Sustainable Packaging

CEO and Founder Mr. Matthew Wright The First purpose-built Specification management platform

December 05, 2021 Cory Connors Episode 39
Sustainable Packaging
CEO and Founder Mr. Matthew Wright The First purpose-built Specification management platform
Show Notes Transcript

https://specright.com/

Why are packaging specifications the key to a sustainable future?
Have you had to rerun packaging due to incorrect specs?
What if you could run an LCA in just a few minutes for any of your packaging items?
Here is a link to Mr. Wright's book, I highly recommend this book!
https://lp.specright.com/book
#specright
#sponsored
Here is the link to attend the summit in Austin Texas in January 2022 
https://specright.com/specification-management-summit-2022/

https://ororapackagingsolutions.com/
Looking to improve the sustainability of your packaging today? Check out:
https://www.landsberg.com/
The views and opinions expressed on the "Sustainable Packaging with Cory Connors" podcast are solely those of the author and guests and should not be attributed to any other individual or entity. 

https://specright.com/ This podcast is an independent production and the podcast production is an original work of the author. All rights of ownership and reproduction are retained—copyright 2022.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1329820053/ref=as_sl_pc_qf_sp_asin_til?tag=corygat

Cory Connors:

Welcome to sustainable packaging with Cory Connors . I am very excited for my guest today. Mr. Matthew Wright is the founder and CEO of Specright how are you, sir? Great,

Matthew Wright:

great to be here with you today,Cory , Cory Connors: I'm a huge fan of yours I'm very excited to talk about that. But we'll first, I'd like you to kind of fill in the audience on, on your background a little bit, and I know you've been in the industry for a long time. Can you, can you tell us a little bit about. Sure. Hopefully we don't use a word too long a time, but I've been in vending industry for 20 plus years. I always kind of stop it there, but a big fan of yours too, you know, anybody that's in the packaging industry is near and dear to my heart, you know, spent a, to your question, you know, spent my whole career in packaging. Really out of the gate started in New York city and really had a chance to kind of move throughout the country and in different positions run up the ranks to executive positions in big paper companies. I also had an opportunity to manage and run my own packaging company, which we grew, I think about 500% in five years. So it was quite a rocket ship journey there. And when I, when I left that opportunity really gave me an opportunity to really put my time and energy around what we're going to talk today about, which is specification management. But I know you appreciate this in the package industry. Great opportunity to, to all things made. You know, I always say from chicken slaughter to missiles made really gave me a great it's been a great business just from that perspective, which I know you agree.

Cory Connors:

Absolutely. It's one of the coolest parts of our job in this world of packaging is we get to be a part of all different kinds of companies. And I've always enjoyed that. I agree with

Matthew Wright:

you and really the ability to, to move throughout the organizations into different op you know, jobs. I spent half my career on the revenue side and half my career on the op side. And that's pretty rare in most industries, you don't get those chances to see quite the exposure we do. And so I think that's why people that are in packaging don't leave and, and love.

Cory Connors:

Absolutely. And I think what we need to talk about today is, is your new company. So specifications, if the specs are wrong on, on packaging run, it will need to be redone. It, it could even cause a major recall which would be a sustainability nightmare because all that packaging. Product would have to be remade could potentially be landfill. Hopefully it at least gets recycled, but best that's best case scenario. How does, how does spec right make a difference in that?

Matthew Wright:

Yeah. You know, it's a, it's something that's just near and dear to my heart. You know, again, spending my whole career in industry and running operations, you know, we've had this thing in industry called con you know, allowable waste. And to me, it's, it's kind of a crazy word to use. Even when I was running factories, I was always shocked that, you know is there really a right to have a benchmark of allowable way? Shouldn't we be shooting for zero controllable waste and to your point that all makes it way, you know, hopefully to some degree in recycled processes, but that still burns energy and takes effort to do that. Whereas if that didn't exist today, you know, we wouldn't be having to figure that part of it out. Know, I think most of the stories that I've got a bunch of them, I know you do about failures and, and ways to really have to do with misinformation or multiple duplicated specs or multiple different parts of the data in different spots and picking or choosing the wrong data stream. That's wrong from the wrong source and making bad product. And that doesn't do any good for anyone. Customers don't want that. They need to get their product to market it's Irregardless, who, who pays for it. It's bad for the environment and bad for. Right.

Cory Connors:

And there's always the tendency to point fingers at at all the people involved in a situation where the specs were wrong. I've I have to admit I've been involved in several of those in

Matthew Wright:

my career. I'm probably on both sides of it. Right.

