Sustainable Packaging

Hire the Spec Squad and Dazmii to help your business / Eric Norman

June 05, 2022 Cory Connors Season 2 Episode 64
Sustainable Packaging
Hire the Spec Squad and Dazmii to help your business / Eric Norman
Show Notes Transcript

https://dazmii.com/
https://www.linkedin.com/in/eric-norman-7b780a22/

Do you need help with your business? 
Do you want to use Specright but need help entering all of your specs? 
How does the gig economy work? 

https://www.landsberg.com/

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 . Today's episode is really cool. Mr. Eric Norman, who goes by norm is the spec squad lead and the spec data management specialist. He's also a partner and senior consultant at Dazmii , how are you? Good. How are you doing good. Thank you so much for taking time. We met just a few weeks ago at the Specright , right summit and in Austin, Texas, that was an amazing event. Can you tell me a little bit about your background and kind of where you're, where you're from and how things, how you got into this? Sure.

Eric Norman:

Yeah. I am an MSU Spartan grad about 22 years ago, which is crazy, crazy to say I've been in the packaging industry for the, all those years in some way, shape or form started out. Automotive did a little industrial got into food and Bev where I started to find this concept of spec data management, and really, really enjoyed that coupled with the packaging. And I ended up moving back to Michigan. I live in the Dewitt, Michigan lands, north of Lansing areas, mid Michigan, go green. And I just have always really loved the packaging industry and the data that went along with it. It kind of drove me to this career choice.

Cory Connors:

Yeah. That's an amazing area up there. I we were talking about before the show started, my friend lived in port Huron, Michigan, and that's, that's just a beautiful area. Love, love that state. So I can see why people set up.

Eric Norman:

Yeah, I'm a fan.

Cory Connors:

Definitely. So tell us about the spec squad and spec Dan and data management. When we met at spec right summit there, I think this was a big question for a lot of people is how do they get their data of all of their specifications for their packaging and their. Into the spec right. Software. And what you do with the spec squad is solve that problem, right?

Eric Norman:

Correct. Yeah. Yeah. We're going through that, that ups cycle is Matthew is talked about at spec, right? Where, you know, we've gone, we're going from the. Management systems to the data management systems. And so it's that transition of getting that information from the documents structured into the system. And you can enter all that in yourself at integration, or at a point when there's a an acquisition. But what we found is, and even in my experience, we have all these technical resources that should be focusing on creating the new products, looking for those cost savings, driving the company. And that data is so important. Yeah. They need to be there too. So it's tough to have. You know, let's say a temp worker do it. You can do it, but you still have to bring the engineering resources in to do a bulk of the review. And so what we decided to do is build this service that would bring in people that have been on internship students that are in the programs that would be managing this. 'cause I can recall as a student coming up, not understanding what that, how that data was driving the business. And so we're trying to figure out ways to say, look, here's a technical resource that has, you know, you would potentially bring on anyways to do this type of work. We're doing it at an ad hoc basis for a short period of time at a, you know, a reasonable cost. And we're teaching the students about your process, your system, your data, and help get transitioned it from that document to that system. And so we can swarm it, right. Something that you might only have three resources for it. We can now take 20 resources and do it for you, right. And try to help increase that timeline so that you're or decrease that timeline. So you're able to get that work in there faster. And so using this.

Cory Connors:

So you have a network of students and maybe retired professionals who are from the packaging industry, or hoping to go into the packaging industry and they understand. You know, what an RSC is, what an FOL means, , because when you're looking at data in regards to packaging, there's a lot of lingo. There's a lot of three letter phrases. There's a lot of , and I think you have to have some intrinsic knowledge to understand what those mean while you're entering. Data because it very easily could be off. And that's a lot of what Specright . Does is help you scrub all that data and make sure it's accurate. Correct.

Eric Norman:

As well as once you're looking at something in that. Being able to find that using that 5s method, to be able to watch those things jump out at you or see those similarities to help reduce redundancies in your system. And those students are able to pick up on that really quick, because of that knowledge of what's an FMLA, what's an RFC, a dye cut, right. Or even just some of the simple conversions of inches to millimeters, you know, they're just, now they know it like the back of their hand because they're touching it all the time. So that's the, that's the concept and in you're right. We're embracing that gig tech, that gig movement. Right? So students who want to go into the industry and retirees that want to help mentor the students, or maybe just make a little bit of income, whether it be contracting or consulting or mentoring, and then work at home parents. You know, that want to stay in the industry. If they've got time and they want to do it, we want to bring them on help them. And we're, we're focusing on packaging right now, but we're also doing food science, chemical engineering, all the items and all the majors that are going to relate to this upside cycle in data management.

