workflow-coaching-stopwatch-hand (3)

Challenge

Turnaround Time

Turnaround time is a critical KPI for eCommerce content studios. It refers to the time it takes to produce assets (like photos, video, and copy) from the moment a sample arrives at the studio until the requested assets are delivered.

Common Challenges

What's the problem (and our solution)?

Productions are becoming more and more complex
With each new content type, requirement, rule, or exception, the complexity of your production escalates. Often, this complexity reaches a level that surpasses what can be managed by human capability alone.
Our solution: Let software handle the complexities for you
Leverage the power of best-practice production logic with our platform. Our automated workflows and digital style guides are designed to cut through complexity, enabling your team to excel in challenging areas such as color accuracy. Every production requirement, rule, and exception is integrated directly into your workflow, allowing you and your team to concentrate on crafting the best assets possible. Leave the intricacies to Creative Force – we've got the rest covered.
Human error
A major cause of long turnaround times is human error, such as misplaced files, incomplete sets, and incorrect file names. Identifying and correcting these errors is time-consuming and costly.
Our solution: Workflow automation
Repetitive and error-prone tasks such as file naming and handling are fully automated, streamlining your workflow. We've implemented robust countermeasures for tasks that still require a human touch. These include color references, check-in/check-out alerts, automated quality control, and reference image alerts, all designed to make sure your team gets it right the first time.
Batch production results in bottlenecks
Batch production can be a temporary solution to manage rising complexity. However, it generally fails to function as intended, struggles to handle exceptions, and often creates its own bottlenecks.
Our solution: Flow production
Creative Force champions the concept of flow production. This approach allows us to streamline parallel processes across production, with tasks being executed independently and assets delivered separately. This approach ensures that even if there are issues with individual tasks, they do not impede the overall production flow. As a result, we can significantly reduce your overall turnaround time.
Limited access to assets and information
Having the right information is crucial for your teams to perform their jobs effectively, whether they are internal or external. However, the process of requesting, receiving, finding, and sorting through that information can be time-consuming and prone to errors and miscommunication.
Our solution: The information you need, when you need it
Creative Force gives team members exactly the information they need, when and where they need it. For retouchers, an integrated Photoshop panel provides color references and image requirements. Photographers and digitechs see required style guide positions and reference images for each product sample they scan on set. Stylists get pop-up alerts if a specific sample has associated styling notes. And in QC reference images are available as overlays, so it's easy to maintain consistency. These are just examples – this approach to information-sharing is found throughout Creative Force.
Rigid processes break easily
When your production process requires eg. your Art Director to be available on set in order to approve or comment on production assets before a task can be completed, what happens if they're traveling, in charge of multiple sets, or something as simple as stuck in traffic?
Our solution: Workforce flexibility
With a cloud-based workflow platform, including access to all the latest data, information, and production assets in real-time and from anywhere, you get workforce flexibility. Your AD can now run multiple sets, anywhere in the world, simultaneously, so production is not held back if they can't be on set at a specific time.
The lack of insights makes it hard to improve
Limited tracking makes it difficult to follow production progress and identify problem areas, forcing you to rely on gut feeling or incomplete data when attempting to optimize studio processes. Or perhaps even worse, you get a false sense that everything is running as it should, not seizing on the opportunity to drastically increase efficiency and lower turnaround time.
Our solution: Track everything automatically
Everything – events, progress, samples, vendor and team member efficiency – is tracked automatically throughout production, giving you not only quick overviews but also complete audit trails. All this data can be customized according to business needs and exported or accessed in the form of dynamic reports. When you know exactly how each element of your production is performing, you can make focused, continuous improvements.

A closer look

Automation in Creative Force

Workflows

Workflows, one of the foundational settings in Creative Force, outline particular flows, or defined paths, that your samples and product records follow during asset creation. With a defined workflow and software to manage it, you can take full advantage of the automation Creative Force offers.

Every studio has some type of workflow, but whether it is clearly defined and documented is another matter. A Creative Force workflow transforms a sometimes abstract idea into a clearly defined path that fully leverages customizations and automation.

In the Creative Force platform, the workflow guides the process that your samples and assets follow, outlining things such as production type and how images are selected (and by whom), post-production processes, and how final assets will be delivered. You can set up as many workflows as you need and have them work along with the style guide to automatically assign product records to the appropriate workflow.

