A few months ago, I had the opportunity to chat all things product and packaging innovation with Laura Foti on the Beyond the Shelf podcast (shameless plug to click here if you haven’t listened). It was a great conversation and experience, but I was shocked when Laura reached back out to me and asked if I would chair Specright’s annual industry conference, the Specification Management Summit.
I had attended the year prior in Austin, TX and truly enjoyed the content. I didn’t know what to expect as chair, but I was blown away by the overall experience. Not only did I have the opportunity to share Sugar Foods’ journey with Specright and the value of a spec-first approach, but I also learned so much from the incredible slate of presenters.
Now that it’s a few weeks post-Summit, I wanted to share my biggest takeaways.
- A retreat to share and collaborate
It always amazes me how so many of us, across vastly different industries, actually have the same macro-challenges we are trying to solve. Whether it’s being challenged with siloed communications, disparate data sources, or relying too much on tribal knowledge and complex supplier relationships. I had several one-on-one conversations with other executives and we all recognize these challenges, as well as acknowledge that we need to make it better.
The Specification Management Summit creates an environment where we can have these authentic conversations and share our challenges and fears, without judgement. I was refreshed by the transparency shared across organizations. Whether you make croutons and toppings, like Sugar Foods, or your industrial chemical company (and everyone else in between), we are all trying to make better, more responsible and sustainable products.
- Endless learning opportunities
The learning opportunities provided through the program at the Specification Management Summit really amazed my team members and I. Obviously, I work in the Food & Beverage industry, but I learned so much in regards to how others are transforming industries like Beauty and Cosmetics, Industrials, and Consumer Packaged Goods. From the actual finished good products to the manufacturing equipment lines that make the products, I saw how specification data is critical to business execution. It was both validating to hear other industries struggling with the same challenges as us, but more than that, it was so inspiring to see how they are tackling the challenges head on.
I walked away from the Summit again this year with a palpable energy. The experience recharged me to go back to the larger team at Sugar Foods and take action. If you’re on the fence about attending a Spec Summit, I would say, Do it! The take home value is huge because what you bring back and put into action will ensure you maintain a competitive edge in the market and advance strategic business goals, no matter what industry you serve.
- Connecting with the Specright Team
As a newer Specright customer, it’s also great to connect with the team in person. While we stay connected through weekly calls throughout the year, the in person collaboration always seems to accelerate innovation. Our conversations had more depth and spark to them while together in the same room. And, it’s definitely great to hear about the new and enhanced features “live.”
This year, the product features that peaked my interest the most were:
- Spec Compare, the ability to review 5 different items at the same time.
- Integration with TOPS
- The enhancements to the Clone form
It was a truly humbling experience to be asked to chair the industry event for Specification Management. While a newer category of software, it's a category that is truly transforming the way so many of us create amazing products and packaging. I am betting, if you aren’t sure whether or not your business needs a specification management solution yet, you definitely do!
I can’t wait for next year’s event, because I am excited to see how we make strides towards this incredible idea of a Spec Network even more tangible. I know the Specright team will continue to look for ways to engage with customers, industry thought leaders, and technology innovators to help us all achieve more.
If you didn’t get a chance to attend in person, here is a link to my presentation and all of the event presentations. I know you’ll find value in watching some of the content, and I know you’ll walk away feeling as inspired as me.