When you outsource your essential packaging services to a trusted third party, this process is often referred to as contract packaging or co-packing. Whether your business needs help scaling or you simply lack the proper equipment, experience, or facilities, there are many reasons you can benefit from working with a co-packer.
From developing product displays to offering specialized packaging, to creating unique product labels, outsourcing key packaging functions can save your company time and even cut shipping costs. Choosing who you want to partner with, however, can be a difficult decision to make, especially if they’re taking over a large portion of your production.
So, how do you find the right co-packer for your logistics business? Here are some important questions to ask and the capabilities to look out for:
1. How well do they communicate?
Effective communication is a critical part of establishing successful partnerships and optimizing shipping operations. Your co-packer should be readily available when you need them, and they should be clear about how they run their production processes. Also, make sure to understand the customer support structure they have in place and that their reporting capabilities meet your needs. Trust starts with transparency.
2. What quality control measures do they have in place?
Without careful measures in place to catch mistakes or inefficiencies, poor-quality goods can slip through the cracks and reflect badly on your brand. To avoid, or lower, the chances of this happening to you, it’s important to verify how a co-packer is monitoring the quality of their processes and ensure reliable QA (Quality Assurance) practices are in place.
3. Do your needs match their minimum volume requirements?
Many larger co-packers have high minimum runs, so if you aren’t selling enough to guarantee the volume they need to take on your business, then they probably aren’t a good fit. On the other hand, if you overreach to meet their minimum, you could be left with a surplus of inventory that’s not worth the additional expenses.
4. How much of your production do you want to outsource?
Assessing your own needs is just as important as assessing a co packer’s capabilities because handling a company’s packaging processes is very different from providing end-to-end supply chain solutions. By definition, supply chains are a connected group of experts handling the part they are best at. Pinpointing how a co-packer can best fit into your overall supply chain based on what it does best will create the best solution for you.
5. Are their packaging options optimal for your specific product?
Specialized products need specialized services. Make sure your co-packer has the appropriate equipment and training to handle your goods and do the work to your standards. Also, identify what they pack and what they don’t pack. For example, while some facilities may specialize in food products and have the necessary certifications, others will not.
6. Do they have ideal facility locations for what you need?
Don’t overlook the importance of physical distance. Co-packers with geographic limitations may be unable to give you the service you need to keep your customers satisfied and your shipping costs on budget.
Questions like these are a great way to start the process of working with a co-packer. To learn more information, download Keller Logistics’ Warehousing & Co-Packing Overview, and subscribe to our blog.