The start of a New Year brings all manner of resolutions some of which may fall by the wayside in spite of best intentions. At the British Contract Manufacturers and Packers Association we start the year with a flurry of activity with our BCMPA Annual Conference which provides our members with a valuable opportunity to network and also to listen to interesting presentations on industry wide subjects which can help them to keep their businesses in tune with current topics and areas of debate; which will, of course, lead to benefits for both existing and prospective customers. In bringing together the range of speakers we have reflected over the Contract Manufacturing and Co-Packing industry and what we should expect in 2015 and beyond plus what our role as an Association representing its members can bring to the party.
The BCMPA encourages its members to gain accreditations and to constantly assess the need for further quality control whilst maintaining a healthy commercial balance. Whilst BCMPA membership is not a quality accreditation in itself, we have a responsibility to ensure that our members are looking to improve continuously and be the best at their game. For prospective members, for example, it is our policy to conduct an audit visit prior to accepting their application. The need for various certifications for co-manufacturers and co-packers can be expensive and sometimes daunting. Companies who are at the early stages of their co-pack development will want to pick a generic quality system, whilst for others there is a real need to gain certification in specific sectors to suit their customers’ ever-growing need for quality data to back up the production process.
For customers wanting to outsource to companies with specific accreditations such as BRC Food, ISO 14001, Soil Association or MHRA etc., shortlists of members can be found via the search facility on the BCMPA website.
THE ONLY WAY IS ETHICS
At this month’s conference we are listening to Dan Murray from Sedex explaining about the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange and how it is dedicated to driving improvements in responsible and ethical business practises in global supply chains. It has become evident that brand owners and retailers are increasingly preferring to deal with Sedex-approved companies.
Speaking of ethical business practises, next up at the BCMPA Conference is a presentation from the GangMasters Licensing Authority. The law now dictates the employment criteria for agency staff working in agriculture, horticulture and shellfish gathering. We are not just talking about harvesting apples in Kent or cockle picking in Morecambe, the regulations apply to food-related processing and packing including secondary packing operations such as shrinkwrapping or labelling of multipacks. This obviously impacts on the co-packing industry and BCMPA members recognise the importance of fully understanding the legislation and ensuring that their operations comply.
BCMPA members are hardworking folk, but we as a Trade Association actively encourage them to prise themselves away from the production line from time to time to attend our conferences and to participate in relevant exhibitions which we help to promote. Email and Skype are all very well, but members do appreciate that they need to give themselves the opportunity get out and network amongst other professionals in our industry and remind themselves of the big picture – there is nothing like face-to-face encounters to promote and secure business.
February heralds the Contract Pack exhibition which forms part of the prestigious easyFairs Packaging Innovations event at the NEC. The focal point is the BCMPA Hospitality Lounge, surrounded by over 25 exhibiting BCMPA members providing manufacturing, filling, packing, fulfilment and logistics services across a wide range of industry sectors.
March sees the fourth staging of Making Cosmetics at the Ricoh Arena Coventry, once again featuring the BCMPA with a healthy contingent of exhibiting members. Then in April we have the Making Pharmaceuticals event at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham. These shows illustrate the diversity of BCMPA members and further events and information can be gleaned from the Exhibitions page of the BCMPA website.
A day out of the office in these manic days can often seem an impossibility, but if one makes the effort the rewards are invariably there.