- The packaging space and its supply chain are plagued with inefficient data sharing systems and methods.
- The future lies in interweaving technology with each company’s data structure using a common language, a common system.
- Companies should break down their systems to the very granular, boring level of data structure and build up from there.
|Read the transcript below:|
Hi, I’m Melissa Griffen, Contributing Editor at Healthcare Packaging. The recent ISTA Forum 2022, which held TransPack and TempPack, provided insights surrounding the optimization of packaging for transport and technical topics related to global temperature controlled performance packaging. There, Matthew Wright, founder and CEO of Specright—which is a cloud-based platform designed to manage specification data across the supply chain—presented on the urgency of transitioning packaging to a digital platform using data.
The packaging space and its supply chain have become increasingly dynamic throughout the years, and is now plagued with inefficient data sharing systems and methods. This truth has become blatantly obvious due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on supply chain.
Current data sharing methods include email, spreadsheets, PDFs, file cabinets, and the over-proliferation of SKUs, which are unsustainable, non-future-proofed solutions. Specright put together a survey with results showing that it generally takes 600 emails or more to get a product to market.
Wright explained that data structures need to be created in a way that embraces technology differently. Data needs to be digitized but cannot be mapped the same way we do today. Finding the proper method would minimize the number of steps it takes to get product to the market safely and on time.
The future, according to Wright, lies in interweaving technology with each company’s data structure using a common language, or in other words, a common system. The goal is an open API world where all companies are sharing data and no one has to worry about what system the data is on. Protection of data would be provisioned however the companies want it to be protected. But as the world stands right now, even intercompany data uses different languages and struggles to communicate.
Referring to the pandemic, Wright suggested that a data structure that allows companies to quickly and easily see when problems in the world occur and what areas of the supply chain are affected through instant alerts would save companies not only the time it takes to chase down data but also the kinds of monetary losses that ensued during 2020 and 2021. This kind of system could also provide the data structures needed to share with global partners and other pertinent parties.
The legacy systems that now encumber the supply chain involve that data that is coming from everywhere, and digitizing their millions of specs into a system while making sure to pull the right data and keeping it clean is a challenge. “But,” as Wright said, “you have to do it. You can't just ignore it.” Companies need to digitize and choose a system which needs to be fluid and user friendly and companies must have the ability to bring new people into the business and instantly have them doing something of value.
Companies should break down their systems to the very granular, boring level of data structure and build up from there. Getting down to the DNA level of product and building that back up creates the finished product.
Wright also commented that we need to stop looking at different goals—for example sustainability goals or steps in creating the right system—as projects and rather see them as a continuum. Start thinking about how these things can happen automatically.
Thanks and see you next time on Take Five with Healthcare Packaging.