Location. Convenient location relative to your manufacturing and distribution facilities can save delivery time and lower freight charges, possibly impacting the total cost of your project. But keep in mind that the savings achieved by using the most qualified contract packager can easily outweigh most freight considerations.
Strong Ethics. There simply is no substitute. If you don't have complete confidence in the honesty and integrity of the contract packager you work with, then the service and information that contract packager offers is of little or no value. Ask yourself some questions - Does this company have high standards? Is there facility clean and orderly? What sort of production and quality controls are in place? Can they show you training records? Are they willing to let your staff periodically monitor progress on-site? Click here for the Contract Packaging Association's Standards of Conduct.
Good Communication. The contract packager must know what your situation is before offering options. Beware of candidates who don't listen to what you have to say. Brilliant thoughts and innovative solutions will do you no good if the contract packager doesn't have the communication skills he or she needs to pass those ideas on to you.
Controls. Be sure you see eye-to-eye on detailed paperwork or control requirements and that the company is set up to put the proper procedures in place. Make sure the contract packager you hire has the analytical skills needed to help you develop a full and accurate picture of problems, solutions, and the various repercussions of those solutions.
Personality. A good match of personalities between the client and the contract packager's key staff helps ensure a successful relationship. If a contract packager's company representative has a demeanor that doesn't suggest that he or she has what it takes to get the job done, he or she probably won't.
Quality. Look for signs of innovation, unique approaches, and a different perspective. Ask about whether the contract packager has a quality program in place and discuss their production controls.
Strong references. Ask for a list of other clients.