Cory Connors:

And absolutely. But who usually takes the blame is, is the production side of things. And then. You know, it's too bad, but at the end of the day, we're, we're working hard to eliminate that with your, your new company, which is

Matthew Wright:

yeah, th the concept and you said, and first of all, you know, stepping back, I've always said there's amazing and great people that are, you know, making pad products. It's not that people inherently want to, it's just, they have bad data. And so the concept of really raising the visibility and the value of the specification, the specification, I think is the, is the infancy of everything and should be true. You know, very correctly and delicately and shared and you shouldn't duplicate. And I think that's where we always get in trouble is, you know, what version are you on? Did somebody have influence on it? Are they kind of holding their own little fiefdom of data that they know that it's important? What's the vendor say? And so to your point, the challenge with the pointing fingers is that when everything kind of comes together, is there is. One person that can say no, it's just what it should have been. We all should have been working off of this one. And therefore, to your point, kind of just historically the vendor tends, or the manufacturer tends to take the brunt of the bone to the excuse or the damage in the process, but it's that singular spec, the value of the spec, making sure it's right. Making sure it's a language that everybody understands and can access and not duplicating parts of it is. Right.

Cory Connors:

And, and finding the specifications can always, can oftentimes be a challenge, you know? Oh, you know, I'll come in as a supplier and I'll say, well, who do I talk to? And they say, oh you know, that's Chuck or that's Suzanne. But she just left the company. I'm not sure who has her old laptop. I don't, you know, there's and that's an amazing thing that a lot of people don't understand about packaging is the, the specs can oftentimes be. In danger and of being lost on somebody's hard drive for somebodies laptop.

Matthew Wright:

Yeah, it's interesting. There was a client years and years ago that we had won the business and tremendous amount of business. And it was three sets of specs. QA system on team had their set of specs. The purchasing group had their suspects and the prior. And their satisfaction. You probably won't be shocked that none of the tree were the same. And you know, a lot of thing as you know, and appreciate and packaging, you know, a quarter of an inch is a big deal or, or slightly different color is a big deal. And so it took almost a year to get those three specs to, to focus down to one. And then today I can guarantee you if they're not on spec management platform, that they're back to three or four different versions of information.

Cory Connors:

And it's sad. It's easy to fall back into that old way of doing things right with different managers, focusing on different things. That's not, not the way to do it well. Can you tell us about a TRIAC and your sustainability optimism?

Matthew Wright:

Yeah, I think that that's kind of kind of stepping back and more from, I guess, a philosophical bent on myself when the company around sustainability is the word sustainability and the visioning of it being a project-based thing. Is it irritating to me? It's you know, sustainability, I know has historically been, you know, we've got to do something for someone could be a consumer, a retailer, a vendor, et cetera. And in that we have to do something. And so there's a data crunch. People start scurrying around for information and trying to compile this, this kind of dataset. And then ultimately what they do is present that data set as informational, that they were able to gather the challenge in that is typically no sooner than the present, that then that data is no longer good. And next time there's an event that go through that same process. So when we look at running LCAs that typically take a company six to 12 months, or we're trying to answer a sustainability question. Maybe that the CEO COO is a agreed to, or put out there publicly the vendor and the operator at the company tend to struggle, you know, how do we get to understanding even where we're at today? And so I think just from a baseline fundamental again which I think the world is looking to with EPR. And I know we can talk about that later, but you've got to know what you have. You can't have three versions of it. You can't have kind of close information. You have to have that at your fingertips. And you have to be able to visualize that data instantly and not have event driven sustainability because it's the journey I hope is going to be honest for the rest of our working careers. And so why not start with a good data stream and just mature that day? Through time and energy. And so that's what the spec management platforms about. And then to your question, then let's use visualization tools I track and others to then use that core set of data and then visualize it, how we want to share that, that data or how we're being asked to share the data by a retailer. And ultimately I think the consumer is going to start asking some questions. Oh, very,

Cory Connors:

very true. Yeah. They they're the ones who were, we're working to satisfy eventually, right? With no sales, there's no need for sustainability.

