02 Apr Select your Pick and Pack Co-packer with Care
BY EIRA BRAUN-LABOSSIERE
The concept of a pick and pack co-packing operation is quite straightforward. But are you ready to manage the ever-changing inventory and keeping on top of the minutiae of vital stock details?
EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE
The key to pick and pack is organization. Keeping a library of the same products in same areas in a logical fashion, so that they can easily be found and counted at a moment’s notice.
It can entail processing small to large quantities of one product or multiple products which could be removed from cartons and re-assembled into kits or sets and packed into new cartons. A shipping label is affixed and a courier or pick up service is arranged to send out to its destination.
PICK & PACK vs. CASE PICKING
Case picking is a similar concept to pick and pack, only individual product does not need to be removed from whole cartons. Rather cases of full cartons are gathered and palletized for shipment. There is a significant skill required, however, to make the most efficient use of the pallet to maximize yield per pallet (for available cube space) and so pallet patterns and weight must be calculated.
While picking and packing or case picking, a constant recording of inventory is required so that the most current stock levels are known at any given time. Damages must be kept to a strict minimum. Product replenishment needs to be planned in advance to minimize the dreaded “out of stock” level.
PICKING YOUR PACKER
Who do you trust for careful handling and accurate order picking and inventory control? Is it better to base your decision on cost? Word of mouth? Or proven track record? Of course all three are important, but finding your copacker of choice must begin with a conversation and clear communication.
One packer may have volume minimums. Another packer may only specialize in specific industries. Not all copackers may have the kind of licensing you require. Will your copacker handle freight and distribution? Keep in mind that you must initiate a dialogue with the packers on your short list. Make sure they understand what your product is and each step you expect for your pick and pack and the kind of turnaround that meets your demands.
Pick a packer that cares about your objectives and wants to be your partner. Choose a fulfillment company that fits your industry, that is responsive to your volumes large or small, and that truly understands the urgency of turnaround time.