Part 1 [LEARN]

Jul 13, 2020 | Trends

What is a Co-Packer & How to Find a Great Manufacturing Partner

What a co-packer IS:

A co-packer, also known as a co-man or a contract packer, is a company that manufactures and packages products for brands. For rapidly growing small businesses, outsourcing production can be a major relief and a game-changing business decision. Many co-packers have the capability to take over the entire backend operation (sourcing, purchasing, production, packaging, freight) so you don’t have to invest in your own industrial plant. Prepare to rejoice when you archive that convoluted excel spreadsheet juggling all of your individual supply chain P.O.’s….freedom!

Co-packers will also have inhouse food scientists who can help commercialize or tweak your formula and offer an ingredient sourcing network that improves your end product. Their supply chain access can also allow you to call out strategic certifications and additional nutritional claims on the packaging. But ultimately, the biggest “win” is that you’ll have time again to focus on the main driver for your business: SALES.

What a co-packer ISN’T:

Now you know what a co-packer is, it’s just as important to know what they aren’t. Here’s my tough love advice:

Co-packers are a reward, not a savior.

This mindset will save you hours of emotional distress and loads of money down the road, because you’ll see co-packers for what they provide vs. what they lack. Their value is giving your already successful business the inventory scale, quality control, and consistency you need to stop working in your business and start working on your business.

While they’re producing your inventory you will have ample time to work on the marketing, branding, new product roadmaps, hiring, etc. When finished goods reach your fulfillment center, take the baton and execute that velocity.

This synergy is life-changing but it only happens when you’ve made the transition at the right time. In the next blog in this series, we’ll go through my detailed “Am I Ready For a Co-packer? Checklist” that dives deep into each subject line in detail here:

  • Anticipated Volume & Demand Forecast
  • Sourcing & Recipe Scalability
  • Packaging & Stability Requirements
  • Capital
  • Future Plans & “What’s Next?”

Think your business is ready to scale? Go through our “Am I Ready For a Co-packer? Checklist” to evaluate whether it’s time to reward your hard work with a co-packer.

AUTHOR

Courtney Lee

Founder, CEO of Prymal, and has been a customer of HB Specialty’s since 2018.

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