Secondary packaging plays an integral role in the supply chain. It allows companies to customize products to meet customer demands, protect products during shipping, promote product features, advertise discounts and cross-promotional offers, display products at the point of purchase, and more.
Recognizing its critical role, many companies choose to outsource their secondary packaging to a partner with the resources and expertise necessary to speed their products to market as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. Typical services include assembly, kitting, cartoning, repacking, point-of-purchase displays, wrapping, bundling, etc.
Value of 3PLs
While providers that focus specifically on packaging can be a good option in some situations, third-party logistics companies (3PLs) with a broader range of services typically offer more flexibility, resources and expertise. When packaging partners perform more functions, they can help to reduce the number of suppliers and streamline the supply chain.
3PLs are uniquely positioned to address a variety of business challenges. They can warehouse raw goods or work-in-process materials, perform the necessary packaging function and ship from the same location, which increases efficiencies and controls costs.
Because all of the operations take place under a single roof, communication and planning are improved, helping to ensure performance quality and timeliness. In addition, they have the knowledge, systems and processes in place for peak performance.
An experienced provider will work with the company and routinely review forecasting, scheduling, processes, equipment and other variables, looking for opportunities for improvement.
Outsourcing to a 3PL can also offer the opportunity for multiple customers to share a facility.
This not only helps to defray the overhead costs, but it also accommodates peaks and valleys in the shipping cycle. For example, when one company’s business is spiking, another’s may be slower and vice versa.
Choosing the right provider
Of course, not all 3PLs are created equal. When looking for a 3PL packaging partner, companies should consider a number of variables. The following checklist provides a good starting point:
- Flexibility to right-size the operation to meet business fluctuations
- Built-in transportation capabilities with a reliable carrier network
- Convenient, well-equipped locations
- Experience in packaging similar types of products
- Reliability and a strong reputation in the marketplace
- Strong IT systems
- Proven ability to reduce supply chain costs
- Commitment to continuous improvement
For optimal performance, companies should view this as a collaborative rather than a transactional relationship. Working together with a carefully selected provider, they can speed products to market and meet customer demands efficiently and cost effectively.
Interested in packaging services at Saddle Creek? Learn more.