Contract Packager

Why Use a Contract Packager or Manufacturer

When choosing a contract packager, you are developing a partnership. A contract packaging partner must be able to complete your project at a competitive cost aligned with your time schedule with quality assurance. They may also solve common problems in start-up businesses, limited production facilities, concerns about equipment investments, physical facilities, personnel training and more.

Success Tips

Here are some reasons and tips why you may want to consider selecting a contract packager.

Review this handy guide

More Reasons to Use a CP/CM
Reasons Why You Should
  • No available in-house equipment or expertise for a particular job
  • Geographically separated facilities could serve the product better for national distribution
  • Non-standard packaging requiring special machinery or labor intensive work is specified
  • Product may more economically be shipped in bulk to a distant market, then unit packed locally
  • Short-term requirement that may be better served by specific experience or equipment you don't have
  • There's a warehouse full of a product that needs re-working to make it sale-able
  • There's a corporate downsizing in personnel, facilities or both
Reasons Why You Should Not
  • The need is unclear or at least not clearly stated
  • The problem can be more effectively and efficiently addressed using other methods
  • You think the contract packager can salvage a project that you suspect is no longer salvageable
  • The company is not organizationally or financially prepared to implement the contract packager's suggestions

More Information

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.

Contract 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 contract packager who can offer the specialized services you need.

Here's a step-by-step guide:

  1. Determine the nature and scope of the problem to be addressed.
  2. Consult the CPA website to find professional contract packagers with the specific expertise you need. If you have questions about a candidate's background, call and ask questions. The key staff at a professional contract packaging service will be happy to discuss the company's qualifications to solve your problems.
  3. Interview by phone or in person the most promising candidates to verify that their experience matches your needs.
  4. 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.
  5. 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/Fee Schedule" sections.
  6. Resist the temptation to base your decision on price alone. A contract 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 make up for the difference in the fees by saving you more money and solving your specific problems more efficiently.
  7. Provide input, support and on-going interest to the contract 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Be sure the contract 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.