Go Beyond PLM & BOMs: Why Specifications are Key to Ensuring Quality

Posted on 
June 3, 2020
Matthew Wright
Founder & CEO, Specright

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) tools have been leveraged by companies in industries ranging from CPG to medical devices for decades. However, their longevity doesn’t mean these solutions aren’t without significant flaws. PLM was initially designed to address a wide range of issues and factors, with quality being among them. But since PLM solutions aren’t designed to focus specifically on quality indicators, companies are often faced with issues that can’t be resolved through these systems alone.

PLM and Its Impact on Product Quality

PLM systems were built to connect the design, engineering, manufacturing, and sales of a product into a single, integrated platform. Its main goal was to ease collaboration between product engineers and focused largely on internal teams. In today’s competitive landscape, however, collaboration across the organization is becoming more critical. More stakeholders, like quality, procurement, product development, marketing, customer service, and even external partners, also rely on the same data points to ensure quality throughout the supply chain — a feat that legacy PLM systems and Bill of Materials (BOM) structures are failing to achieve.

How Specification Management Software Picks Up Where PLM Ends

While PLM has its place in highly complex industries like automotive and aerospace, its functionality may fall short when it comes to ensuring consistent product quality throughout the supply chain. Especially at companies looking to accelerate their product development cycle. In response, Specification Management solutions provide a more comprehensive, granular look at the product life cycle, from original raw materials to the end of a product’s life. Let’s review some of the biggest differences between PLM and SDM:

Linking Specification to Specification

Rather than simply looking at a bill of materials (the most granular data for a typical PLM system), Specification Management software takes a deeper look into materials, sources, suppliers, facilities, and other aspects of the supply chain. A Specification Management solution can use this DNA-level data to build relationships between various specifications to gain better insight into the root cause of quality issues and uncover optimization opportunities.

Data-Driven Flexibility

Traditional PLM systems take a process-driven approach with little to no room for deviation. Customization and/or modifications are out of scope and can be time-consuming and problematic for reliable data. Traditional PLM systems need to be used within their designed framework. Specification Management is built on detailed specification data, allowing you to operate more agilely and dive straight into the data you need to make informed decisions. It’s also easy to link critical quality data and documentation such as COAs, lot codes, and other information directly to the specification. These specifications can then be linked to a Bill of Materials, creating unparalleled traceability.

Simple User Experience

No matter how feature-rich or powerful a software solution may be, it can’t deliver true value if it’s too difficult to be used for its maximum potential. Specright’s Specification Data Management™ platform has a clean, intuitive user interface that makes it easy to find, input, or change information. For example, it’s easy to search for a product or supplier and see all the associated information. It’s also simple to create a Supplier Corrective Action or log a quality issue or customer complaint and directly tie it to a specification. It’s also designed with the user experience in mind, and with no rigid processes to slow down operations, users can find what they need quickly and see efficiency, rather than delays, within their business.

Making a Quality Case for Specification Management Software

Specright can be used as an alternative to traditional PLM tools, and the benefits go far beyond the functionality of the average PLM system. Rather than only track a product’s life cycle, Specright manages, tracks, and shares all product data at the DNA level to ensure the quality of each ingredient or component that goes into them. With Specright’s Specification Data Management platform, your PLM efforts can become proactive instead of reactive.


Matthew Wright

Matthew Wright is the founder & CEO of Specright, the first cloud-based platform for Specification Management. Specright has been recognized by Fast Company’s prestigious Most Innovative Companies list, named a Gartner Cool Vendor, and as one of the Top Places to Work by the OC Register and Built in LA. Wright is also a published author and his book, “The Evolution of Products and Packaging,”was named to the Amazon Hot New Release List for Industrial Relations Business and has a five star rating. 

Prior to founding Specright, Wright spent more than 25 years in the packaging industry, holding leadership positions at International Paper, Temple Inland, and rightPAQ — a packaging company he co-founded. He has also been involved in leading multiple M&A deals in the packaging industry, currently sits on the MSU School of Packaging and Industry Advisory Board and previously served on the Packaging Advisory Board at Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo.

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