Packaging: Turning a Liability into an Asset

Posted on 
July 25, 2017
Matthew Wright
Founder & CEO, Specright

Packaging can be an asset in lowering your costs and increasing speed to market.

Buyers of packaging agree that packaging costs too much and the process is too complex. Vendors agree that they don’t make enough for their efforts. It’s the area between the two, inefficiency, which is equal to waste and ultimately drives the costs too high.

I liken it to healthcare: it is not that the cost of the actual healthcare is too high, but rather it is the amazing inefficiency, administrative and process costs that drive healthcare costs sky high. It’s not the actual direct cost of packaging, but rather the amount of time and energy it takes to A) chase down data, B) ensure it is correct, then C) source, search, communicate, and execute (inevitably with a high % of failures).

A lot of this cost is hidden within the overall packaging cost (like your medical bills). Goods-producing organizations are bloating with hiring more people, increasing warehouse space for additional safety stock, and running production lines slower than OEM because of material non-conformance concerns. It’s also felt in packaging failures at the packaging manufacturing level, the factory floors of the goods makers, and in the retail supply chain. How much time and energy is being spent keeping up with this mess?

This certainly results in money lost and also potential revenue thrown away from lost sales. This can take my estimate of 7% waste in a trillion dollar packaging market, and perhaps double or triple it to over 20% waste. So how do you stop this cycle? How do you not only stop the bleeding but also make it create value for you?

Packaging can be an asset in lowering your costs and increasing speed to market; allowing internal resources to work on value added projects and grow your company. The optimal solution is to join a common platform for packaging – a new ecosystem connecting packaging suppliers, packaging purchasers, and retailers. Shift the paradigm: utilize packaging data as a competitive advantage instead of a nuisance.

The common platform has to be built around the DNA of the data, specifications, and not surface level elements. In focusing on this, you will create a competitive advantage with your cost position, speed to market, and technological differentiation with clients. You no longer worry about paying for all the waste because the data is transparent. You no longer have to participate in the old way of doing business. Rather, you can be among the group that is using technology to change your position and create value.

The horse and buggy was a fine mode of transportation. Then the Model T came along as the far superior method. It’s hard to believe now that anybody still favored the horse and buggy. Thank goodness there were early adopters that saw the future. Similarly, you are likely doing business just fine with your legacy systems and processes. But the Model T is available now, and wouldn’t you rather have that?

The future is happening in the packaging world. Specright captures the DNA of packaging to be viewed in real-time, enables seamless collaboration, ties in quality to ensure spec accuracy, and ultimately makes intelligent recommendations for fast, precise decision-making. This allows businesses and individuals to take game changing actions that set them apart, lowering their costs by taking inefficiency out.

There is a massive opportunity for early adopters to join the path of making packaging an asset for your company and not a liability. These are very exciting times – join the future, now.


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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