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How Does Co-Packing Work?

Published: May 24, 2021   |   
by: Sharon Stierwalt   |   
Category: Co-Packing
How Does Co-Packing Work

“How does co-packing work?” is a question we at IFS are asked on occasion, so I felt like this would be a good time to take a moment and dive into some general details around contract packaging…

A co-packer is an overwhelmed business’s best friend. They take care of the production, packaging, and distribution of your goods so you can focus on other aspects of the job. While that may sound simple enough there’s a lot more that goes into how co-packing actually works.

Co-packing is separated into two categories. Broadly speaking, there is primary and secondary packaging. Primary packaging is the creation of the product, getting the toothpaste in the tube. Secondary packaging goes more into the importance of more complex packaging. A bottle of shampoo sitting alone on the shelf was put there through primary packaging. A two-pack of shampoo that is bound together with branded shrink wrap standing out on display with others just like is the product of secondary packaging. There is a lot that goes into co-packing, and understanding how it works takes just a bit more than a cursory glance.


This is probably the most obvious portion of answering the question, how does co-packing work?
The primary function of a co-packer is packing. It’s in the name, after all. And while you might have been packing things just fine on your own, a co-packing facility is going to be much better equipped. Blister machines, shrink wrap machines, carton machines, case sealers, over rappers, tapers, all of these pieces of equipment are on-site to get products properly packaged and out to market. Packaging can be as much or as little as the client needs. If it’s going out to a club store the product might be specially packaged or bulk packaged. Through the use of professional-grade tech and warehouse-level space, a co-packer is efficient and effective.


Let’s say that a business has a solid product but little to no design appeal—a co-packer can fix that. IFS offers services in packaging and design. If necessary, their team can design the package and the logo of any given product. How co-packing works goes far beyond the limited tasks of packing and shipping. A co-packer with a design team works with you to create a visual brand that is both eye-catching and true to your business.

The responsibilities of this aspect—and the aspect we’ll cover soon, display—of co-packing are taken care of by a project tracker. The project tracker will order everything that is needed, keep up on the scheduling, and quality checks. The details of the order and product have to be double-checked before distribution, and that’s where the project tracker steps in.


Once the product has been assembled it’s time to get it out into the retail world. A co-packer will take your product where it needs to go, whether that’s a club store, like Costco and Sam’s Club, to another warehouse, or off to a smaller retailer. Co-packers will take care of all that leg work, rather than having to shuttle everything back and forth on your own.

Much like the project tracker in the design portion of co-packing, shipping and distribution have their own team of specialists. The planning team is the team on the ground. They are the ones who own and manage everything after that initial delivery. The planning team will communicate any problems back to the account manager to ensure transparency at every step of the process.


Some co-packing companies, like IFS, will not only see the completion of your orders through the warehouse phase but all the way to the store. This is a bit of a bonus answer to ‘how does co-packing work’. An exemplary co-packer understands that displays are crucial. IFS will prepare displays for the products they co-pack in such a way that in-store assembly is as simple as pulling it off the pallet. For IFS, creating these displays is a collaborative endeavor. We understand that each company and business has its own creative direction and aesthetic. IFS even goes so far as to design and ship clip strips to be hung at the end of the aisle to advertise the product.

“Display” is the intersection of the project tracker and the planning of the team’s responsibilities. While the project tracker assembled the materials, the planning team is responsible for all of the post-shipping quality checks and assurance. When assisting in any aspect of design there is always transparency and open communication. Our company purchases all of the materials needed to create these displays while also being the feet on the ground assembling them.

Now that we’ve answered “how does co-packing work?” let’s do a little review.

How co-packing works is a much more precise and complicated process than some might assume at a glance. But even through all of the elaborate processes of specific steps, there is still just one goal in mind. A co-packer is a partner whose objective is to get the most polished version of your product to the consumer on time. Through the use of project trackers and case sealers, clip strip designers, and planning teams, co-packers get the job done. How it works and what a co-packer can do for you all depends on what you need. IFS can handle just as much or as little as you need help with.

Reach out about Contract Packaging for your business at our Speak to a Specialist Page.

#impactfs #supplychain #copacking #impactyourbrand

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