H Specification

Specification management, supply-chain challenges and the value of a specification-first approach

Feb. 3, 2023
"Specifications help companies create a single source-of-truth and help increase overall data-visibility to quickly respond to changing trends."

By Matthew Wright, founder and CEO, Specright

The need to address supply-chain challenges such as inflation, evolving sustainability regulations and worker shortages continues to be top-of-mind for many companies in 2023. Specright kicked off the new year by hosting our annual Specification Management Summit in Nashville, Tennessee, bringing together a diverse group of industry leaders, technology innovators and business strategists to discuss issues that are impacting the supply chain.

Here find takeaways from that event, along with insights into how a specification-first approach can help companies navigate ongoing economic challenges and build a more resilient supply chain.

Data & sustainability

Data and sustainability were the two most talked about topics at this year’s Spec Summit. All speakers agreed that there needs to be a better way to manage data in today’s world and that the importance of sustainability is continuing to grow year-over-year. A key takeaway is that companies must take action on sustainability through better data reporting and analysis sooner than later due to increasing legislation.

The process of tackling sustainability doesn’t have to be complex; it simply starts with understanding your products and packaging at the DNA level of data (specification data). When companies have this deep understanding of their data, it makes sustainability reporting and optimizations that much easier.

Another takeaway is the role of specifications in driving overall innovation. Specifications help companies create a single source-of-truth and help increase overall data-visibility to quickly respond to changing trends in the industry.

Lastly, speakers addressed the growing need for supply-chain resilience and how technology will be a huge part of helping build that resiliency. The future must include a supply chain where all companies work together through one digitized dataset for specifications to deliver successful business outcomes across the board.

Addressing supply-chain problems

Over the last four years, the supply chain has faced countless challenges and roadblocks due to economic disruptions, new and evolving regulations and shifting consumer demands. Challenges include the loss of institutional knowledge across industries due to various workforce challenges, dealing with a potential recession, and equipping the workforce with the right technology to help them do their jobs.

It’s important that companies stay focused on their business strategies, utilize data where they can to help drive decision-making, and implement the right digital tools and technology to empower teams to be successful. 

Next!

The next generation is going to have an incredible impact, especially when it comes to digital transformation for enterprises. Startups are a key component in helping amplify the value larger companies bring to the world.

A spec-first approach is helping these companies accelerate product development and report more confidently on sustainability. Further, the next generation entering today’s workforce are also vital to the future of packaging and the supply chain.

Academia has always been an important pillar to Specright, and we’re excited to partner with academic institutions like the Michigan State University School of Packaging to help bring nearly 2,000 students a year a curriculum that is focused on learning a spec-first approach to help prepare the next-generation workforce for career success in the packaging and supply-chain industry immediately upon graduation. 

Everything starts with a spec

At the end of the day, companies are responsible for their products, so it’s critical they get control of their data now. One of the biggest problems with sustainability is that every company is doing it their own way because no single standard exists. While it might take a few years for a single standard to emerge, companies can act on their data now and make decisions that help make products right every time while reducing the amount of allowable waste.

Everything starts with a spec, so having specification data readily available is how companies can help meet sustainability goals and do their part in building supply-chain resiliency.