启动食品, 美, and natural product companies that are interested in outsourcing their manufacturing, choosing the best partner is a critical decision that can impact their long-term success.
Outsourced manufacturing — often referred to as co-packing, 思凯奇, or contract manufacturing — can provide compelling benefits for companies, 如:
- Scaling up production quickly to reach the market faster
- Offering expertise in refining recipes at higher volumes
- Providing regulatory experience and guidance (and shouldering many of these food safety requirements)
- Reducing costs by purchasing ingredients in higher quantities
But maximizing these benefits depends on collaborating with the best co-packing partner for your company and its needs. 做这样的选择, 反过来, 取决于理解你的选择, 提出正确的问题, and enlisting expertise to evaluate the agreement with your co-packing partner.
An important early step in choosing a co-packing company is understanding why you’re interested in doing so. Are you looking for a short-term arrangement to get your product into the marketplace while you build your own manufacturing capacity? 你对测试一个产品感兴趣吗? Do you see 外包制造 as an important part of your strategy going forward?
Thinking about your goals for working with a co-packer will help you ask better questions as you begin talking with potential partners and exploring their capabilities.
The next step in your process will be identifying co-packing companies that may be suitable partners. 如果你的品牌是关于 可持续性, 质量, 素食主义者, 或者类似的特征, dealing with companies that share those same goals and values will save you time and headaches in the future. 抄近路的代加工厂, 例如, can damage your brand reputation with substandard products or if unsuitable business practices come to light.
The most effective arrangements go beyond manufacturing to include true collaboration, so you want to look for potential partners that will uphold your standards for 质量, 道德的表现, 以及其他可能对你很重要的因素. Visiting with co-packers at trade shows or similar events, 与行业同行建立联系, 或者评论第三方网站(比如partnerslate).com for food and beverage) can provide valuable insights into a company’s experience and capabilities, 以及它们的易用性.
大多数联合包装安排是保密的, but industry peers and suppliers may be able to discuss co-packers and their reputations, 或者非正式地分享他们的经历.
在你开始评估代加工厂之前, it’s important to understand the criteria you’ll use to make your choice. 一些重要的考虑包括:
- 所在行业的经验. 他们熟悉与你们相似的产品吗? Do they have the required certifications for your industry?
- 原料采购. Are you expected to provide all the ingredients or raw materials, or can you save money by sharing portions of larger purchases with other clients?
- 最低订购量的要求. If a company will only make a large quantity of your product, you’ll need to be confident you can distribute those items before their expiration date.
- 成本结构. Along with production costs, will you be expected to pay a set-up fee? To pay for storage of ingredients, packaging or finished product? A company with seemingly low costs may have hidden fees that dilute or eliminate apparent savings.
- 生产或产品变更所需的交货期. 如果你需要为假期做准备的话, 例如, 你需要在什么时候做出承诺?
- 报告能力和实践. Your relationship with a co-packer should be collaborative, 如果。你应该咨询(或至少告知), 例如, the co-packer changes an ingredient or manufacturing process that affects the taste or performance of your product.
Another critical consideration is understanding the contract you’ll have with the co-packer before you sign it. 除了最低订购量和成本规定, you’ll want to understand liability issues such as protecting your intellectual property, 以及他们将如何处理产品召回.
It’s also important to understand how the co-packer maintains the traceability of ingredients in its facility in case there’s a recall or other production issue. Some co-packers use dedicated software that lets companies monitor production, while others trace ingredients with paper invoices and spreadsheets. You’ll need to understand the potential co-packer’s reporting system and evaluate your confidence in the accuracy of its numbers.
因为你的合同很重要, it’s critical to enlist your own professional counsel (that’s well-versed in contract manufacturing agreements) to review the document so you understand its provisions and any contingencies. So many factors can influence the ultimate success of a co-packing arrangement that it’s important to understand the 潜在的风险 as well as the benefits before you make a decision.
有了这样的理解, you can leverage a co-packer’s expertise to expand your product successfully beyond small-scale production in your house or a test kitchen into the broader marketplace.
For more information on how to prepare, watch our on-demand webinar, Avoid a Co-Packing Disaster: Tips, Advice, and Questions to Ask Before Outsourcing or download our checklist for questions to ask during your evaluation.