Trends in packaging contract management
“There are few areas in the contract manufacturing and packaging industry as sensitive as contract management,” writes Contract Packaging magazine’s resident Cost Cutter columnist, Lisa Shambro, Executive Director of F4SS, the Foundation for Strategic Sourcing. She continues:
And there are few areas where greater differences exist between customers in how contracts are administered. There are some customers who appear progressive in their interaction, and who have contracts exceeding 100 pages in length. Then there are other examples where barely more than a term sheet is in place…and sometimes not even that!
Here at the Foundation for Strategic Sourcing/F4SS, we analyzed current contracts among our members with an eye toward standardizing. We found that while there were a few outlier paragraphs, for the most part the sections and terms were comparable. As a result, we developed an industry-standard set of two-way contract terms based on the most-used paragraphs…
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Test standards for transportation and logistics
Keeping up with the latest testing standards in transportation and logistics can yield significant results for those willing to pay attention to the details. Brian Stepowany, packaging development manager for Bubble Bee Foods shared an analysis of testing methods with an audience at the 2012 Pack Expo in Chicago. Below is a much-condensed report many tests; due to the sheer number of tests and complexity of sources, readers are advised to contact the Institute of Packaging Professionals' (IoPP) Transport Packaging Technical Committee, of which Stepowany is a chair. (Contacts are provided at this link )
There are many locations and causes of packaging damage during shipping. These include package design, environmental conditions, handling operations, transport vehicles, handling equipment and accidents. In response, packaging must provides protection from various types of damage:
• A relatively large number of shocks and a few severe shocks, from ay direction.
• Not only face, edge and corner impacts, but impacts from other packages and objects.
• Vibrations from the various modes of transport used, along any package direction, while under compressive load.
• Extremes of temperature, humidity, altitude and other conditions, alone or in combination with other hazards.
Stepowany cited these and stressed the importance of company personnel to keep current on distribution simulations, compression testing and other laboratory test methods…
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What’s the difference (between brand & co-pack operations)?
Five years ago few of us used our phones to keep up with the news. Now, even Newsweek magazine’s going all digital in January after 79 years of printing magazines. Likewise, production plants have been going digital since the 1980s, in the quaint old days of “computer integrated manufacturing.” Still, when I recently toured one of a major food brand’s 20-or-so plants, I saw a quality assurance staffer doing quality checks on a… clipboard! My plant hosts quickly told me that bit of manual data entry would soon be all digital.
Some contract packagers may never automate certain operations that brands wouldn’t think of running manually. There are lots of justifiable reasons for that, especially when the contract work involves shorter runs of mainly secondary packaging operations. What’s the difference between a machine at a brand-owned plant, and the same machine packing the same product at a co-packing facility?
The co-packer’s answer is that it’s flexibility. But it’s by degrees, because everybody needs faster changeovers and the like. Generally speaking, brand-owned plants can be more efficient in terms of high-volume, lower-SKU efficiency, while co-packers make-up for their challenges with knowledge. Beyond that, are there really any significant differences in plants and machines?
I think the difference is degree of automation and information technology. But I'd like your feedback...
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