CPA and its Members Flourish Despite COVID-19

In recent news from the CPA, the association announces a number of virtual events, shares news on its participation in PACK EXPO Connects, and offers details on COVID-19 survey results.

CPA Annual Meeting Postponed, But Virtual Events Fill the Gap

After thoughtful consultation with the CPA Board of Directors, CPA, The Association for Contract Packagers and Manufacturers, has made the difficult decision to postpone its 2021 in-person Annual Meeting until 2022. The CPA Board determined that due to the evolving uncertainty connected to the COVID-19 pandemic, and state and local regulations, it was not possible to ensure we could hold a safe and meaningful networking event in 2021.

However, we will still be connecting with our members and the industry through new and exciting events. During this crucial time, we are planning to host virtual sessions. Among them will be:

·     A thought-provoking, insightful look at 2021, with a view to the future of the markets, and material and consumer insights.

·      A Consumer Packaged Goods panel discussion on how CPGs utilized their contract-packaging/contract-manufacturing network during the COVID-19 pandemic, what they learned, and what CP/CMs can do to prepare for the future. 

·      A CP/CM panel discussion covering the impacts of COVID-19, how they adapted their businesses, what they learned, and their thoughts on the long-term impacts resulting from the pandemic.

·      A full review of the 2020 State of Contract Packaging Industry report.

·      Numerous other sessions covering topics such as industry trends, labor impacts, flexible packaging marketing insights, smart technology, and more.

In the coming weeks, CPA will be communicating its plans for these virtual events. For more information and to stay connected with CPA, visit www.contractpackaging.org. Any questions can be directed to info@contractpackaging.org or 571/287-6818. 

We look forward to connecting with you again at our much anticipated 2022 in-person event. 

CPA Participates in First-Ever PACK EXPO Connects

In November, CPA participated in the first-ever PACK EXPO Connects virtual tradeshow. While we missed seeing everyone and connecting with the industry in-person, the virtual show helped CPA start many conversations both with potential members and with those seeking the services of CP/CMs.

During the show, CPA participated in several educational events, including:

·      The PACK EXPO Connects Ask the Experts program, which offered lively discussions between CPA members and show attendees interested in contract packaging services.

·      The “Packaging and Processing Potpourri” Jumpstart Session, on Nov. 13.

·      The CPA Solution Room session, “How the Supply Chain and Need for Innovation Paradigm is Reshaping the Contract Packaging and Manufacturing Industries,” also on Nov. 13.

A special thank you goes out to those CPA members who helped staff the chat function of the CPA virtual showroom and helped answer questions for the Ask the Experts resource during the event. Now more than ever, your contributions to the industry are needed and much appreciated.

Whether or not you connected with us during the show, we would love to hear from you. If you work for a CP/CM company and would like to get more involved with CPA, or you are looking to partner with a CP/CM, CPA has the resources you need. Learn more at www.contractpackaging.org.

Partnerships Provide Greater Value for Members

Recently, CPA has fostered relationships with multiple companies to offer additional benefits to CPA member companies. These include:

·      Eric F. Greenberg: The law firm of Eric F. Greenberg, P.C., represents clients at every level of the food and drug development, manufacturing, distribution, and packaging industries. The firm represents clients from across the U.S. and around the world. Each CPA member company receives a half-hour session with Greenberg, who can provide information on food and drug regulatory law with an emphasis on packaging and labeling issues, general business, and commercial litigation.

·      YRC Freight: CPA has partnered with YRC Freight to offer members discounts on freight services. YRC’s dedicated Time Critical service with customer-defined delivery dates and times ensures that shipments move through YRC’s fastest network and are handled by a dedicated team from start to finish. When projects are complicated by short timelines, Time Critical provides a customer guarantee and the proactive notifications customers need to feel secure about their shipments. YRC offers fast, flexible solutions to fit customers’ business needs—from just-in-time inventory strategies to ensuring port arrivals to meet sailing schedules.

·      SGS: SGS, the world’s largest certification body, with over 200,000 customers globally, is offering to help CPA members navigate the complexity of Quality and GMP standards and certificates needed to operate in the food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and medical device industries. Questions may span the selection, design, implementation, training, certification, and maintenance phases of certification.

