1 – Align with the management team directly as often as possible.
Speak to them leader to leader. Your success is their success and vice-a-versa.
Become actual friends with them. Talk to them about other aspects of life and business. Text them just to see how they’re doing. Drop by and say hello when you’re in the area. Send them a Starbucks gift card or door-dash some pizza for their team.
The key is to have a real relationship with them so that when problems arise or things become difficult, you have a foundation to work from. Besides, business is way more fun when you’re working with friends!
2 – Find a co-packer that does what they say they’ll do.
This is crucial for any partner in your business or employee on your team. Especially the co-packers and suppliers who are fundamental to your production process.
This all comes down to honesty and trust. If they say they’ll produce an order by a certain date, do they actually do it?
If they give you one price up front, do they stick to it? When they make mistakes, do they own up to and correct them?
This goes for you as the brand as well. Do you send them ingredients and materials to produce on time? Are you holding up your end of the agreement?
3 – Don’t be afraid to do a test run.
Especially if it’s your first time working with a co-packer. This is particularly important as you scale from producing products on your own to working with a co-packer.
Sometimes, the recipe doesn’t scale directly like you think it will. You might need custom machinery, equipment, or something else to get the consistent product quality you want.
No better way to work out the kinks and really know if you’re a good fit for each other than to test things out.
4 – Work with someone local or in a neighboring state.
This one might not always be possible depending on your situation but it can be a real difference-maker.
It makes everything we’ve talked about so far a lot easier.
How much easier is it to build a relationship when you can stop by and say hello in person or meet up for lunch?
If you’re new to a co-packer and want to be physically present during the manufacturing process to start out, it’s easier when they’re close by.
Plus, it’s a nice feeling for local businesses to support each other!