Specification writing – it’s the gnarly, practical, exacting – but extremely important – part of getting a product onto the market. Without clear, accurate specs, nothing gets anywhere near the shelves of a supermarket.
Andrew Skinner and his team at TQS Food Consulting, have specialized in writing technical specifications for supermarket-bound food products for over twenty years, so you can be sure he knows his onions when it comes to what can go wrong.
His experience has been distilled into his new book, Write it Right (…Or How to Avoid the Seven Silly Slip-Ups of Supermarket Spec Writing). It’s a clear, concise guide to the main points that can trip up any spec writer working in the pressurised world of food production and marketing.
He knows that once the deals are struck, the recipes agreed and the price decided on, the race is on to get the product ready to go. Only now does the spec writer get to step up, hence they are almost always under huge pressure to get the specifications and pack copy ready – fast. This is where things can go wrong – and where Andrew’s book can act as a valuable tool and aide memoir to the hard-pressed writer in the specification hot-seat.
Andrew describes the seven most common things that can go wrong with spec writing – the Silly Slip-Ups – and gives real-world examples of the sometimes very expensive consequences of these problems. All his observations are based on scenarios he has seen played out time and again. They range from the purely practical (ensuring you have the right login details for the spec system you’re using), to the inter-personal (the need to be assertive with colleagues and stakeholders, when trying to get the latest, accurate, information for the product, even when they are too darned busy to do so).
The book is designed to help the spec writer navigate through the information minefield, arriving safely on the other side with a perfect specification, accurate, complete and on time.
In fact, Andrew’s stated aim is to help people to write their specs right first time, on time, every time.
He acknowledges that spec writing can be a dry and technical subject, so he takes the opportunity to lighten the mood by introducing ‘Super Speccie’, a bespectacled hero who flies to the rescue in a series of cartoons that illustrate the book.
At a handy A5 size, printed in colour throughout, Write it Right is an easy read, packed with incredibly useful information. The wiro-bound format allows it to sit flat on a desk for easy reference, and there is space for notes.
Included in the Appendices is a checklist giving 40 of the most common items a good spec needs to contain, and he also includes an example of the spreadsheet used at TQS to ensure complete, correct specs, first time, every time!
About The Author
Managing Director of the respected TQS Food Consulting, Andrew Skinner has 40 years of experience in the food industry. During that time he has encountered pretty much all the obstacles and pitfalls that food and retail business has to offer.
With more than two decades specialising in specification writing, he is very aware of the importance of clear, accurate information – and the difficulties involved in getting it. His new book, Write it Right, is a fabulous guide to making the process as easy and as painless as possible.
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