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To grow your Contract Packaging business choose your unique niche

The contract packaging corner of the packaging industry is a world of its own.

While the majority of the packagers in the industry provide a dedicated packaging operation within a single company or a large corporation with multiple facilities, we serve many masters. We compete for our business, selling our skills and capabilities, something that in-house operations don’t have to do.

As a result, in-house operations know in advance what they will be packaging, and they can plan purchasing, maintenance, and material inventors accordingly. Our needs and plans, on the other hand, often depend on what customers and projects we develop.

A significant way to help control the organized chaos that can result is to focus on a particular packaging niche.

Words of wisdom

As Mom (yours and mine both, probably) would say: “You’ve got to walk in your shoes. Don’t try to fit into someone else’s, because they won’t fit.” Translation: Do what you do best, and don’t try to be everything for every prospective customer.

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We each need to choose our niche––our special category––where our equipment and personnel perform at their highest capability. Choose the prospects you approach to create that niche, and adapt your operational structure to do the best job of serving those customers. Focusing in this way will enable you to concentrate marketing efforts, plan for new equipment and personnel needs more efficiently, and take the experience you gain from each project into the next. You become more effective with each one.

For contract packagers, specialization can be the doorway to new growth and greater profits.

Association update

I am happy to report here that the Contract Packaging Association did very well in fiscal year 2010. The year that ended on June 30, 2010 was a record year for revenues, profits, and member reserves. That stellar performance has also continued through the first six months of fiscal 2011, across each metric we use (and no, we didn’t pick only the favorable ones).  Please look for the association’s 2011 full-year results when they are available, on both our Web site  and in CPA Connection, our new online monthly newsletter.

Also, as a member benefit, the association is improving the search functions on our Web site. Site users, which frequently include customers, as well as members and associates, will be able to search for co-packers by proximity to any ZIP code. Members also will be able to list multiple plant locations, which will be helpful to customers who want a co-packer within a certain proximity to any given ZIP code.

We continue to see the number of quote requests increase. In 2010, an average of 40 RFQs per month were submitted, compared with 30 per month in 2009. We are on track for growth in 2011, with a record 53 RFQs submitted in January.


The system architecture has been designed in a manner that prevents the association from receiving any information on member follow-up with a prospect. Any such communication is strictly confidential between the customer and the members that respond to the RFQ. However, we encourage you to share your success stories with the association. We would be pleased to feature them in CPA Connection.

Please feel free to call the association at any time for additional information. Until I see you, may the wind be at your back!

Contract Packaging Association President John Riley can be contacted at

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