Whether you are a start-up or Fortune 100 Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) company, outsourcing to contract packaging companies is commonplace. When selecting a contractor, there are several key factors you need to consider.
The contractor landscape is diverse and fragmented with specialists operating in each area. With such varied options, understanding not only‘tangible’ assets of a particular provider but also a company’s ‘intangible’ contributes will help you in the decision making process.
Your primary focus is to work with a packaging company that can meet the requirements of your product. This supplier should have the qualifications, certifications, and production capabilities to meet the project requirements.
As with anything, there are always exceptions. Below is a list of priorities that are most relevant to contract packaging project.
Below is a list of priorities that are relevant to the majority of contract packaging project, regardless of scope or size. The best contractors will be able to address each concern listed below effectively.
Packaging services involve more than high-tech machinery and laborers. You need to have the confidence that the packaging company you partner with is a qualified problem solver, and innovator.
Do you need package design support?
Do you need help sourcing and procuring materials?
Do you require expertise in third-party logistics services, box store mandates, palette development, or structural concerns?
Packing services offer everything from “tolling (labor) only” to full-service “turnkey” operations, and everything in between.
Full-service “turnkey” operations are experienced in project management. This includes a comprehensive understanding of the supply chain, selecting materials, and getting the most out of each stage of the process.
As the packaging industry requires more mandated certifications, labeling specifications, and retail packaging requirements, you will need to partner with a specialist in the field. Working with a packaging company that understands each phase of the process, from design to dropshipping, ensures the project is handled efficiently.
The company you choose to partner with needs to have the ability to maintain the proper machines, personnel, and workspace necessary to complete your project. These factors are vital to the success of your project, and should not be overlooked.
Before committing to a contract packaging company, you should consider asking what equipment will be used on the project and request a walk-through of each stage of the process. Requiring a walkthrough will allow you to see first-hand whether or not the company has the capability and capacity to work with your program effectively and efficiently.
It is essential for your project to fall within the packaging company’s “sweet spot,” reflecting core specialties of the packaging process. Asking the contractor to “reach” beyond their normal scope of work poses the risk of potential complications.
Remember to seek similar references from similar projects to assess each company’s past successes.
Changes are inevitable in the contract packaging industry. It is critical you find a partner who can guarantee they possess the ability to respond quickly, making necessary adjustments during the project. Last minute changes in project details can result in planning, scheduling, and management conflicts that can stall timelines. In some cases, changes can result in line shutdowns, that can derail an organized operation.
Make it a priority to understand how potential contract packaging company would handle such difficulties on your behalf. It is essential to ensure the company will remain entirely dedicated to achieving the success of the packaging project.
Most packaging companies will up-charge for rushed projects, or for a small pilot run. This is standard and should be expected when consulting a contractor. Stay focused on long-term benefits of each relationship rather than short-term costs associated with smaller runs.
The “whatever-it-takes” culture that is dedicated to working through challenges is commonplace in the contract packaging industry. Having robust communication with the production manager about plans and goals for the project is critical to its success. Take time to speak with the assigned account manager on both a personal and business level to be sure they will remain accountable to you and your needs.
Common sense may lead you to believe; it is logical to be located near the establishment handling your project. In reality, it is often more profitable to choose a facility that is near the supplies or distribution center.
Packaging specialists know and understand, end products will package out much more significant than single components. It is essential to ask your contractor for this information so that you can choose the least expensive facility.
For example, sending smaller, lighter products cross-country, may lead to the most affordable, resourceful, and flexible co-packer. In such a situation, this packaging company would still be a logical option, despite the distance.
On-site visits for new job start-ups are always recommended. Visiting a new job site in-person can help solidify your relationship and expectations of the project with the company.
By sticking to these guidelines and being involved in early stages of the project, you can rest easy knowing the qualified contract packaging operations will be able to handle your project remotely.
While cost plays a vital role in your decision-making process, it should not be the determining factor for packaging projects. As a general rule of thumb, you should budget 10% of the cost of retail items for packaging costs. Make it a point to know your budget before speaking with potential contractors.
Packaging services is a “custom business. Each potential position for copackers brings its unique customer personality, assembly instructions, and various client needs. With that being said, it is important to know; the best contract packaging company is not the one the lowest prices, it is the one with the best laborers.
The Bottom Line
Your choice of a contractor has a direct and dramatic impact on your product’s profitability. Selecting the ideal turnkey packaging expert will help reduce your out of pocket costs while simultaneously improving the overall efficiency of your supply chain.
The supplier you choose must be one you can trust. They must possess adequate experience, resources, and have the ability to custom-fit viable solutions to meet your needs.
By utilizing the guide above proudly and happily provided by www.rtagencies.ca, finding a qualified, dependable contractor will be easier than you once thought.