“We need the sweet pain of anticipation to tell us we are really alive.”
― Albert Camus
“Hey, Mom.” “There’s someone at the door!”
As a contract packager, our industry has a high degree of interest in the impressions that are made to the customer side. A great deal of effort is expended in creating the message, the packaging environment, the flexible culture, the quality systems, the innovation and differentiators that are believed to be attractive to the eventual decision makers. 1. You plan that the customer is attracted, 2. there is a gain in the level of interest in the product or service and then, 3.an eventual plant audit, quote request or formal Request for Proposal (RFP) may take place.
The process, when working with a motivated and interested customer sponsor, moves fairly quickly up to this point. It’s after the audit or response to the RFP, that a phenomenon of nature takes place…The Black Hole.
The Black Hole
- Time stands still…
- All communication dries up…
- Nothing escapes the dark mass of the customer corporate offices…
- Timelines for decision making seem to slip by…
“Of all the hardships a person had to face, none was more punishing than the simple act of waiting.”
― Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns
You are left to wonder, worry and consider what more you could have done. The anticipation becomes unbearable. Oh, to have them fall into your arms like an eager lover… and say “Yes, I would love to do business with you.” “How much business do you want?”
Alas, the business world doesn’t work this way. Most suppliers are pre-disposed to wait, wait and wait some more until finding out if we have reached the next step.
Sometimes the waiting seems like anticipating a slow death and the Elisabeth Kubler- Ross’ Stages of Grief are experienced:
“The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting”
― Andy Warhol
Or, is a more pro-active approach appealing?
- Modify a packaging design that emphasizes the attractive quality of the product at retail.
- Modify a supply chain process to gain a speed to market element.
- Deliver a series of case studies that increases your visibility to the customer. These examples of your past performance, increases your chances of them wanting to experience the successes that you have delivered in the past.
- Bring awareness of your total service capabilities by your company and its supplier partners.
I have spent many years being on the receiving end of a decision after the customer courtship, the tire kicking, the review of pricing and the eternal Black Hole waiting period.
I have arrived at the point in my life where action has more attraction than inaction after the audit or RFP. From this point, I am determined to create ways to continually increase the awareness of our company strengths throughout the process with the potential customer.
The pro-active approach just seems right. I expect it will reverse the vacuum of the great unknown, created by the Black Hole, and replace it with anticipation and excitement that comes with continuing to explore ways to breakthrough to the customer.
Steve Alemi -Berkeley Contract Packaging
Definition: An embedded, or dedicated facility operation, may be defined as a business model where the contract packager manages the packaging function within the customer's distribution or manufacturing facility.
The co-packer would assume full responsibility for many facets of the packaging related operation. This allocation of responsibility allows the customer to concentrate on its core competencies, like marketing, sales and customer service.
There are many advantages for "outsourcing" the packaging within your own facility and they include:
1) Cost Reduction: Movement to a dedicated facility business model, within a distribution center, has many key end result benefits. It is proven that the sum of all benefits can be measured in both soft and hard savings due to comprehensive cost reduction efforts. The trend, over the past decade towards this type of integrated model, has yielded year on year savings, with the adoption of this business change.
2) Supplier Management: Another outsourcing migration of responsibility, is the adoption of inventory purchasing and supplier management from the marketing company. Dedicated facility management capabilities are usually bundled with the co-packager managing the supply chain partners that are providing materials to the facility. Each scheduled event is a carefully choreographed and logistically timed dance of supplier provided components and products to the warehouse door. All of this is expected to occur in an agreed upon process that includes quantity of delivery, timing of delivery, exactness of delivery and quality. Since the co-packager has become the representative of the marketing company at the onset of product delivery, the data collected at the receipt time is a means of evaluating the supplier. Annual audits are usually part of the supplier management process and reports back to the customer Quality representative are typical of many co-packager led programs.
3) Overhead Reduction: Overhead costs are drastically reduced, or totally eliminated, when a business model change from in-house manufacturing to embedded solution manufacturing is implemented. All employees that were part of the labor force are typically replaced with outsourced staff members. Cost of Goods are reduced in labor because the co-packer cost of labor and benefits are typically less than in-house labor force members.
Flex employees: are often utilized in an embedded facility as work is scheduled. Many situations allow for employees to work at a similar type of operation in a campus environment, thus keeping them employed and available for future manufacturing use when the schedule allows.
4) Facility Dedication: A dedicated facility operation has a characteristic that is attractive because of capacity control. The marketer is able to dictate the schedule execution of the manufacturing orders within the facility without interference by other customer demands. A non-dedicated plant does not afford the same flexibility. The certainty to schedule freely provides capabilities that are not afforded in the non-dedicated plant.
5) Systems Control: Information sharing, by integrating separate ERP systems & eliminating keystrokes through EDI methods, are often a target of an embedded facility vision and installation. Less keystrokes entries into a system, less human error potential exists.
6) Process Simplification: Expected benefits of process simplification result from efforts to reduce the amount of touches by Shipping, Receiving and Quality department personnel co-existing under one roof. Many relationships between co-packaging and 3PL partners yield a strong, independent tie that eliminates the need of the major marketer to initiate many of the supply chain actions that are required.
7) Speed to Market: It is estimated that an embedded facility operaton eliminates about 5-7 days of logistical pallet movement from DC to a near DC co-packaging facility. This time saved for the major marketer has a significant number of benefits. Most important is an increase in reliability that finished goods will meet the expected retail customer arrival date, thus improving the marketer's relationship and ensuring favorite status with them.
