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Making an effective connection

Finding a contract packager is easy. Contract Packaging Association’s online RFQ facilitates the connection between packagers and packaging services providers.

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By Chris Barry, communications manager Contract Packaging Association

The most fundamental definition of networking is meeting people to exchange ideas or to interact. For a business to be successful, networking is vital.

Obviously, the most effective way to find the right contract or packaging services provider for your product is through networking. It’s through this process that you share intelligence by presenting to the contract packager what you need for your packaging operations to be successful. Once you are able to find a contract packager, a relationship develops and a partnership forms.

Finding the right link

One of the best networking tools for companies looking for contract packaging services is literally at your fingertips, simply log onto and access the extensive member database that makes up the Contract Packaging Association (CPA). It is here that the association’s mission—“To establish productive links between packagers and CPA member companies, which are North America’s leading contract packagers”—comes to life.

Once you log onto the association’s Web site, you can start the process of looking for a contract packager by using the site’s powerful search tool.

The Web site search is divided into four parts: location, types of products handled, packaging processes and services, and suppliers to the industry. Within each of those headings, you can choose up to three searchable fields, which are then populated by specific values that you choose, focusing your search even tighter.

Suppose you want to find contract packaging companies based in Illinois that handle candy and confections. Using a series of drop-down lists, you can set your requirements and click the “search” button. A page then opens, displaying all the member companies that meet your search criteria.

Each listing includes a link to more company information and its Web site, which helps in the first stages of your research. By using the search feature alone, it’s up to you to make contact with a member company to discuss your specific packaging needs.

Zero in with the RFQ

However, for time-pressed packagers, making contact can be difficult. This is where the functionality of the CPA Web site really steps up. On, the CPA’s Information Needed Quickly (INQ) Business Bulletin is available to help users submit a Request for Quote (RFQ) to participating member companies.

Visitors to the CPA Web site can choose the RFQ option, which allows anyone needing a contract packager the opportunity to request information about a member company’s services, including packaging capabilities and costs.

The RFQ is an online form the user fills out, providing his or her contact information, e-mail address, and phone number. The form also asks for a short project description, product type, packaging services needed, order size, and any restrictions that may be placed on the project.

No project submitted to the RFQ is too large or too small, and users have the option of providing as much or as little information about their project as they see fit. A company may need something as simple as packaging a basic product in primary and/or secondary packaging while another may need more than one service, such as structural packaging design, package graphics, package testing, and packaging line set up.

After completing the form, users click the “submit” button to forward the form, as an INQ Business Bulletin, to all member companies accepting RFQs. Member companies then examine the request, make direct contact with the inquirer, and then present their packaging services and capabilities.

Information exchange is secure

Because requests are submitted to every member company participating in the RFQ program (a member company is not required to participate in the RFQ option as part of its membership), packagers are virtually ensured they will find a company with the capabilities to fulfill their project.

The database is secure, so only member companies receiving RFQ requests know who is making the request.

“After spinning our wheels trying to find a contract packager for our product, we finally used the Contract Packaging Association’s RFQ option on their Web site,” explains a manager of packaging development from a large pharmaceutical company who requested anonymity for this article. “Knowing that our information was securely getting to the right contract packager who can fulfill our packaging needs, we felt confident enough to move ahead with the project with the help of the Contract Packaging Association’s Web-enabled RFQ.”

Meeting the right people or finding the right company that provides the necessary packaging services isn’t always an easy task. It may take weeks or months before finding a suitable contract packaging partnership. When speed-to-market is a driving factor and your brand strength depends on the packaging, the last things your product needs are production-halting obstacles during packaging operations or a package design that doesn’t function on the consumer level.

But, by logging onto, all it takes is the click of a button to begin a meaningful and productive connection that leads to a successful package.

Association reaches 100th member milestone

The Contract Packaging Association announces Anderson Packaging Inc., Rockford, IL, as its 100th corporate member This recent addition marks a milestone for the association, which has more than doubled its membership since the beginning of 2005.

Justin Schroeder CPP, Anderson marketing and business development manager, says Anderson’s involvement with the association provides an ideal opportunity to make valuable connections with packagers who need its services. Membership will also help Anderson keep abreast of industry trends, Schroeder notes.

“As a leader in the pharmaceutical and healthcare packaging markets, we are always looking for cutting-edge technologies,” Schroeder says. “Joining the Contract Packaging Association was a logical choice to help facilitate this goal. The organization provides insight specific to our unique industry that we have not been able to find in traditional trade associations. We are excited about joining the association and its potential for the future.”

Anderson Packaging, a wholly owned subsidiary of AmerisourceBergen Corp., has been providing contract packaging services for the pharmaceutical, medical, and healthcare industries since 1967.

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