There are a few differences between co-packing vs 3PL (3rd Party Logistics Providers). Co-packers generally only deal in two kinds of packing; primary and secondary. Some co-packers stop after the packaging process while others will go a bit further with bundling those packaged goods. IFS is a one-stop-shop 3PL that specializes in everything from design through eCommerce distribution to the end customers.
Signing on for co-packing means you are bringing on a partner. A co-packer will take the product you already have, make it in bulk, package it, and sometimes store it. Some co-packers will assist in design and editing, but that is not always a guarantee. That’s where the difference between primary and secondary packaging comes into play. Primary is the making, packing, and storing; secondary is more packaging and grouping products so that they can be moved safely before distribution.
Using a co-packer frees up your time and hands so that you can focus on underdeveloped aspects of your business. Rather than focusing on filling orders all on your own, you’ll be able to network and focus on marketing.
With a co-packer you can trust that your product is in capable hands. They handle quality control and assurance and making sure that your product is tip-top before rolling out.
Overhead for production space will no longer be an issue with a co-packer. Depending on the co-packer you partner with, the rates they charge will include pricing for manufacturing, packaging, storing, and other miscellaneous services. The standard duties of a co-packer play into that of a 3PL.
3rd Party Logistics
3rd party logistics provider—this might be an all-new term to you. “3rd party logistics providers” sounds like a lot of business jargon, but really what it means is all-inclusive. IFS deals in 3rd party logistics because we implement primary and secondary packaging before moving your product the rest of the way. A 3PL will hire specialists in every aspect of the supply chain so they can handle anything and everything.
3rd party logistics are with their clients during fulfillment, packing—both primary and secondary—sorting, storing, planning, and shipping. Essentially, everything a company could need help with a 3PL can provide in some capacity.
3PLs are usually the ones who are running the distribution centers. This allows them to do more with their space and time. A 3PL will have the experience to read the demand of your product and adjust production from there.
They will have the foresight to better predict any delays or complications in the picking, packing, and shipping processes and plan accordingly. Using a 3PL will also give you the chance to put your product into new markets without the risk of losing big money.
Having everything nicely packed under one roof will cut down on overhead for manufacturing, storing, and shipping. There will be no need to juggle inventory between a co-packer, storage facility, distribution center, etc. with a 3PL.
With a 3PL you simply have more options than if you were to choose a co-packer alone. Even things down to the facility will be different regarding co-packing vs 3PL. While a co-packer will likely just have equipment and space designed for different packing styles, a 3PL will be prepared with all the necessary bells and whistles for their additional services.
A 3PL has space, knowledge base, and equipment to do as much or as little as you need.
Co-Packing and 3PL Summary
3PLs and co-packers are both great, and sometimes essential, options for businesses. The services they can provide and the teams of experts they employ are paramount to your success. Outsourcing in any way for a small business is a big step, and the proper amount of research should be done. There is no right order in which to do things when it comes to co-packer vs 3PL because every company is different.
Co-packing vs 3PL comes down to the comprehensiveness of the services available to clients. A 3PL will be able to take care of every kind of co-packing and then some. A co-packer focuses on packaging and packaging alone. There is a chance that your company needs more than just a standard co-packer can provide; if that is the case a 3PL is where you should be heading towards.
At IFS, we take care of just about everything for you. We see the product through from conception to sales. The debate of co-packing vs 3PL does not apply to the services at IFS.
Reach out about Contract Packaging for your business at our Speak to a Specialist Page.