Matthew Wright:

Yeah. Maybe it's interestingly, I did some research and it sounds like a simple response, but you know, if you, if you take all the big buckets of why people are trying to be sustainable, it all boils down to the human being wants us to be. And whether it's the customer or the retailer or the CEO, like it's humans wanting us to be more sustainable. Undoubtedly for the benefit of our future. But the only way we can get there is through data and, and using that data to do things with it, right? And

Cory Connors:

your software will allow a manufacturer or a customer, you know, packaging. User consumer to analyze the kinds of packaging they're using now and then, and then compare it to more sustainable options, right on, right online, right on the, the,

Matthew Wright:

software. Yeah. And you look at, you know, and there's so many different. I know we've, we've chatted about this before, where there's so many different opportunities, you know, how do you a consolidate a bunch of items into less items? Less items are a lot easier to impact change too. So, you know, something like a like item finder that scrubs and looks for things similar, bringing your skew counts down to become more manageable and able to make changes. One scenario, perhaps it's a lightweighting process where you can take materials out of it. Perhaps it's a different design that may facilitate less materials being used. And then ultimately to your point of question, if there's a replacement product, you know, there's logic that you can build in and say, this can replace. And this is better in this area than that area. That's that's just pure data. You know, I know we like to kind of lean back upon our institutional knowledge, but at the end of the day data, that makes things happen very quickly. And so, you know, as a, as a true example, if you found a really easily and compostable prod product that worked in areas of the world that allow composting or encouraging. And it may not fit every product you have. It may not be water-soluble. It might have other elements to be able to click a few different things, acute strokes, and be able to look at for those items. And then when you have them be able to share those specs instantly with that new vendor and say, Hey, now show me what you can displace with your new product that that's going to make us very efficient, becoming more sustainable today. You see all this really cool products coming up, but you're not seeing this massive traction it's because I think they're having a hard time finding exactly what that displacement product can, can attack and be successful in doing.

Cory Connors:

Totally agree. What do you see as the future of sustainable packaging? Do you, do you have a kind of product that you think is the most sustainable? Can you speak to that a little bit?

Matthew Wright:

Yeah. You know, one thing we did at another research is when we've changed and kind of try to figure out where we're, you know, what we want to really say to the market. Really, you're not going to define sustainability for companies. It's not, there's a lot of really smart people doing that. I don't think we can be very additive to there, but when a company or, you know, a group of people determine what sustainability is in terms of disposal or less waste or different types of product, what we offer up is the data in order to make the right decisions and be successful. And the goals that you're trying to reach. The other thing I think that's very paramount, important to understand is I think that's going to continue to change, you know, as, as the knowledge grows and as the world changes and as products change, I think we have to be really flexible. Again, having data versus opinions, to build, to adjust to the new things that are gonna come down the pike that we don't even know yet today. And so again, you know, if you have an opinion today is probably going to be outlived in a couple of years, if not sooner, as to what the next right thing to do is for.

Cory Connors:

I think that's the best answer I've had to that question. I ask it every podcast almost. And oftentimes I'll get you know, very specific answers. And I think what you said is true we're, we're not sure yet. We don't know. We're we're learning every day. What's sustainable. What isn't sustainable LCAs are taking place life cycle analysis for those listening. We're we're uncertain, but we're learning and we're acting quickly and having the proper specifications on file allows you to pivot fast. And I think that's part

Matthew Wright:

of the coolest thing about it. Now, if you look at technology and you look at that, that spec that we just talked about and the value of that spec, and maybe two. That product can be enhanced and improved. And so you change it to this, and then we find out something that's better or perhaps something we didn't know about that we can go to this. What's cool about technology is that lineage and that history is still there. And so you can say, you know, five years down the road, when w when we continued to hopefully grow and learn about what's good for the world, and what's available, we can go back to that history and say, Hey, where were we? And was anything where we were right. And just wrong time. And so you can do great analysis and kind of a backwards scenario. And then as you learn more things, you can project that forward and say, here's what it would look like if we do this for the future. And the other thing we have to keep in mind is, is that the, the world is looking at this differently. Every country looks at this different, I'd argue blue say in the United States, every, every state and county looks at this a little differently, unfortunately. And really what I look at is filters. You can have a spec and then put the filter of that company, the company initiatives, the country initiatives over that and say, is this meeting, you know, what they want to do in that part of the world? Or can do, and then ultimately adjust it from there and say, no, it doesn't work. And I love technology because the other side of it is you can put barriers and boundaries in there. And we. Objects into use, try to create a product and define their origin. It's going to be at, and it will tell you, no, you can't put that, that particular product in here. Cause it doesn't either meet your corporate goals or initiatives or it doesn't meet that country's regulations and that's, that's the power of data. That's what, and that will. You know, people making the wrong product, shipping it to that country and either getting in trouble. Cause the company gets called out on it. They're not being sustainable or that country finds them as we know it's coming because they didn't do what the country wanted them to do. So that's data and that's a data platform.

