Download Download this free, 150-page Pharmaceutical Serialization Playbook jam-packed with strategies for success and pitfalls to avoid.  Learn more >>
Article |

Using a contract packager

In April, we published advice from packaging professionals about selecting contract packagers (aka co-packers or private-label manufacturers).
FILED IN:  Applications  > Healthcare  > Pharmaceutical

This month we provide insights about using CPs. Here are some of the 150+ survey responses, edited for clarity.

• Always attend first production runs, and sign off on an agreed master sample.

• Make sure specifications are clear and unambiguous. Make random Quality Assurance checks with your team at the contractor’s site.

• Demand that your CPs have the processes and systems in place to ensure product quality and compliance (for example, traceability) and efficiency. Real-time visibility of their production and inventory, particularly if it can be shared with the end customer, ensures that management has good control of the business.

• Establish your own quality expectations, determine the contractor’s ability to perform to that level, and follow up on documentation, and then LEAVE THEM ALONE!

Related Sponsored Content

• You can never be too explicit with instructions. Also, make sure you know the key people at the packager, especially those in the warehouse, packaging, QA, and shipping departments. Make a point to visit on a regular basis, have quarterly update meetings, and generally be known at the packager.

• Develop a good working relationship and go into projects with an open mindset.

• Know your industry and the market. If your firm also manufactures internally, use your internal cost model as a benchmark and leverage in your negotiations.

• Control of components and service needs must be well-defined, followed, and executed by the packager.

• For food and pharmaceutical products, ensure that the packing equipment is cleaned to GMP/FDA standards on a regular basis.

• Work with one that offers good communication and does not over-commit on abilities or timelines.

• Make sure they can grow with you; you should be able to forecast your production needs and plan accordingly.

• In general, the CP will only be as strong as its management.

• Check to see if they are financially sound and if they have had any product recalls.

• Conduct a ship test to ensure structural integrity. If custom packaging is being purchased, outline inventory liability. If capital is required, clarify volume expectations and track when depreciation expense is fully absorbed.


• It is a partnership; make them swear that WE are in this together— ownership!

For more responses, see

E-Book Special Report
Total Cost of Ownership
Sign up to receive timely updates from our editors and download this E-Book Special Report to learn how to calculate the true Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of your packaging machinery.


Don't miss intelligence crucial to your job and business!
Click on any newsletter to view a sample. Enter your email address below to sign up!
Each newsletter ranges in frequency from once per month to a few times per month at most.