I concur with Charles in that the subject is quite large and you need to break it down in Sub Categories and look at the requirements for each of these.
They all will have the following;
- Dimension Characteristics
- Material Characteristics
- Performance Characteristics
The performance characteristics are where is gets interesting, as these are specific to each packaging subcategory or substrate;
- Paper - Corrugated
- Paper - Folding Carton
- Paper - Self adhesive Label
- Paper - Wraps
- Paper - Multiwall Bags/Sacks
- Flexibles - Blown and cast film (plain and printed)
- Flexibles - Laminated film (plain and printed)
- Rigid Plastics - Blow moulded
- Rigid Plastics - Injection Moulded
- Rigid Plastics - Thermoformed
- Rigid Plastics - Rotomoulded
- Rigid Plastics - Injection Blow
- Metal - Tinplate Cans and components
- Metal - Steel Drums
- Metal - Strapping
- Metal - Closures
- Glass - Containers
- Wood - Pallets and Bins
- Wood - Sticks and spoons
- Others - Adhesives, glues, tape etc
Artwork specifications change more frequently and are best managed in a separate single template/format, which can cover all the sub categories.
Raw Materials specifications are also required to manage your approved materials for your products (especially important for food products). Great when quickly you need to see where a material is used when there is an issue.
Tooling and Dies also need to be managed in a specification as these are your valuable assets that need to be managed for your IP and ownership.
As you can see this is quite a lot of work and needs a carefully planned approach.
You can get off the shelf software that can do all this for you, or you can use a packaging specialist to help you build your own system (usually Word or Excel based).
The key is to not over spec your packaging and only choose the performance characteristics that apply to the specific packaging item spec you are drafting.
You will be very reliant on your packaging vendor for most of the figures if you do not have access to testing facilities to find these out yourselves.
Be honest with your packaging vendors when asking for this information, but remember they will try and keep some of the information back from you to protect their commercial advantage.
Hope this helps