Product Specifications have always been an essential part of food safety systems. But how do you manage your Specifications? What does your Specification Management System look like? In manufacturing, an ingredient specification can form the basis of a goods in check before becoming part of a manufactured product. The manufactured product combines raw material specifications to produce a finished product specification. Retailer Customer specifications become increasingly detailed to provide complex due diligence information supporting claims made by the product.
The dial is forever moving. Product Specifications are more complex today then they were 5 years ago. In another 5 years time, you can guarantee they will be more complex again. As the complexity of individual product specs increases the challenges faced in managing them will increase likewise. Spreadsheets, whilst never perfect have become unwieldy – is it time to ditch the spreadsheet and embrace Product Specification Software?
Electronic Specification Management
Electronic specification management systems enable:-
- Internal product management – a food business will use product specifications for different purposes in different departments. Losing version control is an inherent danger of using spreadsheets.
- Due diligence defence – when things go wrong well documented, detailed product specs will help identify non conformance. Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) standards such as BRC require an approved specification for finished products and raw materials.
- Customer/Consumer communication – elements of a product specification, such as allergen information, may need to be shared with consumers. This could be via websites or dedicated apps.
- Measurement of Supplier performance – the product spec defines its quality attributes. A good supplier will meet those quality attributes without exception, a poor supplier may display more variance in the quality of a product they supply.
Electronic specification management systems become particularly powerful when they make use of the data they have captured. Imagine bringing to life a Rapid Alert System for Food & Feed (RASFF) alert. Automated updates can advise of any potential issues within your supply chain. How about comparing the declared allergen profile of a Supplier’s site with the allergen profile of a product? This can automatically provide alerts to any discrepancies. The use of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) allows separate data systems to share or blend partial or complete data sets. These can then be pushed through to another application – a website for example – removing manual intervention. Electronic product specification software enables specification data to work for you.
The Digital Transformation Journey
Spreadsheets were a quantum leap from handwritten paper product specifications. These brought the ability to quickly search specs, extract specific information and to perform some calculations. This was the beginning of the Digital Transformation journey. Product specifications are becoming more and more complex, capturing increasingly varied & detailed data sets which means that spreadsheets are no longer good enough. for today’s sophisticated food manufacturing businesses. Good product specification software allows captured data to be extracted, manipulated, blended, searched and compared which in turn changes a dusty, dead document into a living piece of business intelligence.
To learn more about QADEX Specification Management and understand how the Digital Transformation journey can future proof specification management – click here.