How Supplier Collaboration Leads to Better Packaging Development

Posted on 
July 14, 2020
Matthew Wright
Founder & CEO, Specright

Can the supply chain succeed without strong collaboration? Many businesses that have successfully united all aspects of their supply chain while achieving a sum greater than its parts would argue that collaboration is a must.

Collaboration is an opportunity to align your company’s suppliers with its core mission and objectives, ensuring that each moving part is working toward the same goals. When applied specifically to packaging development, companies who excel in collaboration are often the same ones who enjoy better inventory control, lower costs, reduced shrinkage, and higher levels of speed and service to their customers. Collaboration requires more than simply joining two units or functions, as each one will have an impact on the other links in the chain.

Let’s examine what good collaboration looks like in improving packaging development and how you can strengthen your own efforts from within.

Look Beyond Procurement

Managing relationships and packaging development collaboration efforts aren’t solely focused on procurement or cost savings. Rather, to increase accuracy, response times, and total value, collaboration should align with other key objectives, including product development lifecycles, quality control, and sustainability.

For example, companies focused on reaching sustainability goals can work with suppliers to create biodegradable packaging or innovative solutions that use less material. A critical part of aligning these efforts across internal and external stakeholders is having a unified set of information and critical data. For example, procurement, packaging, and suppliers all need to understand material data to report on sustainability initiatives.

When vetting potential collaboration opportunities, keep in mind that your biggest suppliers might not fit into your strategy and often face more red tape when trying to customize a collaboration strategy. Rather, smaller vendors may be more willing and able to invest adequate time into a collaboration, so don’t assume that greater value always lies within your largest partners. To improve collaboration, companies should select suppliers based on the potential value each supplier can bring to the table, along with strategic goals that are a win/win for both sides.

It’s also a best practice to provide suppliers with access to live specification data to ensure all parties are working off the same page. Historically, specifications have lived within various suppliers or functions, making it difficult for both brands and their partners to collaborate.

Assess Every Detail of Packaging Requirements

From the source of the packaging materials to their strength and size, no detail is too small when trying to improve and streamline packaging development. After all, detailed, complete specifications are the directions and binding agreement on how something is made between a company and its supply chain partners.

The problem for many companies is that they have no easy way to track these details, much less make them available to their supply chain partners. This problem also impacts suppliers, who may be asked to bid against an outdated specification that isn’t identical to what the customer is actually producing at a different supplier today. Having a single source of truth for packaging information is critical.

Achieving greater cost efficiencies throughout the supply chain depends on being able to document, track, access, and update the most specific pieces of information. Leveraging a specification management platform can help businesses achieve a true 360-degree view and make it easy to provide this data to suppliers for effective collaboration.

Provide Greater Transparency in Packaging Data

Successful packaging development relies on having the right data at the right time so all parties can make informed decisions on the best path forward. Providing insight at the specification level prioritizes transparency for every product, offering a better way to manage packaging requirements. Packaging data transparency helps companies report on sustainability initiatives and provides packaging teams with strategic information to guide future innovation.

Specright created the first purpose-built software for Specification Data Management that helps eliminate inaccuracies and accelerate packaging development by providing a single source of truth of specifications that can be accessed by all package design collaborators. Each stakeholder has real-time, up-to-date information that can prove beneficial in managing documentation, controlling costs, maximizing returns, and discovering new opportunities to strengthen supplier partnerships.

Download our ebook now to see how Specification Data Management is improving collaboration in package development throughout the supply chain.


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.

Explore More Topics

Get Started

With Specright’s Solution Suite, you can digitize, centralize, and link your specification data to drive efficiencies, intelligence, traceability, and collaboration within your organization and across your supply chain network.
Get Started