We live in an era when companies across the globe are aggressively moving forward to digitize their supply chains.
It’s not a choice – it’s a necessity.
Spreadsheets and other such legacy systems are obsolete. The growing complexity of supply chain management and logistics has made traditional methods of managing and data sharing outmoded and unsustainable.
The solution is specification management software. Let’s talk about that.
Specification Management Defined
The nature of managing supply chains today requires more transparency than ever in the process. Better tools are needed for executing informed decisions that manage risk. That’s just two examples.
From these needs (and others) there arose software applications that can handle and manage what industry professionals called “specification data.” Specification software emerged to answer the call for urgently needed new ways to manage logistics and supply chains.
This includes an array of functions, such as procurement, buying and selling products and collaborating with external suppliers. It’s all geared toward producing products, packaging them and distributing them across markets and into the hands of the end users.
At this juncture, it is informative to say a little more about specification itself. Sometimes called “the smallest form of big data,” specifications are the technical instructions that handle the details of manufacturing a product.
A lot goes into that, such as procuring raw materials from suppliers, formulas, ingredients, packaging, the labels for those packages, the machinery and human labor that does the actual work and much more.
Indeed, the average person probably has no idea about the extraordinary number of “moving parts” and steps that make up the process of getting something on the shelf so it can be purchased.
This complex process is where specification software drives the workload, streamlines tasks, keeps all players informed and gets the job done efficiently.
Who Uses it the Most?
In a phrase, specification software is a tool for people who handle specs. Some examples are new product development teams, quality control workers, packaging engineers, logistics specialists, transportation staff, graphic designers and many more.
Furthermore, the specification function acts like a contract between internal and external players who all work toward creating the final product.
For example, specification data allows stakeholders in the process to sharply define what they want to happen in the production cycle, including things like quality control and ensuring that what is being produced lives up to the exact specifications that were laid out for it.
Just like product designers must satisfy the specs of, say, a standards watchdog, the external stakeholders must meet the requirements spelled out in the original specification documents.
It’s specification software that monitors for problems and catches any snafus. The latter, in turn, can then be traced back to their point of origin and be resolved before they magnify into even bigger problems down the line.
When everyone is working from a real-time digital spec, everyone is on the same page, no one is left out of the loop, and an integrated and cohesive effort is the result.
Sustainability: A Key Issue
Companies across the board are under more pressure than ever to build sustainability in their organizations. It’s a priority to protect the endangered world environment. Sustainability is also an area where operators can cut costs significantly.
Building a more eco-friendly and sustainable company is much more easily accomplished with the aid of specification software. It’s easy to understand why.
For example, reducing waste is a major element of sustainable processes. Another element of sustainability is procuring raw materials from suppliers who are practicing their own sustainable protocols.
There are many other elements of sustainability as well, but it might be easiest to summarize it by saying that maximum efficiency in all areas of operation automatically translates to leaner, cleaner, less wasteful and sustainable systems.
Proactive, Not Reactive
The last thing a company wants to do is reach a point where it must react to unexpected problems. The latter is often the result of inadequate data and data that is not cohesive. A lack of transparency creates blind spots that trip you up.
Specification software implements cross-functional collaboration that eliminates the communal problem of groups working in siloed systems – the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.
By using a common tool visible to all teams, collaboration is bolstered, and problems are spotted and solved before they can fester and produce bigger problems down the road.