Packaging Innovations 2020 will welcome Contract Pack & Fulfilment for the 13th year when it returns to Birmingham’s NEC on 26 and 27 February.
Supported by the BCMPA (the Association for Contract Manufacturing, Packing, Fulfilment & Logistics) the show will feature the BCMPA Hospitality Lounge and host 20 exhibiting members, offering an unrivalled opportunity for brand owners, manufacturers and e-commerce companies to meet potential outsourcing partners.
Rodney Steel, chief executive of the BCMPA, explains why contract packing and order fulfilment have become an integral part of the packaging supply chain.
Q. How has the so-called ‘contract packing’ industry changed and how does it integrate with the overall supply chain?
Customers sometimes have a narrow perception of what ‘contract packing’ 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.
Our industry now embraces a wide range of services right across the supply chain including new product development, formulation, contract manufacture, blending and filling, together with procurement, pack and graphic design, packing and labelling. These operations can be supported with services such as storage, pick and pack, order fulfilment and logistics.
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 manufacturers and packers add value?
The chances are that the contract manufacturer/packer has seen it all before, this is due to 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: How has e-commerce impacted on the outsourcing industry?
The growth in e-commerce has provided a fantastic opportunity for BCMPA members and underlines the value of having experience and expertise across the supply chain. Many of our members come from a fulfilment and logistics background, so are particularly well placed to support companies wishing to outsource their e-commerce requirements.
Q. Which markets or companies could benefit from outsourcing?
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 continues to have 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 three 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 & Fulfilment zone will also feature an array of BCMPA accredited members, including; Lemonpath, Wyepak, Holland & Barrett, Alexir Co-Packers, XPO Logistics, Guardpack, Prolog Fulfilment, Expac, Unette, CustomPack, PrimePac Solutions, Fillcon, Silverhook, Complete Co-Packing Services and Universal Flexible Packaging. ALS Contract Labelling and Clifton Packaging will also be exhibiting at the show.