CPGs are Driving Packaging Production Operations

Stay in Front of Them and Your Competition by Following the GWG’s Packaging Recommendations

You may know that the Ghent Workgroup, or GWG, is a non-profit group of well-known experts who develop best practices and specifications for graphic arts workflows. More recently, the group broadened its work to include metadata specifications, workflow test suites and increased support for market segments including packaging.

Says Chairman of the GWG David Zwang, in a summary of his two- part article, Transforming and Automating Workflows: Packaging Workflow Standards and Futures, appearing in the October 27 and November 24 issues of WhatTheyThink:

“There have been many new digital label and packaging presses released recently, and there are more to coming in the near future. However, these new digital presses will never reach optimal production levels or support and drive the new market requirements, without new standards and workflows. The GWG (Ghent Workgroup) has been diligently working to support this need.”

Like everything else, the GWG brought in the best for packaging: Steve Carter, Senior VP Technology at Phototype, and Lieven Plettinck, Director of Software Development, Esko, are the Co-Chairs of the Packaging Committee, which is comprised of 30+ vendors, academics, package printers, and many others who work in, and understand, packaging technology and workflows.

It’s a good thing we got started early, because the recently released Emerging Technologies for Packaging Innovation study, published by the Graphic Communication Institute at Cal Poly today, says that “71 percent of CPGs … actively seek converters/printers with emerging printing capabilities, such as digital printing.” (For more on the study, read Zwang’s Transforming and Automating Workflows articles, mentioned above.)

But what does this mean for you, and why should you listen to us?


QUESTION: Why Should I Follow the GWG’s Packaging Recommendations?

ANSWER: Because People Who Work in the Field, Day after Day, and for the Most Demanding Customers, Work Together to Develop the Recommendations.


QUESTION: Who Are These People?

ANSWER: They are Experts in the Field. Meet the Chairman and Packaging Co-chairs here (We think you will find their qualifications quite impressive).


QUESTION: What is on the Agenda and Will it Benefit My Operation?

ANSWER: There are a Number of Exciting Projects in Progress, Including the Imminent Approval of a GWG Specification to Become an ISO Standard. Those Who Use the Standard Can Shorten Time to Market and Reduce Costs.

In October 2013, at the TC130 meeting in Berlin, the Ghent Workgroup’s Processing Steps project was accepted as a working item (ISO/PW 19593). The Processing Steps project began life as a GWG specification, and after continued development by the GWG, the ISO is expected to approve it as a standard.

There will be several benefits of this standard, mainly involving

  • interoperability among different user sites, companies, and workflow systems from multiple vendors;
  • error reduction, because standardization creates predictability and consistency
  • automation, because standardization allows automation of systems and processes to interpret and process files, thereby reducing human touch points within a workflow, which increases productivity and lowers costs.


New press release  – Steven Carter to present “PDFs for Packaging” session at PIA’s Color Conference 2014


All material created by the GWG is disseminated free of charge through the website of the GWG ( and through the vendors and user associations partaking in the work of the group.