24 May
Contract Packaging

MSL’s Definitive Guide To Copacking Services In 2024

In the fast-paced world of retail and ecommerce, businesses are continually seeking innovative solutions to streamline their operations, enhance their product offerings, and meet the ever-changing demands of consumers. One such solution that has gained significant traction in recent years is co-packing services. As a leader in comprehensive fulfillment solutions, MSL is excited to present this definitive guide to co-packing services in 2024. Whether you’re a burgeoning startup looking to launch your first product or an established brand seeking to optimize your packaging and fulfillment strategies, this guide will provide invaluable insights and actionable tips to help you succeed.

What is Co-Packing?

Co-packing, also known as contract packaging or co-manufacturing, involves outsourcing the packaging and assembly of products to specialized third-party providers. Co-packing services encompass a wide array of activities, including packaging design, material sourcing, assembly, labeling, and fulfillment. By leveraging the expertise and capabilities of a co-packing partner, businesses can access cost-effective solutions, streamline their operations, and focus on core activities such as product development, marketing, and sales.

Benefits of Co-Packing Services

Cost Savings: Outsourcing packaging and assembly tasks to a co-packing provider can result in significant cost savings for businesses. Co-packers often have established relationships with suppliers and access to bulk discounts on materials, allowing them to negotiate favorable pricing and pass on savings to their clients. Additionally, co-packing can help businesses avoid the overhead costs associated with maintaining in-house packaging facilities and equipment.

Scalability: Co-packing services offer businesses the flexibility to scale their operations quickly in response to fluctuations in demand. Whether it’s seasonal peaks, promotional campaigns, or new product launches, co-packers can ramp up production capacity to meet increased volume requirements without the need for additional investments in infrastructure or manpower. This scalability is particularly valuable for startups and small businesses looking to grow their operations without committing to long-term contracts or capital expenditures.

Expertise and Resources: Co-packing partners bring specialized expertise and resources to the table, allowing businesses to benefit from their knowledge, experience, and industry connections. From packaging design and material sourcing to assembly techniques and quality control processes, co-packers have the skills and infrastructure to ensure that products are packaged and presented to the highest standards. This expertise can help businesses enhance the quality and consistency of their packaging while reducing the risk of errors or delays.

Speed to Market: Co-packing services can help businesses accelerate their time to market by streamlining the packaging and fulfillment process. With dedicated resources and optimized workflows, co-packers can expedite production cycles, reduce lead times, and ensure that products are ready for distribution in a timely manner. This agility is essential for businesses operating in fast-paced industries where speed and responsiveness are critical to staying competitive.

Focus on Core Activities: By outsourcing packaging and assembly tasks to a co-packing provider, businesses can free up valuable time and resources to focus on core activities such as product innovation, marketing, and customer engagement. Rather than getting bogged down in logistical details and operational challenges, businesses can leverage the expertise of their co-packing partner to streamline processes and drive strategic initiatives that fuel growth and profitability.

Types of Co-Packing Services: Enhancing Your Packaging and Fulfillment Strategies

Co-packing services encompass a wide range of activities designed to streamline packaging, assembly, and fulfillment processes for businesses across various industries. From primary packaging to fulfillment and distribution, co-packers offer specialized services to meet the diverse needs of their clients. In this section, we’ll delve deeper into the different types of co-packing services and their significance in today’s competitive marketplace.

Primary Packaging

Primary packaging plays a critical role in protecting products and showcasing them to consumers. It refers to the packaging materials that come into direct contact with the product, such as bottles, jars, pouches, and blister packs. Co-packers specializing in primary packaging are equipped with the expertise and resources to handle a wide range of packaging formats and materials.

Primary packaging services typically include:

Filling and Sealing: Co-packers fill containers with products, whether it’s liquid fillings for bottles or solid fillings for pouches. They ensure precise filling levels and proper sealing to maintain product integrity and prevent leakage.

Labeling and Shrink Sleeving: After filling, co-packers apply labels, shrink sleeves, or other branding materials to the primary packaging. These labels not only provide product information and branding but also serve as a tamper-evident seal, enhancing product security and consumer confidence.

Quality Assurance: Throughout the primary packaging process, co-packers conduct rigorous quality control checks to ensure that products meet established standards for appearance, functionality, and safety. This includes inspections for defects, contamination, and adherence to specifications.

Primary packaging services are essential for businesses looking to package their products in a professional and appealing manner. By partnering with a co-packer for primary packaging, businesses can benefit from efficient and cost-effective solutions while focusing on core aspects of their operations such as product development and marketing.

