Managing data at the DNA level maximizes efficiency
-by Matthew Wright | Founder & CEO
Products and packaging were around before computers, so it only makes sense that most data captured today starts above what I call the “DNA level” of products. Since manufacturing existed and information was documented in some format previously, those items were loaded into the computers in the existing format. If computers were available before a product’s origin, then information would have been managed differently. As the production process occurred, people would have recorded essential data into computers, thus boosting efficiency.
For instance, most ERP systems store only high-level data similar to what was available prior to advanced, online systems. It captures financial data and key back office information, but it doesn’t really break items down effectively. You might be assembling multiple parts in a Bill of Materials to make a finished good, and then packaging it. Sure you can access the part # and price, but what about the “DNA” of making the item? Since your stored data is incomplete, the production process becomes more inefficient.
Let’s examine an ideal scenario: You should be able to push one button in your ERP that automatically sends the data/drawings/documents, and the correct product appears from a new vendor. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and therefore it’s as if the data captured is stuck in time from before computers became widespread.
If you were to examine a system before things were made, then the system would ask different questions including:
- What is needed to manufacture this product?
- Where is it purchased?
- How is it shipped?
Considering these questions would promote a more effective system. This system would be based on the DNA – key building block data – with links between raw materials, manufacturing, demand, and the entire supply chain.
If you have a system that truly captures the data near the beginning, it will be more efficient and provide a competitive advantage. If everyone in your supply chain did this on a common platform, then you could create links of DNA that would explain it in order all the way back to its inception.
Changes introduced at the consumer level can initiate a chain reaction that not only alters the finished good spec and packaging spec, but also adjusts the raw material spec. All this would be communicated instantly across the supply chain with very little effort on this utopian platform. Since everyone is on a common platform, this also gives comfort to a generation that is demanding to know and trace origins to feel confident that what they are buying is controlled and right.
Since the manufacturing world continues to become more competitive, the following factors are essential to gain an edge:
- Cutting wasteful habits
- Understanding new green material options
- Reacting to world changes
- Providing public transparency
- Lowering operational and transportation costs
A new era of Specification Data Management is upon us, but too many businesses are still behind the curve. Specright provides a logical solution…getting the DNA stored once and making it easily accessible on a common platform.
Matthew Wright ([email protected]) is the Founder and CEO of Specright,
the spec system for the digital world. Matthew has over 25 years of experience in packaging and has held various operational and management roles with International Paper and Temple-Inland. While Vice President for Temple-Inland he ran a $500M business unit. A prior version of this post was published in May 2017.