RODNEY STEEL, Chief Executive at the British Contract Manufacturers and Packers Association explains what the BCMPA can do for you…
As Bananarama sang in the 80s: “It ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it”.
As I listened to the tune on the radio over the New Year, I pondered the question, what makes some companies more successful than others and how will members of the British Contract Manufacturers and Packers Association fare in the unchartered waters of 2017.
At the BCMPA we represent British contract packers and manufacturers who are engaged in providing essential
services that supply almost everything we use in everyday life from bottles of shampoo to sachets of sauce, tubs of pet food to household cleaners, nutritional supplements to Valentine’s Day gift packs. And in addition, our members provide a comprehensive list of supporting fulfilment services including warehousing, pick ‘n’ pack, order response and distribution.
Each of the products filled or packed requires a specialist discipline, and the contract packers and manufacturers are experts at drawing on their core skills to provide these services. Brand owners and retailers looking to outsource to 3rd party suppliers do so for a number of reasons, often because they do not have their own manufacturing site, they do not have capacity, or the product is new and requires specialist equipment which is too expensive for the customer to purchase. However, probably the most important factor for customers when selecting accredited outsourcing partners is that they want to buy into the experience and knowledge levels that the contractor has amassed to ensure their project runs smoothly and does not encounter unnecessary problems that could jeopardise the important bottom line. The challenge for our members is to find ways in which to communicate their skills and services to a wider audience and for clients to understand the true value that can be derived from using the co-packing industry.
The role of the BCMPA is to provide its 130+ members with opportunities to be found by potential customers looking to secure contract manufacturing, contract packing and logistics services. The search function on the BCMPA website
enables visitors to search across industry sectors including Food, Drink, Personal Care, Pharmaceutical, Chemical and General Co-Packing, and then drill down to processes and packaging formats to achieve a shortlist of members
with the capabilities they need. Each member has their own profile page with a summary of their services, contact details and a link to their own website. The search even extends to specific geographical locations and required quality accreditations. Once a shortlist is drawn up, the customer can choose to engage direct with the preferred contractor.
After the dramatic events of last year, we enter 2017 with a degree of uncertainty about the future not helped by the lack of explanation surrounding the phrase ‘Brexit means Brexit’. Uncertainty is not ideal for growth and business owners are understandably nervous about the future. Companies buying products from abroad are facing challenges from the unfavourable exchange rates, however, on the upside, this will make the UK a more attractive option for customers from overseas looking to have products packed in the UK and provide valuable export opportunities. That is why it is important at this time for companies to be visible and to raise their profile in as many ways as they can to stand out from the crowd.
The BCMPA has a successful track record of helping members to get noticed and to encourage them to create noise about their own capabilities. In addition to the BCMPA website, which receives over 10,000 unique views per month,
the Association helps to facilitate other opportunities for members to market themselves, for example at exhibitions and in the trade press. You will find our members are frequently featured in Retail Packaging magazine.
In 2016 the BCMPA exhibited at six trade shows, promoting members across a number of sectors, and we start our 2017 programme on 1st – 2nd March with the Contract Pack show, part of the Easyfairs Packaging Innovation Exhibition at the NEC, where we will be exhibiting with over 20 BCMPA members showcasing the very best of co-packing, co-manufacturing and logistics services. Visitors to the BCMPA Hospitality Stand will be able to discuss their outsourcing requirements and be given a live demonstration on how to use the search function on the BCMPA website. They can also see the value of our online enquiry service which in 2016 enabled over 700 clients to quickly engage with our members.
Whilst 2017 will be a challenging year, one thing is certain: clients recognise that the co-packing industry possesses the skills and experience which they know they can rely upon. Back to the song, “It ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it… and that’s what gets results.”