Cory Connors:

That's a really great point. A lot of people assume Specright is just about packaging, but spec right. Is all about the product. It can be about the process of how something is put together. I love those videos where they were showing. Okay. You're on the line. You've got your iPad. You can see, okay, this is step one. This is step two. Now we'll flip through these pictures. It's so incredibly helpful and that's, that's static. That's always there for any employee across the world because of turnover and retraining and all of these things. Brilliant. Yeah. Thank you. Yeah. So how's the response from the students? Are they excited to be a part of this program or are you getting a lot of interest?

Eric Norman:

Yeah, I, I went in a little bit apprehensive thinking this might be a step down for them. Right. They want to be an engineer. Why would they want to do data entry? Cause you know, we call it digital transformation, but let's be honest, a lot of data entry. Right. But I was really surprised when I talked to him about it and the interest I had, the questions I had. And I haven't seen this trend more interested in the tech associated with it. I had seen a system in my internship. It was really neat. We did some data entry with it, but then I researched Specright . And it was really cool. Or I saw spec right in the classroom. I want to know more about it. And so they're really interested in getting into the system and understanding it, knowing it's a stepping stone for hopefully bigger and better things. Yeah, my guess is we might even be able to pull students that worked for Dazmii one day, you know, that actually liked that side of it. Right. Kind of another norm. So to speak, who, who fell in love with the systems?

Cory Connors:

Right? Yeah. Tell us about Dazmii what's. What's that? Focus there.

Eric Norman:

So Desmos. We're focused right now on obviously the spec squad inspect data management. We also have a packaging contracting and consulting arm that we offer up services. We do believe that, you know, companies are being strapped more and more to cut head count, unfortunately, but they still need those resources. So we want to make sure we offer up kind of that full suite. Dazmii as a company. Is a little bit different. So we're trying to embrace the entrepreneur. That's a little bit afraid to take a step out and we want to have them come on as a as part of the company. And we want to help set them up. So if they liked making chocolate, we're actually working with someone who does pet food or pet treats. This individual loves making pet treats, but they don't know the business side of it so much. We're helping them with the business side. We're letting them have their passion and keep their passion and drive it, but then helping them, helping them with that. And it's not like we're trying to make money off of them. We just want to support them. And yet we'll take a small administrative fee, but we want to help support that. Do the things that they love and, and build income and their business and have success with it. And we also want to drive back into the community. I tell this story of always wanting to create a brewery called homeless hooch, where you actually have homeless people running the brewery in a lot of the funds, go back into alcohol awareness and help. So the thing that's the problem create that the solution we're also things like that. So that does mean as a whole, but right now we're just focusing with the kids and, and helping us spec data database.

Cory Connors:

That's a great idea. I love that homeless hoot would I'd support that for sure. So yeah, that's, that's really cool. The gate, the gig economy is fascinating to me. There, there are so many. Millions of people around the, around the world who, you know, they have five hours a week or 10 hours a week, and they could easily sit at their laptop on the couch enter some specs you know, and it's very valuable service they're providing because, you know, we don't have enough employees, so it really makes sense.

Eric Norman:

Yeah. And the whole flexibility piece I can remember as a student, you know, it might, I, I would get, you know, that, that study block, and if I could just go do something else for an hour and actually make money doing it, I would've done it in a heartbeat. So why not offer it up to them?

Cory Connors:

Right. Rather than going to play a video game for an hour, you can go, you know, enter some specs for an hour, learn a little bit while you're making some cash. Brilliant. Love the idea. Okay, so what's, what's going on with you? Anything exciting locally there? Snowing?

Eric Norman:

Yeah, we just got done with a huge snow storm. We've dug ourselves out and it's actually starting to warm up. We're just really starting to, we're all looking for the warmups so we can get back on campus and, and enjoy the sunny weather and hang out with the kids a little bit and make sure that they got what they need and continue to teach them spec management.

Cory Connors:

So, are you a professor as well?

Eric Norman:

No. I'm not. That would be awesome. Yeah. I am working with spec right, right now. And some materials for the universities. I'm always trying to help out the students, but I've been following an Adam Armstrong's kind of path too. He does a little bit of ad hoc or adjunct work with Cal poly work towards that at some point.

Cory Connors:

Adam Armstrong is really, really smart guy. I've I've had the honor of talking to him a lot. He's one of the original employees at spec, right? Yeah.

