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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 its 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 company. You need someone who can provide custom solutions, understand your business, and have a proven track record.

There are 4 things you should consider before choosing:

  1. Their available resources
  2. Their industry expertise
  3. Both 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 according to consumer demand. In today’s market, every business should consider this.

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

A contract packager is typically chosen because it is cost-effective and more efficient than in-house services. That’s the right time to find the right partner.

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

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

  • You don’t have in-house equipment or the expertise
  • Investing in packing equipment is unrealistic
  • Special packaging equipment is 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 products that need 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 with the proper certifications to ensure 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 operating costs. A great Co-Packer can take on any packaging request and process it in its 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” dragging your bottom line down? Here are a few examples of savings.

Reduce Freight Costs

Moving products between warehouses during packaging and distribution can raise the freight bill by 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 3PLs add costs of about 3% in product damages.

These kinds of hidden costs 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 products to market, outsourcing can be extremely effective in moving from an internal division or expanding 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 among the most significant factors when 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 the status of your project.

Lower your overhead by eliminating this additional workforce. You don’t need to provide health coverage, wages, or any other costs associated with hiring another employee.

The right co-packer will have a number of talented, trained laborers 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 tough, customer expectations can rise, and it’s up to you to provide better experiences for your customers.

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 in all of it yourself. With one phone call, 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 is 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 and tape, and they’re even distribution experts.

They can pinpoint areas for improvement in your business, help you understand your competition's strategies, and maximize your market exposure.

A Contract Packager is likely working with dozens of companies and knows precisely 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 of 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, and even Retail Packaging and Displays. This means we can give you turnkey solutions, 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 access to a wide range of resources. They can identify the right resources needed to get a job done, access them easily, and save you all the time needed to enter the market.

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

Your products are 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 packaging your product in primary or secondary packaging and on 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 on developing 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, and 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 may 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 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 offering unlimited designs? One that has experience in multiple packaging categories.

You may not have room to store an inventory of all the packaging materials, shipping boxes, and other machinery needed to complete the job, but your partner can.

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

Co-Packing Helps With Quality Control

Ensuring that you have quality packaging, fulfillment, 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 products. Clear and transparent communication can maximize the partnership and attack the marketplace.

The right partner will have experience in your industry.

Key Things To Keep Track Of

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

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 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. They handle everything from packaging to labeling, palletization, shipping, and more. 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.