Selecting A Co-Packager

7 September 2008
Posted by Aaron Thomas

Selecting a Copacker

Contract packagers (or co-packagers) can offer expert, cost-efficient, practical solutions to help you initiate, organize, streamline or improve your packaging or packaging operations.

The secret is finding a co-packager who can offer the specialized services you need. Here are some important points to consider when selecting a co-packaging service:

  • Determine, as closely as possible, the nature and scope of the problem to be addressed, and the specific problem or task that you would like the co-packager to work on.
  • Consult this website to find professional co-packagers with the specific expertise you need.
  • Identify co-packagers with the expertise you require. Conduct a preliminary assessment of each of the most promising and appropriate candidates.
  • If you have questions about a candidate’s background, call and ask questions. The key staff at a professional co-packaging service will be happy and proud to discuss the company’s qualifications to solve your problems, the staff’s professional experience, offer references, and supply any information needed to help you make your decision.
  • Interview by phone or in person the most promising candidates to verify that their experience matches your needs.
  • Find out if the candidate is an active, professional co-packager. Be sure to ask any question that might have a bering on a contract packager’s qualifications. What types of projects has the company worked on in the past? How long has the company been in operation? How big is the company? What size company does the contract packager most frequently work with? How are fees typically determined? How many of the contract packager’s accounts are repeat business? Is it a member of and active in the Contract Packaging Association?
  • Meet the key staff. Make sure you are introduced to the quality control and operations people. The managerial and supervisory staff should have extensive experience in your industry with an understanding of your markets and a strong engineering background. The co-packager also should have training records for inspection by a prospective customer for the asking.
  • Visit the facility to check out the housekeeping. A co-packager should be agreeable to letting you view the premises unless it would violate a confidentiality agreement.
  • Once you’ve finished the interviewing process, request project proposals from the contract packagers whom you are seriously considering hiring. Make sure the final proposal(s) contain well-defined “Scope of Work,” “Services to be Provided,” and “Description of Fees” or “Fee Schedule” sections.
  • Consider what is not in the proposals as well as what is: production rates, number of shifts, penalties for order changes or cancellation, storage for raw materials and finished product, and so forth.
  • Resist the temptation to base your decision on price alone. A co-packager should ultimately act as an extension of your business. Often, what appears at first to be a more expensive contract packaging service will more than makeup for the difference in the fees by saving you more money and solving your specific problems more efficiently.
  • After you’ve fine-tuned details and reached an agreement on the co-packager’s proposal (particularly the “Scope of Work” section), sign a contract and/or issue an appropriate purchase order.
  • Provide input, support and on-going interest to the co-packager throughout the project. Bear in mind that you may be asking the contract packager to become familiar overnight with the knowledge of systems, technology and product quirks your company has had years to develop and work through.
  • Be open to suggestions. Contract packagers are innovative, versatile and accustomed to efficiently working within narrow time frames. From experience, they often can suggest minor modifications that will save your company time and money.
  • Be sure the co-packager knows and your organization understands that the contract packager is working for an executive within your company with sufficient authority to ensure that the contract packager has the full cooperation of everyone involved with the project.

If you are ready to hire a contract packager, please call us today!

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