Choosing the Right Packaging Partner: A Guide for Procurement Managers

Packaging distribution is a juggling act, and as a procurement manager, you’re in the spotlight. Not only do you have to keep things moving, but it’s got to be fast, cost-effective and seamless. 

That’s why choosing the right packaging partner is essential. The wrong one can hurt your bottom line and reputation. The right one can lead to success for both you and your client. 

So, how do you choose? There’s a lot to consider, from design capabilities and materials to availability of stock and lead times. However, in today’s competitive market, versatility is key.

Here are some things to think about when choosing your next packaging supplier.

Can they Juggle as Well as You Can?

You’re the expert when it comes to juggling a million things at once, but is your packaging supplier? Good packaging goes beyond sourcing quality materials, in fact, quality should be the bare minimum. The right firm will offer you solutions, not products. They’ll take on your juggling act by factoring in design, budgeting/ROI, testing, material sourcing, prototype building, automation, software and much more. So, if they can’t offer you packaging solutions, they probably aren’t the right partner for you.

How big is their network?

Packaging needs are endless. In a perfect world, packaging suppliers could produce everything in-house but that’s simply not possible. So, when there’s a roadblock, who do they call? Do they have excellent relationships with other packaging firms? Have they proven they’re capable of managing several moving parts? Do they have superior communication and people management skills? Unless you work in a specialized industry, it’s more than likely you have a diverse client base. A good packaging partner will be able to meet your clients’ needs – even if they have to outsource.

Do they have a solid supply chain?

A reliable packaging partner ensures consistent and timely delivery. Seek firms who can provide visibility into their production processes and who proactively communicate if there are delays or disruptions. Transparency helps keep the packaging flow going and fosters a better relationship with customers.

Do they offer sustainable packaging?

Sustainability is in high demand. From food packaging to transportation, all industries are looking for sustainable solutions. So, selecting a partner who is committed to environmental responsibility is crucial. Inquire about their sustainable practices, use of eco-friendly materials, like biodegradable packaging, and recycling initiatives. Ensure they comply with relevant regulations and certifications but are also looking for ways to reduce their global footprint.

Do they have an outstanding reputation and track record?

If their customer service hasn’t been well-received, move on. Packaging partners should be excellent project managers, proactive communicators and invested in your company’s/client’s interests. Request references from the packaging firm and reach out to their existing and former clients. Inquire about their experience, satisfaction levels, and any issues faced during the partnership. Additionally, they should make themselves available to you after the project ends for any adjustments and consultations.

Ivex is here to partner with you, no matter your packaging needs. We have a vertically integrated streamlined process, multiple locations across North America, and the packaging design talent to take on your most complicated projects. If you’d like to see if we are the right packaging partner for you, don’t hesitate to contact us!