Contract Packagers/Manufacturers Pivot During Pandemic

Three contract packaging/manufacturing industry professionals discuss the supply chain, labor, and capacity challenges they faced as a result of COVID-19.

Editor Anne Marie Mohann reports on contract packaging industry
Anne Marie Mohan, Editor, Contract Packaging. Contract Packaging is distributed as a supplement to Packaging World magazine, three times each year and reaches 20,000 professionals, with additional distribution at key trade events.

Describing 2020 as “wild,” “unprecedented,” and “challenging,” Darryl Logan of Keller Logistics Group, Charles Weinberg, of MSI Express, and David Gray, of GreenSeed, respectively, shared similar tales in CPA’s Virtual Experience, “Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Adapting, Learning and Preparing for Long-Term Impacts.” Their common experiences, which correspond to findings in CPA’s 2021 State of the Industry Report, included greater volumes of core SKUs coming from CPG customers, a need for greater dexterity, speed, and process adjustments, and heightened labor challenges.

Here is a snapshot of what was discussed:

Logan: “In addition to all the other challenges that 2020 brought to us, we decided to take on an acquisition to expand our co-packing footprint and bought a business in Cincinnati. I am really proud of the way that we responded to the COVID crisis, and we as a leadership team coalesced around that problem, met frequently, and developed and delivered policies to the organization. It was just an extraordinary year in terms of the work that we had to do to respond to keep the boat afloat and continue serving our customers’ needs.”


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Weinberg: We got some new business opportunities as a result [of the pandemic]—beverage manufacturers, for example, looking for a new co-packer because existing co-pack partners weren’t able to staff up or meet the demand. We were able to go into our cache of used equipment and rebuild it to add capacity in our facilities. We were able to bring up an additional dozen production lines to help meet the demand in the matter of several months.”

Gray: “We had to do a lot of guerrilla-type tactics to keep labor coming into the building and to try to stay stave off higher turnover. We spent a lot of time stoking the fire of employee morale, doing creative things like cake day and holiday meals, even in the pandemic, to try to make it the best place to work that it could be.”

Hear more of what they had to say by accessing the webinar at CPA’s Virtual Events site.

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