Cory Connors:

Very impressive. And I hear a lot of people trying new sustainable quote unquote options for their, their packaging, and oftentimes having to revert back briefly or for long-term because something didn't work with the new idea. And so to be able to just go back to the four or V3 simply yeah. Pretty cool and exciting and allows you to kind of

Matthew Wright:

a way out if you will. Yeah. And if you, and what's great in the relationship of data is that if you make that change and say, Hey, I found something that sounds really cool. I've done some testing and trial and error. And we all know today, hopefully this changes is that the outcome of reality is sometimes different than testing. And so to your point, you put product out in market and find out, Hey, there's still some stuff we've got to sort out and figure out what's great. I say it's a, or closure label, whatever it is, you can instantly know all the products that you tried and were affected by that. And with a click revert to the old spec. Well, your try and hopefully to figure out what the bugs are and still go forward and the new product down the stream and all that data's captured. So you can say, oh yeah, you know, last time we tried this, this is the. And it gets smart and kind of what everybody loves is AI and IQ and the seasons get predictable and the outcome. And that's where again, data is so exciting with our partnership, with this, to through pack site, you know, our TOPPS integration. Our now TRIAC and Compass integration. This is all pushing us towards really smart data that will help us do very smart things in the, in the future.

Cory Connors:

Yeah, the compass feature is a, well, frankly it's all a game changer, but the compass feature is the one as a sustainable packaging guy. I'm most excited about can you speak to that a little bit? How does that work?

Matthew Wright:

Yeah. Yeah. So it's, again, you know, we look at our, as ours is the data set, so, you know, I'd look at it as. Another filter another way to have what I'd say, you know, LCAs or very smart, sustainable data analytics at your fingertips at all times. And so if you look at, you know, everybody kind of historically talked about those, these master data centers, and so think of spec right, for your specifications as that. And all you're doing is. Tapping into that data to come to realize what you're trying to do from a visualization standpoint, and then obviously track and chart. Your course, it's, it's a philosophical part of the company, which is if there's a great tool that's out there that is meeting a need, but needs to be empowered by, you know, really solid data sets, which we have amazing ones today. Then we're going to integrate and use APIs to share technologies. And if something doesn't exist, it's really required and we'll build it. And so in this case, We, you know, we believe at this point that the dry accomplish a solution is, is a good tool that we should integrate with. And we've seen some, some interest in the market for not fantastic.

Cory Connors:

I want to pivot a little bit and ask, ask your opinion on recycling. Do you think recycling will, will catch up to the demands of the consumers

Matthew Wright:

recycling? Yeah. This is a challenging conversation because again, recycling. Very centric to the parts of the world you're in and the types of products. And you look at the really difficult, challenging conversations I think have to change. Some of the supply chain is, you know, we all love or, or think we love the concept of glass. The glass is very lowly, low recycled because it's a heavy product has to travel far distances. And so again, I think data will help us a be very predictable and where you should collections. Where you might want to make new manufacturing facilities or locations based upon kind of the product draws out of that region, that country, whatever you're trying to get the city. And now we can make those really smart decisions that are good for, you know, recyclability through data. And so my point to that, as you know, if you're seeing, and we know where a high percentage of a type of product that's being manufactured and then ultimately consumed, we also know where you should put, you know, collection centers recycling. Returnable centers, et cetera, into place. So it's, again, it's a data play. We're not quite there yet, but I can see in the years to come where there'll be so much data that will help us become better recyclers and be able to use products better through the recycling.

Cory Connors:

Absolutely agree. I just read your book and it was really, really good. Can you, can you speak to this? Can you tell us w first of all, why'd you write a book? I think I know, but I want, I'd like to hear from you the author.

Matthew Wright:

Okay. Appreciate it. Thank you for reading it. And it was it was a fun event. I, you know, I always give credit to, to others. And so. You know, a great group helping me through the process and really helped me do that. And you'll see kind of the credits of them in the book. So it's thanks to the group that helped assemble this. I think it came up amongst really the encouraging. That I tell all these stories constantly and, and the aha moment of why specification management, why this journey had to happen. And ultimately why, you know, it was me and not necessarily me as a person, but me in this position that had seen kind of what we opened the conversation with is all of these different things that, that were really the same core problem. You know, there's all these verticals where we're the same problem. And so a lot of encouragement to, Hey, you know, you need to write this to share it with. I think a lot of people enjoy it because it's stories they can relate to. I think the newer people into the business get a much better perspective of where things have come from. And it's not as bad as they may think, and it's only going to get better. And I think it also harpens and talks to the. Probably come kind of removed from the manufacturing world that maybe at a C-suite level that now helps them start to understand that no, this is a gap that we need to resolve. So great people are willing to put together encouragement to, to start putting it down. And that's kind of how it works with me is you know, somebody has to find the, stop me and say, you need to do something. That's what we did there. And so there's another one I'm sure coming. It's just goes a little bit deeper into all this, but I appreciate the feedback and any particular part of the book that you enjoyed more than others?

