Are you eliminating touches?

The term “touches” is cropping up more in contract packaging. But the word has two very important and distinctive definitions.

In contract packaging circles, the definition relates to every occasion in which a packer handles some aspect of your project. It is all about the integration of every step along the way, from assessment and qualification to package production to distribution.

The other definition concerns the physical package and how people handle packages. In that context, it refers to any physical contact between your package and your contract packager.

The common trait I’m hearing among consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies that are winning with contract packaging is a commitment to taking a closer look at touches beyond the points where human hands and machinery actually touch their packaging along the production line. Successful CPG companies are looking for efficiencies at every point along the way to simplify the complex by reducing their operations to the fewest touches possible.

Can your contract packager demonstrate an ability to keep current with regulatory requirements? Understand your regulatory needs regarding packaging? Maximize opportunities without inflating inventory? Understand every aspect of the project, even those outside its responsibility?

Let me pass along a comment from Pamela Jo Busiek, president of CBI Laboratories, a Fort Worth, TX, contract manufacturer and packager. Speaking at HBA Global Expo in September in New York City, she said these questions are another way of asking your contract packager a more pointed question:  Are you relevant to what’s going on in the market today?

Look at your agreement with your packer. Examine it with a fine-toothed comb. Are there ways to reduce touches? You have succeeded if you have examined every facet of the operation and eliminated everything that does not add value.

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