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8 Steps to Optimize your Specification Workflow for Accuracy and Efficiency

8 Steps to Optimize your Specification Workflow for Accuracy and Efficiency

Packaging materials and labor can be costly for companies who package products. Managing the various types of packaging components and materials in an efficient and controlled way can prevent issues with timelines, costs, customer loyalty, and even legal issues. Controlling specifications and subsequently enforcing them with good quality programs can save time for both re-work and time to market.

The types of records that are typically managed in a packaging lifecycle may include:

  • Raw Materials(ingredients and packaging materials)
  • Components Management of relating artwork to component (aka Printed Components)
  • Management of technical drawings, artwork drawings, die lines and relating those to materials, component specs or final packaging configuration
  • Packaging configuration (aka Engineering BOM/Technical Article Grouping/Packaging Information)
  • Formulas SKU Management to track packaging configuration plus market, artwork/labeling, packaging sites/contract manufacturers/etc.

In order to streamline your specification workflow, develop the following for each of the above types of records:

1. Develop your own specific standards

    • Categories include:
      • Dimensions and associated tolerances
      • Performance tests
      • Material types and details 
    • Categorize each of your materials and components so that specifications can be templated and structured for like-items.
    • Structure the data

2. Define your intended document hierarchy - briefly, the Bill of Materials (BOM) structure

3. Design and implement a workflow that satisfies questions such as these:
    • Who is allowed to create specifications?
    • Who is allowed to see specifications as various stages of the development/approval process?
    • Can peer reviewers edit or simply provide commentary?
    • Who is allowed to approve?
    • And other important process queries
4. Define reporting requirements:
    • Does the report require only data?
    • Does the report require unalterable PDFs, printing and/or circulation?
    • Does the report require images and related content to be included?
    • Is assembly of child specifications/related drawings part of the workflow?
    • Should the report include or suppress blank fields?
5. Consider distribution of the specifications:
    • How will you ensure that users utilize the effective versions only?
    • Can they be printed and distributed further?
    • Do you have or need a record of who printed and why?
6. Consider management of specifications by R&D vs. those approved for Commercial use:
    • Should R&D use the same version of specification templates as commercial, or are they allowed to use newer ones?
7. Write Documentation
    • Create procedures on how you expect users to utilize the system
    • Develop and execute Training material
    • Work with SMS vendor to utilize their materials but make them your own
    • For Validated systems: Author, finalize, approve and execute risk-based user acceptance test (UAT) scripts
    • Your Quality team can advise you on what documentation and associated test scripts are necessary
8. Audit:
    • Your own procedures
    • Your packaging components
    • The final packaging configurations

To read a deep dive into each of these steps, download our free e-book: How to Transform Your Packaging Specification Workflow to Increase Efficiency and Decrease Time to Market. Download Free E-book

Tags: specification management, Spec Management