Utilizing co-packers is a great way to reduce in-house capital costs and expand packaging options. Fully realizing cost-savings requires working closely with vendors.
Matching package design to equipment and capabilities is usually a two-way street, so it’s important to understand flexibility and efficiency trade-offs. Most co-packers utilize equipment that helps provide flexibility for a broad range of applications, but in many cases the trade-off is efficiency. Conversely, if equipment is designed to be efficient for a specific type of package, it will usually lead to less range or flexibility. “Can” the equipment produce the package, and “should” the equipment produce the package are different questions, so how well the package design is aligned with the strike zone should be considered for the piece of equipment.
Aligning Packaging Design
Package design collaboration is important for cost control and subtle changes can be made to adjust the package to align better with equipment capabilities and how the package is created or assembled. Aesthetics and functionality are considered in the design at this point and brand managers can balance achieving a look for the package while providing the functionality of holding, protecting, or delivering or dispensing the product. There may be a direct trade-off, but the best solutions will strike an attractive balance between aesthetics, functionality and cost.
Utilizing Bundled Services
To target the soft costs of project management co-packers offer upstream and downstream services ranging from design and printing to warehousing and fulfillment. One-stop shopping transfers communication, the integration of ideas, and complexity to a single source and also offers the real benefit of in-house coordination and speed. Collecting prices from multiple vendors to provide the same individual services will, at the surface, appear to reduce costs but overlooks many of the soft costs associated with coordinating multiple purchase orders, delivery dates, and logistics.