WD-40's co-packer selection steps

At the WD-40 Co., an internal team directed by three planners determines how contract packagers are selected to package and distribute new products. The team then follows a sequence of steps during the selection process. The steps are:

1. Define the project requirements. The first step is to determine the packaging materials and structures and process requirements that meet the company’s criteria for delivering maximum value in launching the product. The R&D team establishes specifications and identifies useful technologies.

2. Determine whether existing co-packers can do the job.
Next, WD-40 Co. determines whether the companies that fill and package their other projects are also capable of packaging the new product. Among the questions the assessment team asks: Can our existing co-packers work with the materials we want to use?

3. Visit the site. If qualifying new co-packers, the company thoroughly assesses their facilities. A cross-functional team including members of research and development, purchasing, and quality assurance visits the potential suppliers’ facilities to learn about their processing and packaging technologies and equipment, staff capabilities, and production capacity. A financial risk analysis is prepared.

4. Begin the launch phase. The team monitors trial runs of its product to assess production line stability and assure that the goods meet WD-40’s specifications.

5. Award the contract. WD-40 Co. selects the packer. Formal agreements are drawn up.

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