Businesses across all industries today are realizing that maintaining manual methods of organizing, routing, and workflow isn’t as productive as newer methods out there. Document management solutions have enabled businesses to take their paper, manual processes, and transfer them to efficient, organized digital environments. Under document management, the umbrella is specification management, which helps businesses streamline the creation, collaboration, review, approval, and distribution of specifications. Specification management software can help businesses transform their operations to see increased efficiency and productivity.
What Type of Business Should Invest in a Specification Management System?
Any business that has product packaging specifications, the need to manage a product development workflow, or has to unify technology platforms for better product management should explore specification management software. These businesses can be in retail, manufacturing, food production, and many more industries. Any business that deals with consumer-packaged-goods and items that need to meet labeling requirements are included.
How Do You Know It’s Time to Make the Move to a Specification Management System?
If you’re considering moving your specification processes to a digital setting or wondering if it’s right for you, ask yourself these questions:
- Are you still using paper-based files or spreadsheets to manage specification data, including raw materials, formulas, packaging, and finished goods specs?
- Has your business ever experienced material losses, wasted time, and missed time-to-market deadlines because an uncontrolled, modified version of specification made it to production?
- Is your business finding it challenging to ensure the same compliance standards are met across various departments and units?
If the answer to any of these is “yes,” specification management software can revolutionize your operations.
What Are Some Benefits of Specification Management Systems?
Specification management systems can streamline all these tasks. However, you do not have to settle for this software alone to get all the benefits. In reality, many other types of business systems integrate specification management with other services. For example, with Contractnow.com, you can do everything listed here along with contract management. Supplier, vendor, investor, and other contract-based interactions are combined with specification management
to create a centralized system that increases the overall efficiency of your business. When you look into specification management systems, try applications and services that include other features you need to make the most out of it.
Specification management software enables a business to streamline the process of specification review, approval, and distribution. You’ll be able to add structured data, control inputs, link among specs and documents, and search accurately across all product lines. Other benefits include:
- Creating specs with electronic forms so you can structure your data with controlled, approved values.
- Automating review and approval by being able to set routing that will notify stakeholders by email when they need to review or approve a spec.
- Accessing a security model that enables control over which personnel can access which content.
- Collaborating with suppliers in a controlled environment and managing which suppliers have access to various documents.
- Linking to related documents and adding business rules to monitor document parent-child relationships.
- Gaining visibility across each product line.
- Notifying suppliers and stakeholders with automated emails when specs and docs become effective.
- Creating different reports for different audiences with the ability to stitch together parent reports with attachments and subordinate specs and documents.
How Does Specification Management Improve Supplier Management?
Specification management systems can save both you and your suppliers’ time and money by improving collaboration. You can streamline your procurement processes and better manage suppliers and associated costs using the software.
- You’ll be able to give your suppliers access to near-instant specifications you control, so you don’t run the risk of having duplicate or outdated specs in play.
- Your specs can be shared and updated from any location at any time – keeping your suppliers in the loop.
- You and your suppliers will save time by reducing the back-and-forth over correct specifications and bids.
- You can get a detailed view of your supplier network performance with specification management software that allows you to pinpoint weak communication or links. This data helps you improve your supply chain.
- You’ll enjoy speeder bids because specification management software allows suppliers to access your specs through the platform. They can easily list what they can provide and how they can match your needs – reducing bidding time to minutes.
- You can streamline all your supplier documentation, including contracts, codes, certificates, NDAs, audits, and more. The software gives you granular visibility into your spec-to-supplier relationship.
Can a Specification Management System Help Maintain Compliance?
A specification management system should give you complete control over who can access which documents. It should enable you to track all activity with the ability to create reports for compliance requirements. With this level of granular visibility and control, maintaining compliance standards can be stress-free and simple.
For example, if you’re a food production company with ingredients to keep track of within your supply chain, specification management can help you manage anything that enters. Visibility into how products connect across departments enables you to ensure compliance with regulations such as the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Other U.S. compliance regulations you can keep in line with include the Fair Packaging Labeling Act and the FDA Code of Federal Regulations 21CFR211.
In Canada, you’ll abide by The Consumer Product & Labelling Act and the Cannabis Act Regulations. And in the European Union, specification management will help maintain compliance with CELEX 31994L0062 (environmental protections and consumer risk), CELEX 32000L0029 (imported wood and plant packaging materials), and VerpackG specifically in Germany which deals with registration and sustainability.
How to Stay Profitable and Organized in 2020 With Specification Management
When you’re ready to let specification management software take the reins on streamlining your spec needs and workflows, there are some best practices to optimize them.
First, set specific standards for using structured data – any data that lives in a fixed field within a record or file. Ensure that your electronic forms have restrictions on what exactly can be written and placed within the document and by which employees. This will make your workflow smoother.
You’ll also want to define a document hierarchy, so your business understands the purpose of each type of document and its application. Then, ask some important questions before designing and implementing a workflow. To start, ask these two:
- Which employees are allowed to create specifications, see specifications in various stages, and review, edit, and provide commentary?
- Which employees are allowed to approve documents?
- Who should be notified when a revised specification becomes effective?
You’ll want to determine if your business requires peer review and if you need a minimum number of approvers.
Lastly, you should define your business’s reporting requirements in case you need to conduct full audit reports documenting who changed what and when.
Specification management can seem like a complicated, burdensome process, but with the right software, your organization can see massive savings in time and labor. Taking your specification management from manual to digital could be a turning point for your business. For more information visit docxellent.com.