From family businesses to the largest multinational brands, many manufacturers rely on co-packers as a way to enhance production efficiencies and reduce costs. For some brands, co-packers are a production adjunct, allowing them to increase capacity at peak times without large investments in equipment and other capital expenses. For these and other reasons, a partnership with a co-packer is a great way to manage both long- and short-term projects.
Based on examples from more than 20 years of experience as a co-packer, Crown Speciality Packaging North America has developed a short checklist that can help guide brands in their search to find the right partner at the right time.
Tip No. 1: Look for a one-stop shop to simplify logistics. Many co-packers can go beyond packing your products. They can transport your goods to other locations, work with other vendors to consolidate packaging efforts, and streamline processes. This way, you only have to deal with one partner while several others work for you behind the scenes.
Example: Crown not only produces metal tins; it also can co-pack a range of goods including pre-bagged coffee or tea. In addition, it can expedite shipping to several locations of a client’s choice.
Tip No. 2: A co-packer must have the expertise, resources and staff in place to streamline logistics and get products to market faster. By working with an experienced partner, you have the peace of mind that duediligence is being conducted, and if issues arise, they can help identify next steps to reach a solution.
Example: Crown’s facility in Belcamp, Md., produces specialty packaging and has a dedicated co-packing facility in the same plant. This makes it easier and faster to make the changes necessary forthe package manufacturing process or packing method before or during production. Having the two units close by means engineers can get immediate, real-time feedback on adjustments made. This streamlined process can save resources across the board.
Tip No. 3: Your chosen co-packing partner needs to be able to make recommendations to improve efficiencies during the packing process. The project cannot be a one-way street, where you provide directions and the co-packer conducts the tasks. There needs to be dialogue between you and your partner. This way, efficiencies can be put in place at the beginning or in the middle of a project.
Example: Crown is able to apply its expertise by evaluating packing orders provided by the customer prior to the start of the project to determine whether the supplied instructions are the most efficient. If not, it will work with you to tweak plans as necessary.
Tip No. 4: Sometimes, your co-packing partner can even function as an extension of your business. It can take on additional responsibilities to assist in different steps of the packing supply chain.
Example: Crown can work with other vendors to source any additional required packaging materials, including pallets and labels. It also, on occasion, coordinates supplementary options including shrink bands and sleeves, full shrink-wrapping, coupon insertion and labeling.
Tip No. 5: An extra perk of working with a co-packer is that it should be able to provide logistical support. This way, there is no need to ship anything back to your facility before your product reaches store shelves or commercial distribution centers.
Example: Crown can transport product to distribution centers or directly to specific retail locations, reducing freight.
Of course, these rules are not set in stone when working with co-packers, but they are additional services you might be able to specify when you do want to go further than just packing with a partner. Your co-packer needs to fulfill the expectations you set forth—even the ones beyond just packing.