Secondary Packaging

While primary packaging protects individual products, secondary packaging provides additional layers of protection and facilitates efficient handling during transportation and storage. Secondary packaging encompasses a variety of outer packaging materials, including boxes, cartons, and display cases, used to package multiple units of products for shipment or retail display.

Co-packers offering secondary packaging services specialize in:

Assembling and Packaging

Co-packers assemble individual units of products into larger packaging units, such as cases or cartons, for transportation or retail display. They ensure that products are securely packed and properly arranged to maximize space utilization and minimize damage during transit.

Labeling and Palletizing

After packaging, co-packers apply labels and identification markings to secondary packaging units for easy tracking and identification. They also palletize packaged units according to specified configurations, optimizing loading efficiency and ensuring safe handling during transportation.

Secondary packaging services are crucial for businesses seeking to streamline their logistics and distribution processes. By outsourcing secondary packaging tasks to a co-packer, businesses can improve operational efficiency, reduce labor costs, and enhance product presentation and protection.

Kitting and Assembly

Kitting and assembly services involve the bundling of multiple products or components into ready-to-ship kits or packages. Co-packers specializing in kitting and assembly play a key role in simplifying product offerings, enhancing customer experiences, and facilitating cross-selling or promotional initiatives.

Key components of kitting and assembly services include:

Material Sourcing: Co-packers source and procure components, accessories, or promotional materials required for assembling kits according to client specifications. They ensure timely procurement of high-quality materials at competitive prices to meet project deadlines and budget constraints.

Assembly and Packaging: Co-packers assemble individual components into kits or packages, following precise instructions provided by the client. They carefully package components, arrange them in designated configurations, and apply branding materials or promotional inserts to enhance the kit’s appeal.

Quality Control: Throughout the kitting and assembly process, co-packers conduct thorough quality checks to ensure that kits meet established standards for completeness, accuracy, and presentation. This includes inspections for missing components, damaged items, and alignment with client requirements.

Kitting and assembly services offer businesses a convenient and cost-effective way to bundle products, create promotional offers, or customize product assortments for specific customer segments. By partnering with a co-packer for kitting and assembly, businesses can streamline their operations, reduce overhead costs, and enhance customer satisfaction through tailored product offerings.

Labelling and Serialization

Labelling and serialization services are essential for ensuring product traceability, compliance with regulatory requirements, and brand consistency. Co-packers offering labeling and serialization services leverage advanced technology and expertise to apply accurate and legible labels to products, packaging, and shipping containers.

Key features of labelling and serialization services include:

Label Design and Printing: Co-packers collaborate with clients to design custom labels that convey product information, branding elements, and regulatory compliance details. They utilize state-of-the-art printing equipment and software to produce high-quality labels with precision and consistency.

Application and Verification: Co-packers apply labels to products or packaging using automated labelling machines or manual application techniques, depending on project requirements. They ensure that labels are applied straight, securely affixed, and free from defects to maintain product aesthetics and functionality.

Serialization and Track-and-Trace: Co-packers implement serialization codes, such as barcodes, QR codes, or serial numbers, to enable product tracking and traceability throughout the supply chain. They integrate serialization data with client systems or industry databases to facilitate regulatory compliance and enhance supply chain visibility.

Labelling and serialization services help businesses meet regulatory requirements, combat counterfeiting and product diversion, and enhance customer trust and confidence. By partnering with a co-packer for labelling and serialization, businesses can ensure compliance with industry standards, streamline supply chain operations, and mitigate risks associated with product labelling errors or non-compliance.

Fulfillment and Distribution

Fulfillment and distribution services encompass the warehousing, picking, packing, and shipping of products to end customers or retail locations. Co-packers offering fulfillment services act as an extension of their clients’ operations, managing inventory, processing orders, and coordinating logistics to ensure timely and accurate delivery of products.

Key components of fulfillment and distribution services include:

Warehousing and Inventory Management: Co-packers provide secure storage facilities and sophisticated inventory management systems to track stock levels, monitor product movement, and optimize storage space. They manage inbound and outbound logistics, handle stock replenishment, and conduct regular cycle counts to maintain inventory accuracy.

Order Processing and Fulfillment: Co-packers receive orders from clients through integrated systems or order management platforms. They pick products from inventory, pack them according to specified requirements, and generate shipping labels for outbound shipments. They also manage order fulfillment processes such as order consolidation, gift wrapping, or personalized messaging.

