Consistency is key, they say. That saying applies to everything under the sun, from learning the piano through consistent practice to learning how to ride a bike and even mastering the strategic game of chess. And in print marketing, consistency is entirely vital. So, that’s where GMI certification comes into play.
And GMI certification is one of the ways the printing industry standardizes and qualifies the various printing companies. Quality control in printing is a crucial element, as many print jobs are so large in volume that a single error or misprint can cost companies significant money.
Understanding GMI Certification
Many printing professionals already know that GMI stands for Graphic Measure International, which developed industry-wide standards. So, in other words, GMI is a standardized system that brands use to evaluate and assess the quality of a printing job.
The GMI process was developed from the standards included in ISO 12647, which dictates industry best standards for optimizing efficiency and other processes in printing businesses. As a derivative of the ISO standards, the GMI certification comes with respect and authority as ISO’s industry-accepted standards.
Scoring a printing job through GMI assigns point values to various levels of flaws found throughout the print job.
- 0 – No flaws found
- 1-2 – Minor flaws found
- 3 – impactful flaw – automatic fail
Today, the GMI Certification has been integrated into a program with SGS. And the concept remains the same, but the certification is even better than before and provides a great service to both manufacturers and print service providers. The certification and process cover the entire journey from establishing a color standard to the printing process and onto the shelves.
The Certification Process
There is a distinct difference between scoring a printing job with GMI and achieving GMI certification as a printing vendor.
For the vendor, the GMI certification process is relatively simple and pain-free. There are three phases that a printing vendor must go through to become GMI certified.
The self-evaluation includes conducting an internal audit. Guided by an online GMI tool, a vendor can determine whether they meet the minimum equipment qualifications and other criteria. Vendors receive an invoice for certification once they’ve achieved the prerequisites. Therefore, after payment is received, GMI sends the vendor the test print test kit.
The actual print test kit evaluates vendors on a spectrum of qualities. That includes the vendor’s ability to deliver print quality that is up to the established standard. The GMI test kit evaluates the vendor’s capacity and ability to deliver on exact specifications.
Maintaining GMI Certification
Once an organization achieves GMI certification, the journey isn’t over. There is a lot of work to be done in terms of maintaining standards and printing quality. It is also the responsibility of printing vendors to attend to the quality of their print jobs and ensure that they deliver premium work to every client.
Additionally, there are three levels of GMI certification. The tiers exist to acknowledge printers, which boast a flawless record, and simultaneously identify where other printers need to be more attentive.
Platinum: Elite printers with a historic consistency score of no less than 90%.
Gold & Silver: Printers in good standing with a historic consistency score between 80%-89%.
Bronze: Printers with a performance history under review (under 79%).
With more and more vendors expected to print packaging and manufacture the product, GMI certifications are gaining popularity. The GMI certification, a derivative from the ISO standards related to the printing industry, brings with them a sense of authority and trust that business partners, and consumers alike, can trust.
However, not just any printer can apply for the GMI/SGS program. So, if a company wants to create a product to go into a certain retail store or stores, they need to determine the print service provider they want to use. If that printer is not certified, there needs to be a referral to GMI/SGS. The brand can usually accomplish this. The retailer may also be able to make the referral to begin the certification process.