Product Packaging: Five Questions To Ask To Ensure Outstanding Contract Packaging Solutions
To satisfy your packaging needs, you need a provider that gives you flexible dependability. How well your business does fiscally is often a direct result of the packaging choices you make - so we have created a simple checklist that helps you compare and contrast the strengths and offers you will find when you start to look at the different vendor options for a packaging partner.
#1 How much experience do you have?
Experience is the #1 bullet here for a reason: experience is what will best serve your interests. So look for providers that offer you expertise in both primary, and secondary packaging. You want someone with experience (preferably an in-house support team) that is on the leading edge of design trends and has the ability to properly vet and field-test new ideas, so there is less risk when you decide to try them. Experienced providers are going to help you to better understand the limits and requirements of the major retailers - bringing you to more potential markets. And while a specialty in one industry is sometimes a plus, in packaging situations you want to find a provider that has served a variety of industries, so they are offering you the best possible picture of the opportunities.
#2 Where are your contract packaging facilities located?
Especially as many manufacturers try to cut costs by bringing packaging to (often ill-equipped) overseas providers, having localized outsourcing helps maintain your basic levels and finer measures of quality. By using local supply chain partners for raw materials, some packaging providers can help you to reduce the transportation costs and delays. If you are selling to a US market, you are going to benefit from being able to penetrate key US markets, like Chicago and Los Angeles. If your outsourced packaging partner has local capabilities, you are going to be in control of your process and diminish your overhead - ultimately increasing your speed-to-market with superior products, in less time.
#3 Do you offer a variety of contract packaging options?
A couple questions you might ask a potential provider would include: What type of packaging equipment do you have? What certifications does your facility have? You want to find facilities with state-of-the-art equipment, and a host of proper certifications. Certifications indicate that your provider is respected and trusted in their own industries, so you are going to get higher quality levels. Plus, there may be instances where a specific organic or kosher certification is crucial to your effort - so you need to know that your outsourced packaging partner has this under control for you. Really good providers offer deep quality assurance programs, because they value your business and want to keep you as a satisfied customer - they know how important this is to you. The best providers offer you turnkey options complete with project management tools, so you can focus your efforts on the products, and know that every option you need to consider in the proper packaging is being addressed by the depth of options your partner is bringing to the table for you.
#4 Can you help our company with fulfillment services after a product is packaged?
If you find the right partner, you can start to look beyond just the packaging into streamlining processes that add up to more savings for you. Some will offer you full pack & pick and drop shipping capabilities, so you need to know the in-house shipping teams used are quick and reliable. Some providers offer you warehousing as well, so you can keep the post-production services all managed under one roof. The best providers are going to offer you additional guidance and experience with POP display assembly and other rework projects, or be able to help you find the right answers there as your needs arise. (see 'Experience' in bullet #1)
#5 Do you provide ' turnkey' packaging solutions?
So how many hours a day do you have to micromanage your partners? If you are like most successful businesses, that answer is zero, so you are going to be well served to seek a partner who can bundle some necessities for you. Rather than trying to coordinate a variety of different teams, you can get complete project management for one lower overall cost, and MUCH less hassle. They will jump in, and evaluate the logistics of the packaging materials supply. As the packaging project progresses, inventory control is your key to success - so having these levels expertly managed by skilled professionals increases your likelihood for sustained profits. Perhaps the best benefit of a turnkey solution, is the partner brings specialized vendor relationships to the table that you would struggle to make on your own - so your projects benefit from their experience (see bullet #1) and their ongoing relationships. The right partner increase your power exponentially, because you stay focused on why your products are great - not what happens once they leave the assembly line.
Choosing the right packaging partner is a process that should be approached with a willingness to look at the companies you are comparing, and seeing how they truly stack-up against each other. Using the simple 5 steps outlined above, you should be well on your way to finding a provider you can trust for a partnership that benefits you both.