Taming SKUzilla in the Cosmetics Industry

Posted on June 21, 2016
  • June 21, 2016
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According to a report by Markets and Markets, the global color cosmetics market, stood at USD 57.4 Billion in 2014 and it is expected to reach USD 77.7 Billion in 2020.  Cosmetics companies are jumping on the bandwagon as powerhouse companies such as Estée Lauder, LVMH, CoverGirl and Shiseido announce new product lines targeted at Millennials.

New packaging designs for color cosmetics include multifunctional designs allowing more product, distinct shapes, bold colors and cool applicators, not to mention a focus on sustainability.

Along with this growth comes a plethora of new packaging designs and SKUs to manage, adding to the thousands of individual component specifications already used for existing product.  As cosmetics companies embrace this new trend, they also must deal with the challenges created by managing a massive amount of packaging specifications.


The packaging specification is an essential document for cosmetics companies. It describes the function and quality of a given packaging component via a selection of supplier and user-driven attributes and variables. When completed, it forms the standard for quality and provides a base for procurement to perform commercial activities. The packaging specification is an agreement between the customer and packaging supplier and if completed incorrectly or to an inconsistent standard it can result in non-conformance, inefficiency, lost customers and in the worst case significant on costs to a business.

Today, many cosmetics companies manage their packaging specifications in traditional static documents such as word processing, spreadsheet or PDF. This leads to errors, high admin and misunderstandings especially relating to master data, which are compounded when these specs are distributed both internally to stakeholders and externally to suppliers.

In the case of Master Data, packaging specs in static format makes the capture, transfer and maintenance of information a tedious and difficult task leading to inconsistent and often times, poor quality information. Data is not connected or searchable making component portfolio visibility, standardization and efficiency/cost savings extremely challenging and time consuming.

This high admin results in restrictions on resources, mistakes, and quality issues, which impact the bottom line of the business. Plus not enough time is spent on the qualitative and technical elements of a product.


Taming SKUzilla and ultimately controlling or reducing costs requires a disruptive approach to managing packaging specs and taking advantage of the latest advances in cloud-technology and intelligent solutions.

Cosmetics companies should look to modern spec management solutions that support dynamic, individual attributes and variables for packaging specs. Some qualities to look for in such a system include:

System Overview:

  • Built on scalable, reliable, and secure enterprise cloud platform
  • Integration: Open, flexible platform for integration
  • Cloud-based Accessibility – Users (Both internal users & external partners) must have a login and immediately have access, no downloads or installation needed
  • Designed for packaging spec management: Pre-built architecture, layout, and templates
  • Fully connected Specs to sub-BOMs to BOMs. The capability to link sub assembly Specification parts to a primary part.


  • All attributes & metadata reportable
  • Real-time reporting
  • Immediate reports on:
    • Packaging Waste
    • Materials Usage & Optimization
    • Like Size Consolidation
    • Recycled Content Usage
    • … and more
  • Dashboards – Individual custom private or shared dashboards that aggregate reports, displaying detailed charts & graphs


  • Workflow – 2 levels of approvals, RFQ & Approved
  • Automatic triggers:
    • Tasks
    • E-mails sent to individuals or groups
    • Field changes
    • Notifications to suppliers for RFQ
  • View reports on metadata associated with workflows (e.g. how long a process takes, who/where a bottleneck occurs, etc.)
  • Report on point in lifecycle of finished good/packaging – view at the macro level and drill down to the individual component level
  • Clear status differentiation between “DEVELOPMENT”, “APPROVED” and “OBSOLETE”.

Data management:

  • Exchange tool – Open up external access, limiting access to the exact specs, partners, and time frame
  • Mass upload tool – Upload unlimited amounts of data in bulk in seconds, whether as new records or for mass updates
  • All changes and revisions recorded with user name & date/timestamp
  • Platform can conform to and concatenate where necessary to naming and numbering requirements
  • Migration support – support team with packaging expertise available to handle all data & document uploading


  • Ready-made “Spec Families” to hold finished good specs intelligently connected to each component of the associated bill of materials
  • Architected to seamlessly search and navigate between the hierarchy of specs – primary package, secondary packaging, etc. to a pallet pattern to a truck pattern – all with interconnected dependencies
  • View palletization of shippers directly attached to the finished good spec
  • Report on shipper utilization of finished goods to identify optimization and cost-savings opportunities


By managing packaging specs in an Intelligent Specification Management System, cosmetics companies looking to change the way they manage their specs can abandon their old statics packaging specs and see dramatic positive results to their bottom line.

Specright is a specification management company with a vision to leverage specification expertise and cloud technology to improve the way specifications are shared, analyzed and audited. Our mission is to empower customer efficiencies by providing Intelligent Specification Management Platforms that are available anytime, anywhere from any device.

Whether it’s packaging, formulas or other specifications, Specright lets companies reduce costs and empower efficiencies by sharing, analyzing and auditing specifications.

Our customers operate in cosmetics, food & beverage, produce, manufacturing, FMCG/CPG, or any industry reliant on accurate specifications. We offer on-boarding, testing and auditing services to ensure products and components meet specifications.