Everything you need to know about co-packing

Are you faced with repackaging thousands of products from bulk packaging into customised packages that will reach your end customer? Do you need to instantly repack imported goods? Do you need an idea for an aesthetic occasional packaging for shipments? If you are unable to cope with these tasks or you do not want to invest time in them and tie up money in investment, you can take advantage of co-packing.

Co-packing (contract packaging) is nothing more than the outsourcing of packaging services. Instead of dealing with packaging and repackaging in-house, the online store may outsource the service to an external company.

What services are included in co-packing?

You can outsource not only tedious packaging and repackaging, but also finding great solutions. Here are the most frequently outsourced services that are collectively known as co-packing:

  • replacement of damaged or outdated packaging – this is one of the most common co-packing services – to exchange packaging damaged during transport or outdated packaging which is related to seasons, holidays and promotions.
  • replacement of bulk packaging with unit packages – and the other way round: repackaging of unsold products from their unit packages into properly labeled bulk packaging, which takes up less space in a warehouse,
  • labelling – labels can have a promotional, informational or decorative function – labelling can be a way to correct some incorrect or incomplete information already printed on the packaging,
  • kitting – co-packing companies may take over the extremely time-consuming and difficult to automate activity of combining various products into various types of sets (e.g. promotional, gift sets) – creating sets usually means simply bundling two or three products into a multi-pack with printed tape, but may also refer to the use of customised decorative set packaging (such as for example gift baskets),
  • film/shrink wrapping, custom printed packages, inserting – you may order the following services as part of co-packing: protective wrapping, printing on packages and packaging inserts (e.g. advertising materials, gadgets, bonuses) – some companies offer a complete service including presentation of suggestions for printing designs and the look of packages.

What are the benefits of packaging outsourcing?

The development and implementation of solutions that enable the seller to deal with in-house packaging is a big challenge. Especially, for sellers who do not have adequate storage space, do not employ enough staff or do not have their own facilities. Building the infrastructure from scratch and creating a team of employees responsible for the processes of packaging, repackaging, labelling and shipping can very expensive. Moreover, it has long-term consequences in the form of obligations under employment agreements, contracts for the rental of warehouse space or investment loans.

The use of co-packing saves the sellers all these burdens. Additionally, you can adjust the scope of services to the way your business grows or shrinks. The easy scalability of co-packing means the business risk is significantly lower than when you use in-house packaging.

An additional benefit of co-packing is the possibility of using proven, high-quality services. A co-packer is always able to offer higher standards (better pace, accuracy, the possibility of choosing different packaging variants) than your in-house staff, as it is their core business. If the cooperation does not work out, you can change the co-packer. Thanks to this, instead of dealing with the problems of improper or untimely packaging, you can focus on your business development, i.e. sales.

How to improve the packaging and re-packing process?

Co-packing services focus primarily on re-packing. Unpacking goods from bulk packaging and packing them into unit packages, or vice versa, as well as kitting, require quick conversion of volumes and capacities. You have to quickly assess how to pack a single container – how many unit packages will fit in bulk packaging and how to arrange them to optimally use its space. To achieve this goal, it is worth using packaging planning algorithms, which are an excellent alternative to “manual” planning. One of their most important advantages is that there is no room for error in assessing the capacity of packages, containers or cargo spaces. The algorithms allow you to easily calculate the number of packages or pallets needed. In addition, they take away the burden of choosing the best way to arrange the packages in the available space: the employee receives illustrations of the optimal package layout. The more goods you repackage, the more benefits you will get from automatic planning.