Sometimes, during the course of business operations, nutrition bar companies feel the need to move on to a new co-packer. This is always a big decision to make. Transitioning to a new co-packer requires full preparation and careful planning to ensure its success. Because the process itself can be quite complex, business owners should be wary when first-choosing a co-packer. Changing co-packers is something you want to avoid, and the best way to handle this is by picking the best co-packer for your business from the start. However, since it is difficult to predict where the relationship with your co-packer may end up, we put together a guide on how to best transition to a new protein bar co-packer.
Step 1. Finding a New Co-Packer
Finding a new protein bar contract manufacturer and co-packer is just like finding a new job. You want to be able to secure a new co-packer before leaving your current one. Although finding the right co-packer for your business can be a painstaking and tedious process, it is important to remember: Don’t rush this process. Make sure to take the time to decipher your needs and what you want from a prospective co-packer. In doing so, you will be able to find a new co-packer that is a perfect fit for you and your business. The right co-packer will be able to align and understand your unique business model and vision from the very beginning. This will allow them to help scale their operations as your protein bar brand grows.
When looking for a new co-packer, think back to why you decided to make the switch in the first place. Answering these questions will help you decide what you want and don’t want from your new co-packer. Additionally, remember to ask these top 10 important questions when meeting your prospective co-packers. Communication is the most important part of this whole process. It is essential that you understand each potential co-packer’s processes and offerings to make the best decision for your protein bar company. The right co-packer will check all your boxes.
Step 2. Inform Your Current Co-Packer
Once you find your new co-packer, the next step is to notify your current co-packer that you won't be renewing your contract. As mentioned earlier, transitioning to a new co-packer is similar to transitioning between jobs. You will want to end on good terms with your current co-packer before moving on to the next. This is just good business morale. Take the time to explain why you have decided to move on so that your current co-packer understands where things may have gone wrong. This means you will need to mention one or two of the reasons that led to your decision, such as slow growth, inefficient scalability, high costs, low flexibility, insufficient certifications, or maybe some other reason that is unique to your company. Having an honest and genuine conversation will help facilitate ending your business relationship on good terms.
Step 3. Organize the Final Production Run
After informing your current co-packer that you will not be renewing your contract with them, you should have a meeting with their team to schedule a final production run. This step is important as stopping production right away can get costly in terms of time, money, and ingredients wasted. A final production run will allow both businesses to fulfill the last bit of manufacturing services in your contract and avoid a loss of revenue due to production halts or gaps in manufacturing. Once the final run is scheduled, you must have an action plan that outlines the necessary arrangements of ingredient and material transfer from your current co-packer to a suitable storage location or in-house facility. Organization is key to a seamless and efficient transfer process; therefore, good planning and execution are necessary.
Step 4. Prepare all Your Files for Your New Co-Packer
As the final production run with your current co-packer takes place, make preparations for your new co-packer by putting together a well-thought-out and easily accessible document. This file must clearly describe your ingredient list, processes, packaging, and other pertinent specifications to ensure a smooth transition. This can help prevent miscommunication, errors, and interruptions in the production and distribution of your protein bars. Additionally, through this comprehensive document, your new co-packer will have everything they need to know about upholding your vision throughout the whole process.
Before starting production with your new co-packer, verify that they have understood everything in your document. Be open to any questions they might have and be ready to stay on top of everything for the first couple of months to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Step 5. Make the Switch and Brace for Change
While making your transition, brace for change. It won’t be significant, but there will be slight differences due to a new production team and process. One way to avoid this is to have everything ready before actual production begins, as mentioned earlier. Additionally, since the transition process is long and takes getting used to, being patient, proactive, and open to communication is your best course of action during its initial stages. A new kitchen, new facilities, and a few new processes are some of the things you will need to take the time to observe and see how they work. This will help you anticipate and reduce unwanted issues that could arise later. Let the kitchen manager show you around and explain to you how things are done in their area. If needed, work with your new co-packer's R&D team for any alterations that will need to be done to your recipe or formula. This will ensure smooth processing in the new facility since some changes to your product may be necessary to accommodate production on large-scale equipment. You will see favorable results if you have successfully chosen the right co-packer.