Examining the new role of the packaging distributor

Dramatic changes in the economic landscape over the past 18 months have customers relying on distributors to an even greater extent, frequently viewing them as an extension of their package-sourcing department.

As manufacturers and marketers adapt to the ever-changing consumer products landscape, the way in which they interact with and utilize their supply chains continues to evolve. The resulting “trickle-down effect” on packaging distributors calls for a more timely response to the expanding requirements of their customers and the ability to source and deliver solutions--from product concept and design through order and delivery.

It also requires a “can-do” attitude that the knowledgeable and supportive package solutions provider infuses into every interaction with every customer, every day. That's what differentiates a good packaging distributor from an exceptional one.

On top of that, today's packaging supplier needs to stay ahead of the game when it comes to new trends, the demands of an ever-changing market, innovative products, and competitive pricing. If you don't, you may just find yourself in the same boat with many other companies that have failed to adapt and evolve to meet the challenges of changing market conditions.

There's a need to focus on sustainability, products, and pricing. There's a need to look beyond merely filling an order, and that requires the ability to understand each individual customer's needs, anticipate issues and potential problems, and provide turnkey services and resources, which might include the following:

• Proactive sourcing that constantly seeks to discover the most cost-effective innovations in materials, design, and package, and secondary packaging, with an emphasis on the expanding “green” movement.

• Consultative professionals who possess industry and market knowledge, leadership, and authority to support their customers as advisors and trusted partners, especially as companies with leaner staffs look to their suppliers as adjuncts to their product, sourcing, and developmental managers.

• Quality assurance procedures that help monitor a project from start to finish, ensuring adherence to rigorous quality standards and current best manufacturing practices that guarantees each customer's complete satisfaction.

• Decorating and labeling services: Customers need to have a visually appealing, eye-catching, innovative design that gets their product noticed on the shelf, differentiated from the competition and sold.

• Warehousing facilities that offer a customer the ability to split ship orders and store the unshipped portion until the customer needs it. Having adequate warehouse space also provides the advantage of being able to stock items in quantities to meet volume demands in the industry, so that products are always available when needed.

• Proactive packaging and components logistics management that provides ongoing review of open orders and analyzes each customer's usage and ordering history. This helps customers to optimize their ordering patterns and ensures on-going product availability.

Because of dramatic changes in the economic landscape over the past 18 months, customers have begun to rely on distributors to an even greater extent and frequently view them as an extension of their package-sourcing department.
O.Berk's Chairman and CEO, Marc Gaelen, concluded, “We're often tasked with filling an essential role as support staff for our customers, and we strive to go the extra mile in our pursuit to provide them with a total packaging solution.”

Article supplied by O.Berk Company, provider of packaging services and solutions to the pharmaceutical, healthcare, cosmetic, personal care, food and beverage, and household and commercial industries, with stock and custom plastic and glass containers, caps, pumps, sprayers, and labeling and decorating services.
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