront of dermatology, advanced formulas and new textures.
The company was founded in Barcelona in 1975 as a joint venture between the international business groups Puig and Esteve—leaders in the cosmetic, perfume and pharmaceutical industries. While ISDIN is a major company in the Spanish dermatological market, it also operates fourteen subsidiaries, in China, USA, Spain, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, France, Belgium, Peru and Colombia, and employs more than 900 people worldwide.
The last time we visited ISDIN, they had just begun implementing DALIM ES. They needed a streamlined tracking system to understand where each piece of every art project was—for example, on whose desk a project was pending approval. Now, two years later, they have moved to the latest DALIM ES6 release and have built a complete review and production system that oversees all of their packaging.
In fact, the packaging of ISDIN’s new product, Isdinceutics Hyaluronic Concentrate, was created with the help of DALIM ES6. They wanted to keep a very premium design, along with white and gold colors in the design to show the freshness of the product. It was launched in Spain at the end of last year.
“Technologically, DALIM ES6 has been very useful during the pandemic. I do not know how we could have done everything with artwork approvals via email. While you are never going to substitute in-person brainstorming sessions, several DALIM ES6 features help us on the more rigid processes of design approval and feedback from a regulatory and marketing perspectives,” comments Mario Garcia, Packaging Innovation Manager. “It helps people comment and provide online feedback to others, which makes the process very agile. However, I should add that it still helps to pick up the phone at times!”
Sergio Sainero, responsible for packaging development at ISDIN adds, “My team and I are working with DALIM ES6 every day. It is really amazing. Because of DALIM ES, there has been a big difference from two years ago, when we checked email for every approval. Now, we collaboratively work together on the same piece of material. We can track everything, Work is faster and faster, and launch lead times have become shorter. We may have as many as 13-14 artwork revisions, and we need to track everything. With DALIM ES, we know exactly where the artwork is pending with someone. During the evolution of the artwork, when something is changed, we can track back everything. When there are a lot of changes, sometimes you can lose who made them.”
ISDIN has an innovation committee to assure that the concepts they develop will appeal to their consumers correctly. This includes not only the concept and the product, but the packaging and the product name itself, where there might be challenges. “This is why we use DALIM ES in production. It is how we store information. It’s really helpful to have everything tracked—to have a repository of all our work, and store all of the information and approvals. Those with permissions can check and see what happened, and the steps we took for certain products. At the end you have a product, and all the relevant information is there,” confirms Garcia.
Anyone who works with pharmaceuticals and cosmetics knows that the reporting requirements are much more stringent than many consumer products. Because there are so many health-related issues associated with them, it is important—and mandatory—that all reviews and approvals are traced. Any official must be able to identify, at any time for any packaging content, the who, what, when, where, and why of any decision. These companies must all comply to regulatory constraints, such as the FDA 21 CFR part 11 in the US. DALIM ES is able to help companies comply with all of these requirements.
“The consumers and pharmacies are always stakeholders in any new project we get involved with,” continues Garcia. “We show new products to a selected group of pharmacies and doctors. They review the formula and design, and offer feedback. Our packaging supplier is also a partner. In the future we want to integrate our DALIM ES with even more of our supply chain partners. They help Sergio, as a designer, to get to the real product. For example, the gold in our Isdinceutics Hyaluronic Concentrate package design might not have been compatible with the packaging. In this case, our supplier was knowledgeable. Following their feedback, we show the concept to the consumers. The final PDF file is created by DALIM ES6, delivered to the printer, and then returned to us for a final proof. The last step is sending the artwork to our partners and printers for approval.”
In the end, ISDIN is still a pharmaceutical company. Selling to pharmacies is not the same as normal stores. There is a lot of regulation that ISDIN must comply with. DALIM ES helps them follow and keep approvals. All this information is tagged in their artwork as metadata. So, when a product and its packaging is produced and in the warehouse, and they want to send it to the US, ISDIN wants to be sure that all the requirements and approvals are there. They want to make sure it has been reviewed by regular business partners and the FDA (for example, in the US), if needed. At the moment ISDIN still does most of this via email, but when they ship the product, they want to automatically integrate all of this information into their ERP system. That will help them be more efficient and lead to fewer errors. They are working very hard to make that happen.
“We create the design work, create files, and make a prototype internally with our marketing people,” explains Sainero. “For example, with Isdinceutics Hyaluronic Concentrate, we fine-tuned the design and placed our gold touches in the right place. Every early design detail is shown in 3D–in the concept phase. ISDIN was doing this via email, but now, as this part continues to grow, we are integrating DALIM ES6 to achieve the communication and exchange of ideas that we need with people. We are now going to introduce all these renders into the system so people can say something in the early stages. “We used to do this via email, but our last two projects, including this one, incorporate DALIM ES6.”
At the moment, ISDIN finds that the best process is to keep each project’s materials within the DALIM ES6 digital asset management system during production. They include all artwork and supplier approvals—and, of course, metadata. When they need to use any of this content, it needs to be in the right place. “If something is not in DALIM ES6, we consider that it does not exist. This assures that, for any project, the content in DALIM ES is the unique and single source of truth,” asserts Sainero. “Once a project is complete, we store all the work in a different repository.”
Close to all of ISDIN’s 300 people in company headquarters are involved in the process, one way or another. Most of those connected to DALIM ES6 have an important need—although they have different roles. Packaging development—the department where Sergio works—develops the artwork. Along with corporate marketing, local marketing groups make sure the product is appropriate for their geographic areas. The regulatory department makes sure that all printed text on the packaging is correct. During the process, quality control and quality assurance groups are also involved in the review cycles. ISDIN estimates that they have reduced 25% of the time spent in review/approval processing, and a total of 200 hours of email processing saved over the past year. Meanwhile, the number of errors have been reduced when sending proofs to the suppliers due to the collaborative environment approval workflow.
“Until DALIM ES, all communications were done via email. Now, one and a half years later, we do not send emails at all. We have progressed quickly to DALIM ES technology. Those in our company who are addicted to DALIM ES wonder how we ever got along without it,” exclaims Sainero.
“In the future, we intend to connect DALIM ES6 to our ERP system. That will offer us even more automation and accelerate the process,” says Garcia. “We are also opening the scope of DALIM ES6 to include promotional materials and design work for our POS products. There is still a lot to do.”