Specification Management Summit 2023 Day 2: Speakers Discuss Importance of a Spec-First Approach Across Sustainability, Academia and Reinventing the Supply Chain

Specright’s annual Summit continued in Nashville with a content-filled second day, including presentations from Dermalogica, BASF, Central Garden & Pet and more.

Posted on 
January 17, 2023
Laura Foti
CMO, Specright

Day 2 of Specright’s annual Specification Management Summit was a hit, bringing together all 250 attendees for a day of insightful presentations and breakout sessions focused on our key themes for the conference: product and packaging sustainability, navigating economic uncertainty and building resiliency within the supply chain. 

Take a look at some of the highlights and key takeaways from today’s sessions below.

Chair Introduction and a Spec-First Approach to New Product Development 

We are extremely excited to have Brittny Ohr, Director of Product Management at Sugar Foods Corporation, as this year’s Summit chair. Her experience in the food industry, as well as being a Specright customer, have allowed her to share a unique perspective with attendees as she helped guide today’s agenda.

Brittny Ohr, Chair of Spec Summit 2023

Along with being the chair of this year’s Summit, Brittny also gave today’s opening presentation on the importance of leveraging a single-source-of-truth for specification data to drive product innovation and stay ahead of trends. She explained the challenges her company Sugar Foods faced before utilizing Specright and how prioritizing specification data improved supplier collaboration and increased their data visibility to be able to pivot and respond to industry trends, regulatory changes and dynamic labeling requirements. Attendees left with key learnings on how a spec-first approach can help improve an organization’s entire ecosystem. 

A Deep Dive on Sustainability

Sustainability continues to be a key focus for most companies, whether in terms of making commitments or meeting industry regulations. Many of today’s sessions touched on the importance of sustainability, including our CEO Matthew Wright’s presentation on driving sustainability and profitability. He touched on why sustainability can be hard due to country - even state - specific rules, how what’s sustainable today might not be tomorrow and why sustainability is all about evaluating trade offs. Wright also emphasized that a spec-first approach is key to realizing sustainability commitments and complying with regulations, and that sustainability efforts can ultimately be cost drivers with spec data. His final takeaway? Tackling sustainability doesn’t have to be complex – it starts with understanding your products and packaging at the DNA level of data (essentially, specification data) and eliminating allowable waste. 

In a similar sustainability vein, Paul Nowak, Executive Director at GreenBlue, discussed extended producer responsibility (EPR) legislation, the projects he’s working on with the Sustainable Packaging Coalition and How2Recycle, and broke down upcoming labeling legislation in the U.S. (Oregon SB-582 and California SB-343) and Canada. He touched on the fact that many attendees in the room probably weren’t ready today should the government come knocking on doors requesting this kind of data and that companies must take action now to get their data in check and help reduce packaging waste. 

Other presentations on sustainability included Kevin Davis, Packaging Engineering Director at Dermalogica, who shared how their team has leveraged specification data to improve sustainability reporting and optimizations and John Blake, Senior Analyst at Gartner, who presented on how to think of sustainability in conjunction with legislation and technology to achieve goals. 

Salesforce Net Zero Cloud

Sustainability management is rapidly evolving and impacts cross functional teams, meaning companies need a more robust tool in place. Kevin Vranes, Global Product Lead for Salesforce’s Net Zero Cloud product, explored in his presentation how Net Zero Cloud is helping build a system of engagement for all things sustainability. By utilizing a future-ready platform, companies increase productivity among cross-functional teams which gives back time that can be spent focusing on customers. Net Zero Cloud is a system that collects all of a company’s environmental data in one place, helps them understand what that data means, and allows them to act on those insights.

The Impact of the Next Generation

Academia has always been important to Specright, which is why we are committed to helping universities across the country teach students the value of Specification Management and prepare them for success in packaging and supply chain careers. Matt Daum, Director and Professor at Michigan State University School of Packaging, spoke today on the impact of the next generation (approximately 2,000 students a year are now learning a spec-first approach) and how MSU and Specright are working to bring academia and the industry together by leveling up the curriculum. 

Rethinking Supply Chain and Operations

To end the presentation portion of Summit Day 2, Aron Kolosik, Chief Supply Chain Officer at Central Garden & Pet, closed with a discussion around reinventing the supply chain through cost savings and the need for supply chain resiliency. New and evolving conditions demand greater agility and Aron walked attendees through his company’s challenge of reducing costs to improve margins and fuel growth. Technology is a crucial part of supply chain reinvention and he explained how his team leveraged Specright as a tool to simplify, automate and organize cost savings projects as well as preventing duplicate work and boosting overall productivity. His final thoughts were reminding companies to be agile (the only constant is change) and how clear visibility into data is a must for making data-driven business decisions. 

Ending Day 2 with an Evening Reception on Broadway

Luke's 32 Bridge in Nashville, TN

Following today’s final presentation, guests hopped on buses to head to Nashville’s infamous Luke’s 32 Bridge, a 6-level restaurant and entertainment venue from multi-platinum country music artist and American Idol judge Luke Bryan. Day 2 wrapped with an evening of good food, networking and live music from Lazer & Levi. 

Day 2 was a success, but there’s still more to come! We’ll see everyone tomorrow for the final day of Summit where attendees will hear from SAP, Lorax and more!

Lazer & Levi performing at Luke's 32 Bridge


Laura Foti

Laura leads marketing and investor relations at Specright. Prior to Specright, she led advertising and analytics at GE Digital, GE’s Industrial Internet software business. Before that, she was a consultant at Deloitte Digital working in enterprise digital transformation, where she helped clients design and deploy eCommerce experiences, develop revenue-driving mobile apps, and reimagine their global digital marketing strategy. Laura was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for marketing and advertising and Brand Innovators 40 Under 40 and 100 Women to Watch lists. She graduated from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She resides in Newport Beach, CA.

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