Typing on laptop with overlay of specification management feature icons

Specification Management Set to Transform Retail

Annie Wissner
April 25, 2019

Specification Management: Instant access to the data that will help you speed up your specification process.

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Spec Management Solutions for Private Label Retail

If you could, would you want to electronically create and manage specifications, find and qualify suppliers, scorecard them instantly, and quickly find items that maximize revenue and seasonal requirements?

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We’ve arrived in a new era for retailers. Millennials and the emerging Generation Z are tech-savvy, well informed, and ready to share how they feel about a retail experience or product. Large retailers are focused on creating a more curated customer experience. Smaller retailers are tackling how to scale, and everyone wants to figure out the right mix of online vs. brick and mortar.

According to a recent study by Refrigerated and Frozen Foods, with increasing transportation and commodity costs in 2019, manufacturers will be forced to raise prices. Retailers will be aggressively scrutinizing inflation to stay competitive in a fragmenting retail environment.

And that’s just the beginning. A report from Label Insight and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) revealed 75% of consumers would switch to a brand that provides more in-depth product information, beyond what’s on the physical label. When shoppers answered the same question in 2016, just 39% agreed they would switch brands.

As brand owners, contract manufacturers, and suppliers grapple with multiple market pressures, it’s more important than ever to collaborate more effectively to respond to these trends faster. At our annual user conference, TGCon, we held a roundtable discussion with TraceGains retail customers and suppliers to uncover pain points and identify opportunities for improvement.

A recurring issue we heard from retail brand owners was how hard it could be to track from which facility manufactures each product to ensure all required documentation is collected and specifications are met. They’re not struggling anymore – with TraceGains, automatically alerts ensure that companies obtain all required documentation. With all documents digitized, customers have new insight into supplier performance, allowing them to control their supply chains. We also heard that as store brands continue to grow, and retailers have their own labels on more products, they’re facing an enormous increase in the amount of data they need to manage.

That’s where the introduction of Specification Management solution this week can help. It’s now possible for supply chain partners to co-author specifications with all information exchange tracked in the system automatically. This presents a massive opportunity for retailers to streamline their business processes and succeed in an increasingly complex and competitive market. 

“We started a journey 11 years ago to help food and beverage manufacturers transform their supply chains,” TraceGains CEO Gary Nowacki said. “Today, the TraceGains community has expanded to a wide variety of consumer-packaged goods industries from dietary supplements to health and beauty, and more while reaching a critical mass. Now, when a new customer logs into the network, 70% of their suppliers, on average, are there, and they can connect quickly. The necessary documents are delivered instantly from a vast supplier document repository. Suppliers benefit as well from our standardized forms. When they realize they only have to fill out an allergen form one time and go out to all of their customers, they’re hooked. Today, we have nine retail customers. As we continue to grow in the retail market, we will reach a tipping point where retail suppliers will see the benefit of posting documents once and moving away from the insanity of single-use portals.”

Specification Management allows companies to author, maintain, and publish raw material and finished goods specifications to meet requirements and accelerate new product development. The system incorporates customer requirements, internal input and judgment, and practical supplier capabilities to provide a baseline for specification creation. Documentation and information exchange are streamlined and centralized, with automated workflows and alerts for internal and external stakeholder updates and approvals.

Find out how Specification Management can help your retail business today.

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