Skip to content

Co-Packing: The Complete Guide

Time to read 9 min

The Complete Guide To Co-Packing

Are you in the market for Co-Packing / Contract Packaging?

Maybe you are starting an exciting new business and looking for help to bring your product to market. Or your company is already established, and needs a new way to simplify your production and packaging supply chain.

Whatever the reason, this could be the right solution.

A Contract Packaging Partner, or Co-Packer, becomes an extension of your own company. You need someone to provide custom solutions, understand your business, and has a proven track record.

There are 4 things you should consider before choosing:

  1. Their available resources
  2. Their industry expertise
  3. Both a long term and short term implications
  4. Supply chain improvements

A Contract Packaging Partner helps to fuel your business!

Partnering with an experienced co-packer can help you scale production up and down depending on consumer demand. It’s something every business should be considering in today’s market.

This guide will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about working with a Co-Packer.

Talk with our team today about your next Contract Packaging Project

When To Use A Contract Packager

The typical reason a contract packager is chosen is when it is cost effective, and more efficient when compared to in-house services. That’s the right time to find the right partner.

Co-Packers have a very specific expertise, and they live and breathe packaging. If your business is growing fast, and you need to scale, a Contract Packager could even be an interim solution while you reorganize.

Outsourcing your needs allows you to focus on other matters, like your core business and your products.

  • You don’t have in-house equipment or the expertise
  • Investing in packing equipment unrealistic
  • Special packaging, equipment required, the work is labor-intensive
  • Shipping in bulk gets you a better deal
  • Separated facilities can aid with national distribution
  • This is a short-term need, and you don’t want to invest much
  • You have a warehouse full of a products that needs assembly
  • You are internally downsizing

The 2 Most Common Types of Packaging

Primary Packaging

Primary comes into direct contact with the product. You need a Co-Packer that has the right certifications to make sure your products are up to code. This is especially important for foods, beverages, and pharmaceutical goods.

Secondary Packaging

Secondary groups packaged products together. This is commonly used to bundle
or display products. You need the right partner to ensure your products are packed and displayed correctly.

Check out our article on The Benefits of A Co-Packer

A Co-Packer Helps Reduced Costs

The biggest benefit of an outsourced operation is reducing your overall costs of operations. A great Co-Packer can take on any packaging request, and process them in their own facility.

Co-packers have already made these infrastructure investments and are ready to work to take your products to the next level. Think through what you would need to get your job done:

  • Leasing a location
  • Hiring and training a workforce
  • Researching and buying equipment
  • Applying for and maintaining certification

They can help save products from being damaged during the manufacturing and packaging process. They can fix any components, add new labels, and more.

The best ones have advanced 3PL capabilities.

How Much Can Be Saved With Co-Packing?

Have you considered the “hidden costs” that are dragging your bottom line down? Here’s a few examples of savings.

Reduce Freight Costs

Moving products between warehouses during packaging and distribution can raise the freight bill almost 40%.

Lower Inventory Carrying Costs

The distribution cycle can take seven days longer, and adds extra costs for labor, storage, and carrying that inventory.

Reduce Labor Costs

Multiple teams are required for different roles, and optimization between them is difficult.

Reduce Damage

Most companies that ship products between packagers and 3PL’s add costs in about 3% in product damages.

These are the kinds of hidden costs that can disappear with the right contract packaging partner. One that can work with you to hit every delivery you need. 

Co-Packing Gives You More Space

How much free space do you have in your facility? If you could move the production to another facility, you could reuse that space for your core business.

If you need to ramp up production and get more product to market, outsourcing can be extremely effective to move from an internal division, or to expand on your capacity - all without needing additional space for your business.

And the costs will become part of a partnership with your Co-Packer.

Consider their additional square footage as an extension of your own company.

Co-Packing Means Less Labor

Labor management is one of the biggest factors when it comes to choosing the right co-packer.

They can handle the hiring, the training, and all the management of the workforce required to package your products - which not only reduces your operational costs, but gives you one phone call to find out what the status of your project is.

Lower your overheard by taking this additional workforce off your books. You don’t need to provide health coverage, wages, or any other costs of taking on another employee.

The right co-packer will have a number of talented trained labor at their display, and available to take on your next project.

Forget about needing more space, staff, or even machinery. Let a specialty business focus on that, and add to your bottom line.

Customer Demand

Do you need to ramp up production fast?

Is there an opening in the market that you want to capitalize on? Do you want to move your operations to a consolidated partner?

Is the market taking a turn and you need to rethink your product?

When economic times get hard, customer expectations can go up, and it’s up to you to bring better experiences to your customer.

Retailers who outsource can help reduce their carbon footprint in more ways than one, and green encourage purchases by advertising a more eco-friendly approach to their supply chain.

By using a Contract Packaging Partner it’s easy to make these kinds of quick moves, instead of investing into all of it yourself. One phone call and they’ll make the adjustments, and be ready for you when you’re ready.

Capitalize On Expertise

Because a Co-Packer is focused on one aspect of the business, and they are working with a range of industries, they’re likely to be experts about their entire supply chain, and how they can help yours.