Cory Connors:

You know, I. The whole book was great. I appreciated the stories. I spent my first five years of my career working at a Weyerhaeuser or facility making corrugated boxes. So your stories about manufacturing boxes and, and how the customer was off on the chocolate bar by, you know 16th and all of a sudden when you put six of them tall, that turns in, you know, so all those boxes are. Garbage or need to be recycled. And it was, you know, millions of boxes and just, it's so simple to be off by a little bit, or to be, or to set the machine in correctly, or, you know, all of these details are so critical to success.

Matthew Wright:

Of, of whole project and nobody. And I appreciate that and nobody wants bad things to happen. You know, the, the sales person out there selling that product is obviously wants good things. The client wants good things that the person that's running that machine making the box wants to make a good box. It really is. I think we all in it together to do things right the first time. And again, that has to be the blueprint, the spec, the DNA of the product, and then all use the same visualization to make that happen. And so no, it's, it's a, it was a fun book to write. I tell a quick, funny story that obviously was reading a lot of proofs of the book throughout the process. When I got my first copy, like you did I read it front to back? I went into my team's office . It's actually a good book. And they laughed like, really? This is when you decide to tell us that you think that's a good book, but I think it's with help from great people. It flows the story to help it again, resonate with people like yourself. That's been in the business or people that have not been around the business to appreciate.

Cory Connors:

Well, I was impressed by your bravery to constantly reinvent yourself. That's not easy to do to start as a sales person like, like me and then to go into management and then to go into ownership and then to stop everything and start a whole new kind of company. It's really impressive.

Matthew Wright:

Do their impressive or crazy? We're not sure.

Cory Connors:

I think it's both. You're also holding a summit coming up soon. If, if you'd like to speak to the specification management summit in January.

Matthew Wright:

Can you tell us about that? It's my, the summit is my favorite time of the year. We, this will be our fourth one. They were historically called user group. This is now moving to summit and the concept of the summit, it's really been a concept from day one is bringing everybody together. These are clients that are using the system today. These are prospective clients that might use it. These are our partners. You know, you talked about a couple earlier and compost and others coming into this. And obviously very rich content. We run a very fast program. I look at very short sprints of 15 to 20 minutes cycles of very heavy informational use cases. What people are doing with the system, what the gaps are seeing in the market is we typically have some outsiders come and talk about supply chain or around supply chain Gartner, you know, perhaps SAP people like that will be at the meeting, talking about what they're seeing from an industrialized perspective. And so we really look at it not as a, as a commercial for Specright . But really that's why summit came about is where everybody's coming together and talk about the specifications and the value of specifications. You're aware of this, but we have a really big academic push we have from day one, we're in every classroom teaching packaging, basically. And so, you know, we'll have an academic panel there. That's part of our our group. And so just a really good chance to learn. We've been told by several clients that this is the most enriched program they go to during the year. And so excited this one's something.

Cory Connors:

And that's January 18th through the 20th at the brand new Thompson hotel in the heart of Austin.

Matthew Wright:

Yeah, we, we pick it's, it's, it's kind of funny. It's my mantra, which is I've spent so many events in, in bad hotels in the middle of nowhere. And so we've tried to make it a little bit funner. So we've done this is our second time back to Austin. We've done a Nashville which went really well. We did that at a Thompson and Nashville. And did new Orleans last year, or I'm sorry. Obviously COVID. And so we're back to Austin, Austin treaters really well. We'll have some great food and the local fair have amazing speakers clients, external people, plus spec. Right. And so I've encouraged you to join. You can go to the website, look for you know, where you register and certainly excited to hopefully have you and, and many others there. Yeah. Thank you so

Cory Connors:

much. Yeah, your team invited me and Adam Peek and Evelio Mattos . I think we'll do a little panel or something to, to talk more about spec rights. So. Great. Thanks. Thank you, sir. I'd like to thank you and your company Specright for sponsoring this podcast and we truly appreciate your support.

Matthew Wright:

Thank you so great to spend time with you, Cory . Thank you.