A Co-Packer Makes Sense When…
1. Your packaging volume under or over employs your own packaging lines, long or short term.
2. There’s a specific, short-term requirement that may be better served by specific packaging experience or equipment you don’t have.
3. There’s a short run for a new product test, gift pack and so forth which may otherwise require the investment in new equipment.
4. Promoting your product with increasingly popular marketing weapons of nonstandard packaging or promotional inserts requires special machinery or labor intensive work.
5. The pressure of new business or deadlines creates a heavy, short-term workload for which you require experienced help to supplement the efforts of in-house staff.
6. A product may be more economical to be shipped in bulk to a distant market, rather than unit packed locally.
7. New packaging forms unfamiliar to your staff and equipment may be specified.
8. There is no available in-house equipment or expertise for a particular job.
9. The plant is closing for maintenance or faced with a labor or equipment availability problem.
10. There’s a warehouse full of a product that needs reworking to make it salable.
11. A new package form is to be market tested before general introduction.
12. There’s a corporate downsizing.
13. The company is faced with a high investment for new packaging equipment.
What Does That Mean?
A glossary of terms
BLISTER PACKAGING – A packaging technique, which involves the heat seal of a rigid, thermoformed outer shell, which houses a product, to a coated back card. A method commonly used for retail items contract packaging.
BUNDLE WRAPPING – A very popular method of packaging heavier items such as cases on juice, vegetables, soda, etc. The film is cut to size and is shrunk around product leaving a bull’s eye at each end of the package. This works great with high volume orders, contract packaging.
CLAMSHELL – A custom thermoformed PVC tray that is typically designed with 2 halves connected with a hinge. A more expensive option, this package is selected by companies who have a heavy or expensive retail item that requires tamper proof protection. These packages can be designed with a hang hole or with afoot, for a standalone option for contract packaging.
CLUB STORE PACKAGING – Normally pallets of product packaged to conform to Club Store requirements. A lot of Club Store packaging consists of volume buys or variety type packaging.
COLLATING – The assembly or sorting of many different items in a pre-specified order or arrangement.
CONTRACT ASSEMBLY – A term referring to a service that specializes in the assembly of a product through the use of manual labor, fixturing or automation.
CONTRACT PACKAGING – A general term referring to a service that is performed on a product utilizing various assemblies and/or packaging techniques intended for the enhancement of a product.
CONTRACT SUPPLIER – A source that performs a manufacturing service for a company or organization.
CONTRACT WAREHOUSING – A term referring to a service that specializes in material handling, storage, inventory control and distribution of a company’s product or products.
DIRECT MAIL – This service provides clients with a mail merge solution by down loading names and addresses from disk onto label format, which is then in return used for solicitation. Labels can be applied and shipped if needed.
FIN SEAL PACKAGING – Also known as Horizontal Wrapping. This type of packaging is very well known and very popular. You would find this packaging on a candy bar, two-pack of cookies, etc. This can be done with foil packaging or plain film.
FULFILLMENT – The overall logistics associated with a product or products including but not limited to material handling, collation, incoming inspection, order processing & tracking, inventory control, warehousing, assembly and / or transportation.
HAND ASSEMBLY – Tasks that are completed by human hands or manual labor.
HEAT SEALING – A process by which heat is introduced to 2 substrates to seal them together. Heat sealing is a generic term and is part of many packaging processes, but it mainly refers to the closure of polybags.
LABELING – A process in which a label is applied to a product, manually or automated on any surface needed.
OUTSOURCING – The act of physically sending out a product to a contract supplier for assembly, packaging or manufacturing.
P.O.P DISPLAY – An acronym for Point of Purchase. This is a merchandiser which holds multiple items in a free standing display which can be found in an aisle or endcap in a retail establishment. These are typically designed and made out of corrugated material.
PACK OUT – This method and quantity is associated with the last step in handling a product that needs to be shipped out.
PICK & PACK – This is part of the order fulfillment process which includes the physical locating or picking of a part out of inventory, and then packing the part into a box for shipment.
POLYBAGGING – The placement of a product or products into a polybag and then heat sealing the bag closed.
PRINT ON DEMAND – Similar to Direct Mail, this service provides a client with a mail merge solution by downloading names and addresses from a disk onto a form letter which is then used for solicitation of some kind.
RELABELING – This is a task that may include either applying a label over an existing label, removing an existing label prior to applying a new label or just applying a label to an original product or box.
REPACKAGING – Redoing or undoing an existing type of packaging to reflect new standards.
REVERSE LOGISTICS – The total processing involved with taking in returned goods from the field and reworking or repackaging them to conform to the standards of original goods.
RF SEALING – The permanent sealing of the edges of a clamshell package through the use of Radio Frequency. Special RF sealing equipment is required for this process and it is designed to make a clamshell package tamper proof. This sealing technique would be commonly found in expensive or heavy retail items.
SECONDARY OPERATION – A manufacturing step that comes after the initial process because it cannot be done in line or simultaneously.
SHRINK WRAPPING – Probably the most common of all packaging methods, shrink wrapping is accomplished by trimming a piece of shrinkable film around an object, and then sending it through a heat tunnel which shrinks the film to conform to the exact size of an outer box or product. This is a tamper resistant covering that is very common at the retail level on products such as gift sets, software, and games, to name a few. The gloss effect created by the film tends to give a product or box a richer appearance.
SKIN PACKAGING – A packaging technique whereby a film is sucked down over a product and onto a preprinted skin card. As heat is introduced, the adhesive coating on the card and the Surlyn film adhere together. This is an attractive packaging option and is preferred for retail because the product is displayed clearly yet is protected by the transparent covering. It is a cost effective solution for higher volume runs.
SORTING – The separation of good versus bad usually accomplishes through visual inspection for contract packaging.
STRETCH PACKAGING – A packaging technique that allows a product to be encapsulated between 2 halves of a hinged header card, with a Surlyn or clear film which is part of the card but acts as a window for the item. Following the heat sealing of the outer card together, the film in the window is then heated and then shrinks around the geometry of an item. This method is a combination of blister, skin, clamshell and shrink wrapping. It is an attractive option, but more expensive than some of the other methods. Batteries and Pharmaceuticals are commonly stretch packaged.
SUBCONTRACT – The act of outsourcing a product or service to another company.
VALUE ADDED – A reference to an additional operation or service that is done by a supplier to a product or products that provides a customer with a more complete solution.