Specification Management Set to Transform Retail

Posted by Annie Wissner on April 25, 2019 at 10:56 AM

RetailWe’ve arrived at 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 with the click of a button. 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 increase 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 that 75 percent of consumers will switch to a brand that provides more in-depth product information, beyond what’s provided on the physical label. When shoppers answered the same question in 2016, just 39 percent agreed they would switch brands.

As brand owners, contract manufacturers, and suppliers grapple with multiple market pressures, it’s more important than ever for them 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 can be to track from which facility each product is manufactured to ensure all required documentation is collected and specifications are met. They’re not struggling anymore – with TraceGains, automatic alerts ensure that required documentation is obtained. With all documents digitized customers have new insight into supplier performance allowing them to take control of 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 TraceGains Specification Management solution this week can help. It’s now possible for supply chain partners to co-author specifications with all information exchange automatically tracked in the system. This presents a huge opportunity for retailers to streamline their business processes and continue to 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 percent of their suppliers on average are there already, and with the click of a button they can connect, and necessary documents are instantly delivered 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 it goes to all of their customers, they’re hooked. Today, we have nine retail customers and 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 CPG 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.

Tags: TGCon 2019