Packaging Innovations 2019 is set to welcome back Contract Pack for the twelfth year at Birmingham’s NEC on 27 and 28 February 2019.
Supported by the British Contract Manufacturers and Packers Association (BCMPA), the Contract Pack 2019 zone will host 20 BCMPA accredited exhibitors, offering an opportunity for brand owners and manufacturers to meet potential outsourcing partners.
Rodney Steel, chief executive of the BCMPA, explains why contract packing has become an integral part of the packaging supply chain.
Q. Do you feel enough companies understand contract packing? If not, what are the major elements that they don’t understand?
Customers sometimes have a narrow perception of what ‘contract packing’ actually encompasses. There is a lot more to the sector than just sticking gifts in a box and applying a barcode, although there is still a huge requirement for exactly that. These days, the industry embraces a wide range of services including new product development, formulation, pack and graphic design, blending, filling, packing, labelling, fulfilment, storage, logistics and supply chain management. Contract packing could just as easily be described as ‘third party outsourcing’.
We have noticed a shift in the customer’s behaviour in recent years as companies increasingly move away from sub-contracting only part of their production operations and appreciate the benefits of a full end-to-end service.
Q. How can contract packers add value?
The chances are that the contract packer has seen it all before. Because of the range of projects they are used to handling, contract packing professionals are experienced in selecting the optimum production methods, spotting the potential problems before they happen and managing tight deadlines – all factors that help maximise margin for the client.
Q. What are the big trends in contract packing which companies need to be aware of?
e-commerce is having a significant impact, not only in the volume of new business, but also the requirement for full service fulfilment and logistics. A fresh challenge for the packaging industry is to design packs that provide the ‘wow’ factor for online shoppers, whilst withstanding the rigours of returning goods back to the manufacturer/retailer.
Q. Which markets or companies do you think could make better use of contract packing?
Members of the BCMPA span around a dozen industry sectors and the indications that customers are keen to increase their use of outsourcing partners are broadly common to all of them. As with any period of uncertainty, Brexit is having an impact on companies’ strategic planning, with a significant reticence to invest in additional machinery, staff and production space.
Of course, many companies have no desire to set up in-house production facilities of their own, and therefore rely totally on accredited contract packers and fulfilment houses to do the background work, in order to free themselves up to focus on the sales and marketing of the products. No budding entrepreneur wakes up at 3 o’clock in the morning with the burning ambition to rent a warehouse and equip it with machinery, staff and a forklift truck! They have an inspirational idea for a product and they just want to go out there and sell it.
For those looking for more information about contract packing, the BCMPA can be found at stand number H35. The Contract Pack zone will also feature an array of BCMPA members, including Lemonpath, Wyepak, Alexir Packaging, Safapac, XPO Logistics, Flexible Medical Packaging, Complete Co-Packing Services, Carlton Forest Warehousing, Codex Solutions, Primo Manufacturing, Chester Medical Solutions, ALS Contract Labelling, Unette Nutrition, Expac, PrimePac Solutions and Clifton Packaging Group.