·      Blaige & Company: Thomas Blaige is offering his expertise in M&A exclusively to CPA members. Each CPA member company receives a complementary one-hour session with Blaige, who has over 30 years of transaction experience in contract packaging and contract manufacturing M&A. Blaige & Company covers five CP/CM markets, each having its own dynamics, trends, and strategies.

For more information on these new offerings and everything else CPA membership has to offer, visit www.contractpackaging.org/membership.

Why Use a CP/CM?

Pages From Cpa 1When choosing a CP/CM, you are developing a partnership. A CP/CM partner must be able to complete your project at a competitive cost aligned with your time schedule with quality assurance. They may also solve common problems in startup businesses, limited production facilities, concerns about equipment investments, physical facilities, personnel training, and more.

There are so many reasons brand owners and CPGs might turn to a CP/CM, and potential customers may have a lot of questions. To promote the CP/CM industry and to accompany the video we recently released, CPA has created a printed collateral piece for members to share with potential customers to help decide if partnering with a CP/CM is right for them.

Find the video and the PDF of our new collateral piece online at www.contractpackaging.org/why-use-a-contract-packager. If you are a current CPA member who would like to host the video on your company website, contact CPA to learn how.

CPA Members Share COVID Challenges

In late October, the CPA hosted a hybrid webinar session to present the results of the Education Committee’s survey on how its members have been faring during COVID-19, as well as facilitate discussions among the webinar participants on how they are handling workforce challenges associated with the pandemic.

According to CPA Executive Director Ron Puvak, the survey was conducted in July/August 2020, with additional comments collected in October 2020. There were 49 total respondents, representing a variety of market segments and packaging services. Eighty-four percent of respondents were co-pack/co-man members; 16% were supplier members.

Of the findings, one of the “big ones,” shared Puvak, was respondents’ answer to the question: “Overall, if you compare your business YoY, last three months 2020 vs 2019, how has your business been negatively or positively impacted in terms of overall revenues?” Of the respondents, 51%, or 25 people, saw their business increase; 33%, or 16 people, saw a decrease; and 16%, or eight, reported no change.

When asked by what percentage they saw an increase or decrease, the largest number of people, 12, saw a 20% change, followed by nine people who saw a 10% change, and eight who saw a 30% change. “So, it’s almost a mixed bag,” said Puvak. “I think the interesting point, though, is the number of folks who saw a change, and where the sweet spot was, between the 10% or 30% range.”

Cpa News 2When it came to COVID-19 in the plant, the good news was that only 27%, or 13 respondents, reported that there had been a positive case of the virus in their plant. Of those, only three experienced a partial or full shutdown of the plant as a result, two of which shut down for four to six days and one of which was closed for one to three days.

“Overall, we did pretty well by not having COVID arrive in the plants and cause us a problem,” said Puvak. “Those folks who did have a problem were able to mitigate it inside the plant. Due to separation systems and due to careful isolation, most people did not have to shut down their plants. I thought this was pretty positive data for those folks who actually had a COVID event—that they were able to mitigate that event a bit and continue to operate.”

Puvak attributed this to another data point collected from the survey: 89% of respondents answered “yes” to the question, “Have you employed any special means to isolate and limit shutdowns through means such as temperature monitoring, expanded workspaces, in-plant contact tracing?”

During the interactive portion of the webinar session, attendees broke into small groups to discuss the steps they’ve taken to address workforce issues. Strategies included:

·      “Office staff brought to the production line to make up for lack of plant staff who were out/unavailable.”

·      “Found employees were scared to go back to work. We had to figure out how to socially distance the workers. Went from 12 lines to six lines and people are more spread out—acrylic separators between people. Takes longer to get things out the door, but at least people feel comfortable coming in.”

·      “Heavy focus on HR, sign-up bonuses, employee referral bonuses.”

·      “Increased pay between 20% to 30% to employees.”

·      “Work-release labor employment used.”

·      “Eliminated marijuana screening.”

·      “One of our customers helped fund some of the bonuses.”

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