Like most industries there are primary ways companies differentiate; cost, superior product or outstanding service. These are the roots of disciplines that are typically combined to create value.
Cost. Most industries have, and are suited for, low-cost providers of goods or services. Low cost labor, scale, and low overhead costs help many packaging companies maintain low-cost models. Obviously the picture isn’t perfect; choosing vendors based on one approach or a blend almost always will involve benefit trade-offs.
Bundled services – moving up and downstream. Services range from design and printing to warehousing and fulfillment, and offer a real benefit of in-house coordination and speed. Having a single responsible source transfers communication, the integration of ideas, and complexity to a single provider and can be a great solution–especially when soft costs are difficult to manage.
Thought leadership. Contract packagers can be a great source for packaging innovation, or technical expertise in process automation to drive down costs. Tapping vendors for new ideas grounds innovation not only from an outside source but from a place of practicality. Challenging vendors to solve problems can provide new ideas with a different perspective, and broadens the intellectual range of any business.
Robust systems. Contract packagers, like vendors servicing any industry, develop robust systems to meet the requirements of sophisticated buyers with complex needs for information. Good systems create visibility, facilitate real time management, and provide forward looking information to help make decisions. The day-to-day challenge for packagers is to maintain both great systems and the flexibility and speed valued in the industry.
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