Leveraging the knowledge, methods, and technologies of third-party experts can provide favorable results for both product manufacturers and contract packagers through cost savings, attainment of deadlines, process improvements, and output increases.
When selecting a third-party expert, it is important to have a clear understanding of the company’s capabilities, industrial experience, and project approach. Suitable third-party experts include packaging consultants, package engineering solutions groups, material and machinery suppliers, and retired employees of these companies.
These resources can be located through packaging directories, trade publications, conferences, and the Institute of Packaging Professionals.
Who hires the third-party consultant is irrelevant. The point is that the product manufacturer and the contract packager should work together to hire an outside adviser. The main concern is getting both the manufacturer and the co-packer to agree that an outside adviser could bring value to their situation. Both sides should actively participate in the selection process.
Besides requiring references, following are some questions to ask in the hiring interview:
• How much package engineering experience do you have?
• What is your methodology or approach?
• Does your firm use a team approach or a single-engineer approach?
• What communication tools are used to ensure all stakeholders are kept in the loop?
• How does your firm validate recommendations?
• Besides intellectual capital, does your firm bring other resources that could add value to the project?
Once the third-party company has been identified, expectations should be clearly outlined and communicated to everyone to ensure a successful outcome. The project scope will become the cornerstone of the partnership and will help determine the criteria for success.