Answer These Five Questions for Your Contract Blending and Packaging Company, and Watch Your Contract Packaging Dreams Come True
Contract blending and bottle filling is a great solution for those who don’t want the headaches of production. Such companies may lack the in-house equipment, necessary space, or the expertise to do it themselves. Or they may have spikes in orders that their production can’t handle or have a unique product they can’t or choose not to package internally. Supply chain delays felt since the pandemic have also created a desire to package closer to distribution channels. Choosing to use a contract packaging and blending company can be a cost-effective solution with many benefits, but there are also pitfalls you will want to avoid so your experience goes smoothly.
Provide Clear Expectations and Communicate Consistently with Your Blending and Packaging Company
Detailed-oriented customers with precise specifications and defined expectations tend to have the smoothest blending and packaging experience with the fewest delays. If you are new to contract packaging or new to this product space, your contract packager should work with you upfront to get all the information needed to quote your job accurately and ensure your timelines can be met. Below are some common questions you will need to consider before your product can be packaged.
Is Your Formula Finalized and Tested?
Having a finalized formula will ensure there are no delays in blending and packaging your product. The blending and packaging processes will run more smoothly when your formula is dialed in and meets your performance specifications and your stability testing has been completed. Ensure your contract packager is aware if your formula is still in development. If you change your formula and it contains an ingredient that isn’t readily available, or your contract packager hasn’t used it, you could face significant delays. There are many unforeseen costs associated with such changes, and a trusted contract packager should be able to give you insight into these costs. It is understood that product improvements are necessary for being competitive, but ensure your packager has ample warning that changes are being made so that appropriate time can be added to the schedule and costs can be mitigated as much as possible.
What Type of Bottle and Cap are Required?
The bottle you choose must be compatible with the liquid product – this might be discovered during stability testing or sourcing for containers if not known. The size and shape of the bottle are also important. The filling equipment your contract packager uses can’t possibly run every bottle shape and size available. Sending pictures of the bottles or samples to the contract packager will allow them to tell you if they have capabilities for that bottle or if adjustments can be made to accommodate your needs. If you haven’t decided on a bottle yet, be clear about your expectations, so they can explain any limitations their filling equipment may have. For a large enough order, the contract packager may be willing to invest in equipment.
Like the bottle, there are a variety of caps available that ensure your product doesn’t spill or leak but can be dispensed as intended. Some of the caps available include various trigger spray nozzles, screw caps, dispensers, child-resistant closures, and tamper-evident tops.
What Types of Labels Will You be Using?
Various labels can be used for your product, and the type of label you plan to use will be necessary for your contract packager to know as early as possible during initial conversations. For example, a shrink sleeve label is applied differently and requires different equipment than a pressure-sensitive label. Any unforeseen or planned changes to the label should be brought to your packager’s attention as soon as possible.
Do You Have Product and Packaging Specifications Available?
Your contract blender and packager must have all your specifications, including product density, batch code placement, quality specification, box specification, pallet size and stacking specifications, and any other requirements. Having this information upfront ensures they can meet all of your expectations without unnecessary delays.
What Issues Have You or Your Previous Blender and Packager Encountered?
If you are changing vendors or are moving from an in-house production line to a contractor, your new contract packager will want to know the reason for the change. Any issues you have faced can be proactively addressed and will not be repeated. The right contract packager can rely on knowledge and experience to help you. For example, over its decades of blending and packaging, Crystal Packaging has had the opportunity to solve many issues for customers, and it is likely they already have a solution to whatever issues you’ve encountered.
The list above is not all-inclusive. Your contract packager will discuss these in more detail when you first meet to discuss your product. Products evolve, and packaging and labeling change. It is critical that your contract packaging partner is made aware of any new ideas or changes that are being made with ample time to adjust. It cannot be emphasized enough how important communication is between your product development and marketing teams and your contract packager. Constant communication can prevent many bottlenecks and delays.
A Trusted Blending and Packaging Company — Crystal Packaging
Since 1977, Crystal Packaging has provided contract packaging services to a wide range of industries. This longevity has given us the knowledge and technical expertise to help our customers deliver the safe, reliable products their customers expect.
When we understand your vision, we can match your expectations to our capabilities. This allows us to see what barriers our partnership needs to address. Because of our size and company culture, we have the flexibility to address issues that others can’t. We have in-house testing labs to verify formulas meet your expectations and perform as designed, so there are no surprises.
We also bring extensive retail experience. We have packaged products for many brands using big-name retailers – Costco, Walmart, Amazon, and Target – all with unique requirements. We know the pitfalls to look out for, so your products make it on their shelves in a timely manner.
Contact us to discuss your needs. Our technical team will review your requirements and work with you to create a plan to successfully blend, fill, label, pack and ship your product.