Eric Norman:

So funny story. I don't know if there's time for this and that, but sure. So when I was a, an engineer at ConAgra, we had just launched Oracle PLM as our main spec management platform. Our procurement team brought in this new company. And their CEO, Matthew Wright, and talking about how we should be looking at this for our packaging specs, this new company called spec rate. And, you know, we had just, we were in the middle and we're actually working with their procurement team at how to like create process so that they're involved in everything. And now all of a sudden they're bringing this in. So to say the least, I was a little bit grumpy. Matthew caught the tail end of that, right? As we were talking about this and he's trying to sell a system and it was a good system, it was great. It was at that time just focused on packaging. And we were one of the first people he was going after. And I can remember in that meeting saying, you know, that'd be great, but it's not on-prem, you know, this whole cloud thing we don't know about yet. Right. It'd be great. If you had students that would actually just manage the data. Right. But he was still so kind like, again, a grumpy norm. It's still not that it was a grumpy norm and he was kind, and then, you know, fast forward, I think that was what, six to 10 years ago. And fast forward, and one night I'm a camp or check out spec race, you know, they're doing and see how the system's gone in a box pops up. So I'm thinking I'm just going to mess with the bot and see what type of technology. Instead, I get a person the next day, I'm talking to Adam Armstrong and all of a sudden now I'm, you know, we were in a partnership with speck squad, but it's been absolutely amazing and they've been so kind and Adam's been great. And he told me this story about he had gotten hired right after that meeting to kind of help out. So it's, it's been kind of a cool.

Cory Connors:

I love those stories. They are really growing quickly. And because it's, it's obvious that their services are needed and will be very helpful and necessary. And in the future I love the sustainability aspect of what they do, where you can take a product how it's packaged and then make some tweaks to it and say, okay, is this more sustainable or less sustainable? And they even break it down to a conversion factor that people can understand, okay, this would use this many barrels of. You know, and then if you did it this way, it would save this many. And I thought, wow, that is see that's, what's been missing from this sustainability idea. You know, how do you, how do you measure. Oh, it's, it's, it's 500 pounds of, of CO2. What does that mean? Nobody knows. What, what does that mean? You know, I don't know what that means. And I'm studying this, you know, I daily I'm like reading articles and trying to understand it. T to put sustainability into a measure that people can, can imagine, you know, the number of cars on the road, you know, or something like that. I really liked that concept.

Eric Norman:

Yeah. That it is, it's a moving needle. Right. You see, as you continue to look at sustainability, there's another metric or there's another thing, right? What was. Good before is now considered bad. So we're still learning, which is exciting. Right. And what's cool is now to say, here's a platform that can, you can change the rule, but not the data. Right? So if it was CO2 today and your data set and you can measure it, and if it was something else tomorrow, if your data's Eric, it's like this versus this huge event that you now have to go gather again and recalculate. So you're right there platform and the things that they're building and what you're able to do with. The help, like stay on top of the sustainability stuff is just great.

Cory Connors:

Yeah. And like you said, it's, it's finite it's you know, it's that data's there it's stagnant, but we can look at it different ways we can refine it. We can. I'm so I'm so excited about it. It's you know, we talk about it all the time because it's, it's such a great. Yeah. So what's the future for you guys? See, you're going to continue to grow the, the gig squad or the spec squad.

Eric Norman:

Yeah, we you know, we know like if with the work that Matthew's doing with Specright and then network, we hope to have one day where we're focusing more on the vendors. Right. And getting their data set. So it's set in a network and it can flow through to the client as best as possible. But we also want to do other things like. You know, do some hard sample reviews, right? We know that time is of the essence. What if we got on a subscription basis, your finished some of your finished goods. We measure it to make sure it's part of it's what's in the system is accurate, you know, not that a vendor would ever try to, you know, sell you something less, but what if they made a mistake and there's an issue in the field to now, you know, it's the material, not the spec, right? Those types of things, we're lucky. As well as again, continuing to offer up new ways to help support the packaging industry, whether that be contract packaging or, or something else we want to go with as the industry goes and just stay close knit with all the people that we went to school with we developed with, and then continue to expand the spec squad to other universities. Stout Clemson Polytech, and just keep bringing more and more and kind of make this across the U S as much as.

Cory Connors:

Yeah. I love that. And shout out to our friend Carson, Moe, who were sponsoring Adam and availa. When I I wore my UW stout sweatshirt today to support him, I knew I'd be talking to you. So I'd like to think Landsberg Orora for sponsoring this podcast. We really appreciate it. If you're listening, please subscribe and download all the episodes. So you have them for when you're on the airplane or wherever you're going. Thank you again, Eric. We really appreciate.

Eric Norman:

Oh, I had a great time. Thank you so much.