Combined with a style guide, a broad workflow captures many different types of products, while a specific workflow contains particular products, brands, or clients. And creating new workflows or updating existing ones is simple and accessible. In Creative Force, you have complete control to set workflows exactly how you need and to refine them as your studio evolves.

Digital Style Guides

In creative production, there are a lot of decisions to be made, from which images to shoot to what they should look like. In many studios, once these decisions are made, they are documented for future reference in the form of a style guide and available to review for on-set teams who may need guidance. 

But what if your style guide was more than a static document? What if your style guide was a driving part of a larger production system and used to trigger workflows, provide reference information, and name your final assets without any manual input required?

That’s style guides in Creative Force. They work together with workflows to guide production throughout the process, from the time a job is loaded in the system until final asset delivery.

At a high level, the style guide in Creative Force contains information that most style guides at any studio do. It shows you how many images you need and gives references to show you what they should look like. But it goes a bit deeper than that. In Creative Force, the style guide impacts the entire production process – it determines how many images to look for and whether or not to allow additional optional images, and it stores information relevant to photography and retouching teams.

The platform makes that information available with just a click and provides it in context – joined to appropriate files for the specific product your team is working with, and within the proper platform where you can make pertinent edits.

These settings affect how your teams interact with the integrated image capture panel for Capture One or Lightroom (using the Creative Force app Kelvin) by providing places for your photographers to drop necessary images, and the integrated Photoshop panel (using the Creative Force app Hue) by feeding important retouching notes and guidelines to post-production teams.

When it comes time to produce final assets, the style guide contains naming conventions and automatically titles approved images in accordance with customizable naming requirements.

Establish as many style guides as needed, and make them as broad or specific as desired. Because Creative Force is a powerfully automated multi-client platform with style guides created at the client level, there’s no limit to the level of detail and nuance that can be achieved.

Feature Focus

Automated File Handling

By setting up detailed, conditional workflows before production even begins, you can automate the time-consuming, error-prone tasks that drastically affect your overall turnaround time. In Creative Force, one such workflow automation is file handling.

See how files are automatically routed to the right team members, at the right times, to keep production flowing.

Watch video

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Creative Force, and how does it work?

Creative Force is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that helps brands and retailers accelerate their eCommerce creative content production. It simplifies the process of planning and producing eCommerce content, improves cross-team collaboration, and ensures more transparency across every stage of production. With Creative Force, companies always deliver the highest-quality content on time and on budget.

Built on “flow production” principles, our platform utilizes intelligent automation to streamline workflows, resulting in consistent and repeatable processes. Creative Force also integrates seamlessly with existing systems, like Capture One and Adobe Creative Cloud, and features an intuitive interface.

How does flow production work?

In traditional batch production, all assets go through a single production stage before moving to the next step. This approach can lead to bottlenecks and delays. 

Creative Force simplifies content production through a continuous process called "flow production." This process involves moving individual assets through various production stages as soon as they are ready, resulting in an efficient and scalable content production workflow.

Who can use Creative Force?

Creative Force is for brands, retailers, and commercial studios with in-house or external teams that produce and manage eCommerce content, such as photography, video, and copywriting.

Creative Force provides intelligent workflow automation, enhanced production visibility, and a range of collaboration tools that benefit all teams, including studio intake, styling, capture, post-production, marketing, and more. By choosing Creative Force, you can scale your content production, gain better operational visibility, and speed up time-to-market.

Does Creative Force integrate with my existing systems?

Yes, Creative Force is designed to seamlessly integrate with your existing tech stack. We have industry-leading integrations with Capture One, Adobe Creative Cloud, and more.

The platform’s API-first architecture enables our customers to seamlessly connect with Digital Asset Management (DAM) systems, Product Information Management (PIM) systems, cloud storage platforms, and any other required destinations. 

Creative Force also makes it simple to work with external post-production vendors via FTP or API integrations.

Finally, our VPI Management extension makes it simple to work with product vendors to request, receive, and manage vendor-provided images (VPI).

What kind of support can I expect?

We understand that implementing a new system can be challenging, but our team is here to make the process as seamless and stress-free as possible. Our onboarding team will work closely with your team to set up Creative Force and empower your future success.

After onboarding, your Customer Success Manager will check in regularly. Our customer support team is also available 24/7 to help you with any product questions or concerns. In addition, we offer self-paced learning resources such as academy courses, support center documentation, and other materials to help you along your Creative Force journey.

On top of best-in-class customer support, we continuously update our platform with new features and improvements. Our biweekly releases can be easily installed without interrupting your work.