‘Do-it-right’ philosophy drives California copacker
“Right trumps time and money. If you do it right, the time it takes to do it and the money it costs both take care of themselves.”
That, says Tom Hamic, is the prevailing business philosophy at contract bottler United Packaging Group. Founded about five years ago, UPG has in short order become something of a powerhouse as contract packagers go. Two brands in particular, Neuro and Talking Rain, are “exploding,” says Hamic, one of UPG’s two owners. And though UPG does market an own-brand bottled water called Penta, the business that has fueled the firm’s growth has been contract manufacturing and bottling for other brands. In some cases, as with Santa Monica, CA-based Neuro Drinks, for example, the company marketing the beverage is a “virtual manufacturer” that has no production facilities of its own and relies entirely on contract packaging for its manufacturing requirements. In other cases, like with Talking Rain of Preston, WA, UPG supplements the bottling capacity that a beverage company has in-house.
Two lines of special interest at UPG’s Colton, CA, plant are Lines 3 and 4…
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Best practice: Involve contract partners earlier in product development
Lisa Shambro, Executive Director of the Foundation for Strategic Sourcing/F4SS, and our resident “Cost Cutter” columnist (pictured here), recently met with F4SS supplier members, including contract packaging and logistics service providers, and uncovered a must-share piece of advice She writes:
One of the major practices they identified may seem “out there” because they are employed by so few leading brand-owners (or “customers,” as contract packagers call them). But those who have followed this practice have reaped significant rewards.
What is this practice? Put briefly, it’s the practice of including or “enrolling” suppliers much earlier in the product development cycle, starting with new product development.
Today, most companies begin to discuss new products (or significant product changes) with suppliers when they have specs. At this point suppliers are provided specifications along with an RFP (Q, I, S or the letter of your choice). There have been occasions when suppliers of existing products were enrolled in discussing changes to products they were currently producing for which they had unique technical capabilities.
However, it has been rare to see companies enroll suppliers at the design phase—a practice we are now seeing. There are many reasons why this hasn’t been done including: it’s never been done before, concerns over IP, not being able to get the lowest price by bidding the product out, and general difficulties managing the process, among others. Generally, the bigger the company, the more challenging it has been to promote a new approach.
Customers who have begun to test this practice have found the benefits to be significant.
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Innovative OTC product UrgentRx shows co-packer innovation
The contract packer is unnamed, but just look at the innovation that can come from a brand and co-packer partnership:
A credit card-sized flexible packet containing flavored, powdered medication delivers perhaps the ultimate dose of consumer convenience and portability for six different UrgentRx products, including UrgentRx Critical Care/Aspirin to Go, a product that has already demonstrated that it has helped save lives during apparent heart attacks.
Aspirin to Go contains a single 325-mg dose of aspirin. The pack is torn open by the consumer or caregiver and the powdered aspirin is poured directly into the mouth. This sublingual administration by which drugs diffuse into the blood through tissues under the tongue allows the medication to rapidly reach the bloodstream where it can reduce heart damage or ultimately save the life of a person suffering a heart attack.
Aspirin to Go is one of six similarly packaged products distributed by UrgentRx, a brand of Denver-based Breakthrough Products, Inc.
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Clinical secondary co-pack operations change hands
Research Triangle Park, N.C.-based Patheon Inc., a leading provider of contract development and manufacturing services to the global pharmaceutical industry, has sold its global secondary clinical packaging and clinical distribution services business to Bellwyck Packaging Solutions,
a Toronto-based company with 20 years experience providing clinical trial and contract services for secondary packaging.
"While we don't expect the terms of the transaction to have a material impact on our on-going results, this transaction is part of our continued focus on our core competencies of solid-dose and parenteral development and manufacturing," James C. Mullen, Patheon's CEO, said in announcing the sale. About 20 of Patheon's employees have joined Bellwyck, he added.
"We look forward to an ongoing partnership with Patheon as we work together to ensure that Bellwyck continues to provide superior clinical packaging and distribution services to Patheon's current and future customers," added Jeff Sziklai, Co-CEO of Bellwyk.
Bellwyck Packaging Solutions gains these resources, which add to its six manufacturing facilities and existing primary, secondary and clinical trial packaging and logistics services. Patheon retains its 10 manufacturing facilities in Europe and North America and its integrated Pharmaceutical Development Services business, which includes re-formulation, formulation, analytical development, clinical manufacturing, scale-up and commercialization.