Top Tips for Choosing a Contract Packager
By Scott C. Garverick, Vice President – Business Development
When you’re provided with the daunting responsibility of selecting a contract packager for your latest product launch or an existing product, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. After all, a lot rides on proper packaging, safety, compliance, security–not to mention structural design and marketing graphics. Finding just the right contract packager can seem intimidating.
Here are a few tips to help ease you through the selection process of finding the right packager for your project.
Packager Profile & History
Find out what the packager’s strengths are. What’s their specialty? Where are they strong? Make sure they can actually do what they say and they’re not just saying what you want to hear in order to get your business. Are they aligned with your requirements throughout their entire organization? Some packagers focus on big pharma, while others might focus on the niche markets with creative solutions. Bottom line: does their culture fit your needs?
Ask how long the packager has been in business. Is it a true bricks-and-mortar operation or is it a company that intends to subcontract many of the components of your business to others? How complex is their supply chain? You need to know. Make sure the packager offers you full, turn-key solutions, all under one roof and has very tight controls over their supply chain. After all, it’s your product for which they are being held responsible.
Look at the experience of their management group. What do they bring to the table? How long have they been around? You should be partnering with a strong, experienced, capable team – not one that’s a bit green. Also, find out how accessible the top leadership will be. Here’s a quick test: call one of their top executives on a Friday afternoon and see if he or she is able to take your call. If not, how long does it take for your call to be returned?
Look for Value-Adds: Marketing continues to be a pivotal requirement in the selection of a contract packager. Does that contract packager offer the messaging that you require for your product? Ask the packager if they have capability with design, graphics, labels, inserts, cartons, and various print needs. Additionally, ask if the package’s structure will be designed in their own facility or if they intend to ship it out for structural engineering.
Ask about FDA audits and how the packager performed. When was their last audit? Are they cGMP compliant? Were there any 483s? If a packager declines to tell you any audit information or claims that it’s proprietary, consider that a concern.