The new product approval process is uncertain, with many regulatory, marketing and quality approvals required prior to final manufacturing of product and component materials. The timing is typically running behind plan and creates pressure on the end manufacturer to coordinate a variety of Bill of Material items for receipt. Scheduling, production and shipments are highly executed to meet the retail customer's demand for on-time delivery and all eyes are fixed on this date. By having the embedded facility within the confines of a distribution center, the reduced cycle of transit time from / to a near DC has proven to increase CFR (case fill rate) metrics to desirable levels over time.
8) Proximity: An embedded manufacturing operation within a distribution center provides a consolidated set of manufacturing and logistics services under one roof. The ability of the major marketer management team to implement schedule changes, communicate effectively, problem solve and maintain leadership capabilities, increases by having key partners under one roof. Cost savings are abundant due to reduced travel expenses. Coordination of rush projects, executing during peak demand times and new product introductions are facilitated by the implementation of IN DC solutions.
9) Flexibility: A dedicated facility provides great flexibility to the manufacturing team. Capacity becomes limited only by the number of lines and equipment that is designed for the business. Multiple lines can be concentrated to execute a rush order...collaboration increases... On-Time Delivery ratios increase... scheduling becomes more visible. The result, satisfaction increases because the manufacturing operation schedule is optimized to meet and execute production orders that are subject to many uncontrollable factors
Steps in starting an embedded facility:
Project development - Developing the scope of the future state of the facility layout, packaging lines, rules of engagement and expectations that are expect to lead to success.
Pre-production - Implementation of the project plan.
Production start - schedule establishment, system validation, packaging execution, shipment.
Measuring results - KPI's established to measure what is sought to be controlled.
Definition: Blister packaging is a general term for many types of pre-formed plastic packaging that is mainly used for small consumer goods, foods and for pharmaceuticals. It is an excellent choice for a diverse range of packaging projects.
Description: All blister packages consist of some form of plastic, along with some form of paperboard stock. The only exception is for clamshells which can be only plastic however, in almost every case, includes a printed paper stock containing product information.
Types of blister packages: There are many different forms of blister packaging and the most popular ones are listed below:
1) Face Seal Blister: plastic surrounds only the actual product and includes a flange, which is heat sealed to the card. The balance of the card remains uncovered.
2) Full Blister Card Seal: plastic surrounds both the product as well as the entire face of the card. The plastic is either heat sealed to the card or the card slides through flanges on the side of the blister,
3) Trapped Blister: the flanged blister is trapped between two cards. One card is solid and the other has a die-cut opening that matches the shape of the blister.
4) Clamshell: is simply a hinged blister that folds onto itself and can be either closed manually by snapping the two ends together or can be securely sealed by either heat or radio frequency. When you need either a knife or pair of scissors to open that annoying package, it is by one of these two latter methods.
The above four packages can also contain enhancements, such as:
a) Foot - this is a protrusion at the base of the blister specifically designed that allows the package to stand vertically on a store shelf.
b) Hanger hole - most every blister card has a hanger hole that allows the package to hang on a peg hook. This is required by most retailers. The hole is usually at the top center of the card however, when the product has some weight and is placed toward one of the sides, the hole is punched to the opposite side of the product to offset the weight. This prevents the card from hanging crooked on the hook.
5) Pharmaceutical Blister: differentiated from all other blister packages in that this is generally used for tablets, capsules or lozenges and used for unit dose packaging. Depending on the size, this package will consist of many doses. The plastic is molded to the shape of the product and, after the product is loaded into the blisters, it is sealed to either a paperboard or aluminum foil packaging, or a combination thereof. There are two ways in which you can get to the product, depending on the package. One is by pushing the plastic and product through the lidstock. The other is to peel back the lidstock.
SUSTAINABILITY: Historically, the blister itself had always been formed out of PVC. Although this was a very acceptable resin to work with, it was not necessarily a environmentally friendly material. Today, various forms of PET have become available which are much more recyclable.
ADVANTAGES OF BLISTER PACKAGING: All blister packages have their specific advantages. These include, but are not limited to:
- Product protection
- Product visibility
- Increased graphics area
- Cost effectiveness
CONCLUSION: As a result of the many options of blister packaging and blister carding, this can be the right package for you. Check with your contract packager who can work with you to develop a package that will effectively showcase your product.
Since people call different packages by different names, it is important that we first understand the characteristics of a fin-seal overwrapped package. This package will have a crimped seal on each end and will have a fin-seal running along the entire length of the rear of the package (see photo below left for front and rear view
This fin-seal usually lays flat but, when raised, resembles the fin of a shark and that is actually the derivation of the term. (see right photo above)
There are many other words that are used to describe this package but, other than fin-seal, the two most common names are flow wrapping and horizontal wrapping.
1) Ideal for large volumes
2) Perfect package for either sampling, promotions or retail.
3) Package can be used for products, literature or both.
4) Pricing is very affordable.
5) Package can include a punch on top for retail peghooks. The most common formats are round and sombrero.
6) Film can include a barrier, such as a moisture or vapor barrier.
7) You can use different film thicknesses, depending on the application.
(100 ga. is the most commonly used film)
8) Film has excellent clarity
9) Film can be clear or printed.
10) FDA approved film is available
1) Package is not high-end and may not be aestetically pleasing for certain products.
2) Does not offer protection for fragile products
Fin-seal overwrapping is an inexpensive, versatile package.
Great for either sampling, promotions or retail
For a price quotation to show you how economical this package can be, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
* Size of largest piece * Items being wrapped * Packout * Quantity