And it’s not just about the packaging itself, often they are experts in the most efficient way to apply labels, tape, and they’re even distribution experts.

They can pinpoint areas to fix your business, and help you know what your competition is doing and maximize your market exposure.

A Contract Packager is likely working with dozens of companies and knows exactly what machinery to use, which materials to include, and how to save hundreds of thousands of dollars.

They will go out of their way to source the best products for each operation, and will have access to an extensive network professionals within the industry.

Think about the following questions, do you know the answer?

  • Which Shrink Film is best for your job?
  • What model of stretch wrapper is right for your line?
  • Which tape application is better for my supply chain, hand or automated?
  • Can I lower my material costs by choosing a different option?

At Bennett we are industry leaders in Contract Packaging, Shipping Boxes and Supplies, but even Retail Packaging and Displays - which means we can give you turnkey solutions and get you to market faster, and cut costs all along the way.

A Packaging Expert will be able to give you the exact answer.

Co-Packing Gives You Access To Resources

Working with a Contract Packer gives you accessibility to a huge range of resources. They’re able to identify the right resources needed to get a job done, can access them easily, and save you all the time needed to jump into the market.

We have over 3 decades of experience, and have built up a catalogue of information, materials, resources, and more to help all of our customers with their work.

Your products packed how you want, where you need them, on-time, in-full, and on-budget. 

Focus On Your Core Business

Your primary focus should always be your product, and your business. What if you could actually focus solely on that?

A Contract Packager focuses on taking your product and placing it into primary or secondary packaging, as well as other jobs like palletization, assembly, fulfillment, and 3PL services. The best choices are typically turnkey solutions that are also single source suppliers.

They can not only manage your inventory, but give you access to it at all times so you can sleep easy at night. 

While your focus might be management, developing new products, marketing, or growing your brand in general - a Co-Packer’s focus is to develop better and faster assembly lines to give you the best solution, reliable results, and consistent quality.

Imagine spending your time only on your business. Improving sales, market share, efficiencies, and knowing that you had a partner who was helping you achieve all of that extremely efficiently.

Talk about a great imagination!

Speed To Market

Getting your products to the customer as quickly as possible, reducing all downtime, and reducing breakage or inefficiencies is the gold standard for a Co-Packer. With their help you can skip all the growing pains, and get to market ASAP!

Co-Packers can also help with the product development process and give you tips to improve packaging.

You probably have multiple SKUs that are different sizes, and have different specifications - or even seasonal promotions that need modified packaging. That means you need someone who can get up and go right to market without waiting.

Have a 911 issue? The right partner will be there for you day and night.

Contract Packaging Gives You Increased Flexibility

Instead of only having one, two, or three options for your packaging, why not use a company that will offer you unlimited designs? One that has experience in multiple packaging categories.

You may not have room to house an inventory of all the different packaging materials, shipping boxes and other machinery to get the job done, but your partner can.

Take advantage of the speciality that a Co-Packer can bring you.

Co-Packing Helps With Quality Control

Ensuring that you have quality packaging, fullfilment, and more across the entire supply chain is critical for success. We are fully compliant with all US regulations for a clean and safe facility and warehouse.

Bennett is AIB certified, which allows us to work with all food products.

But quality starts with the relationship. You have to find the right partner to work with, and then allow them to learn more about your business, needs, and your products. When you are able to have clear and transparent communication you are able to maximize the partnership and attack the marketplace.

The right partner will have experience in your industry.

Key Things To Keep Track Of

Track if you have enough packaging to meet demand. It’s crucial to keep a tight inventory on the packaging you have at your fulfillment center, and whether it is enough to meet the demands of the season.

Did you ever run out and have to purchase more? Did that incur any delays and costs?

Did you have a surplus? Was it of only certain sizes?

Try to keep track and keep packaging inventory levels in line with demand.

Record breakage

Were your shipments kept safe? This is the priority for any fulfillment center. You should set a tolerance level for the amount of breakage that you can absorb, and then track whether you are meeting that goal.

If you aren’t, you should consider adding more packaging filler, or using a different carrier.

Bennett Provides Co-Packing

Bennett is a premier packaging and retail displays manufacturing company striving to protect and promote our clients' products with customized corrugated solutions. When you work with us, you’re part of the family. We will partner with you every step of the way.

With our fully-integrated design-to-delivery process, we can be the single supplier source. We are an award-winning manufacturer of virtually anything corrugate. We offer everything from plain brown shipping boxes to sophisticated, high-graphic printed point-of-purchase displays, and everything in between.

Talk with our team today about your next Contract Packaging Project

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Co-Packing?

Co-Packing or Contract Packaging, is a company that packages products for you. Everything from the packaging, labeling, palletization, shipping, and more is handled by them. Typically they work for a range of industries including food, beverage, pharmaceuticals, industrial products, and household products.

What services do you offer?

Check out our Contract Packaging Services page for more information about what we offer.

Do you have more than one location?

Yes! We have facilities across North America. Take a look on our Contact Page for the locations.