Shipping and Logistics: Co-packers partner with reliable carriers and logistics providers to ensure efficient transportation of products to their final destinations. They negotiate favourable shipping rates, optimize shipping routes, and track shipments in real-time to minimize transit times and reduce shipping costs. They also handle customs clearance, export documentation, and compliance with international shipping regulations for cross-border shipments.

Fulfillment and distribution services are indispensable for ecommerce businesses seeking to outsource their order fulfillment operations and streamline their supply chain. By partnering with a co-packer for fulfillment services, businesses can focus on core aspects of their operations, such as product development and marketing, while entrusting order fulfillment tasks to experienced professionals.

Selecting the Right Co-Packing Partner

Selecting the right co-packing partner is a crucial decision that can significantly impact the success of your business. With numerous options available in the market, it’s essential to carefully evaluate potential co-packers to ensure they align with your needs and objectives. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting a co-packing partner:

Industry Experience

Industry experience is a vital consideration when choosing a co-packing partner. Look for a provider with extensive experience in your industry or vertical. A co-packer familiar with the specific requirements and challenges of your industry will be better equipped to meet your needs effectively. They will understand industry standards, regulations, and best practices, allowing for smoother collaboration and more tailored solutions.

Capabilities and Services

Assess the co-packer’s capabilities and range of services to ensure they can support your specific packaging and fulfillment requirements. Consider factors such as production capacity, equipment capabilities, and geographic reach. Evaluate whether the co-packer has the necessary resources and expertise to handle your volume, product specifications, and distribution channels. Additionally, inquire about their flexibility in accommodating custom requests or unique packaging designs.

Quality and Compliance

Quality and compliance are paramount in co-packing operations, especially when it comes to packaging and assembly. Ensure that the co-packer has robust quality control processes in place to maintain product integrity and adhere to regulatory standards. Look for certifications such as ISO (International Organization for Standardization), GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice), or SQF (Safe Quality Food) to verify the co-packer’s commitment to quality and safety. A reputable co-packer should have documented quality assurance procedures and regularly undergo audits to ensure compliance.

Technology and Innovation

Technology plays a pivotal role in modern co-packing operations, driving efficiency, accuracy, and productivity. Look for co-packers that leverage advanced technology solutions and automation tools to optimize their processes. Providers with innovative capabilities such as track-and-trace systems, real-time reporting, and data analytics can provide valuable insights and visibility into your packaging and fulfillment operations. These technologies not only enhance operational efficiency but also enable better traceability, inventory management, and order tracking.

Communication and Collaboration

Effective communication and collaboration are essential for a successful co-packing partnership. Choose a co-packer that values transparency, responsiveness, and open dialogue. During the evaluation process, assess the co-packer’s communication style, responsiveness to inquiries, and willingness to address your concerns. Look for providers that are proactive in providing updates, resolving issues, and seeking feedback. A collaborative approach fosters trust and alignment between you and your co-packing partner, leading to smoother project execution and better outcomes.

Reputation and References

Research the co-packer’s reputation in the industry and seek references from past or current clients. Online reviews, testimonials, and case studies can provide insights into the co-packer’s track record, customer satisfaction levels, and performance. Additionally, ask the co-packer for references or client referrals that you can contact directly to learn about their experiences and satisfaction with the services provided. A reputable co-packer should be transparent about their track record and readily provide references upon request.

Cost and Value

While cost is an important consideration, prioritize value over price alone when selecting a co-packing partner. Evaluate the overall quality of service, reliability, and potential for long-term partnership. Consider factors such as pricing structure, billing transparency, and value-added services offered by the co-packer. Look for providers that offer competitive pricing without compromising on quality or service levels. Keep in mind that investing in a reputable co-packer can yield long-term benefits in terms of efficiency, reliability, and customer satisfaction.


In conclusion, co-packing services offer a range of benefits for businesses looking to optimize their packaging and fulfillment strategies. From cost savings and scalability to expertise and efficiency, co-packers play a vital role in helping businesses streamline operations, drive growth, and deliver exceptional products to their customers.

As you explore co-packing options for your business, consider the key considerations outlined in this guide and take the time to research and evaluate potential partners. By selecting the right co-packing partner, you can unlock new opportunities for innovation, expansion, and success in today’s competitive marketplace.

At MSL, we’re committed to providing comprehensive co-packing solutions that meet the unique needs of our clients. With state-of-the-art facilities, advanced technology, and a team of experienced professionals, we’re here to help you elevate your product packaging and fulfillment strategies and achieve your business goals. Contact us today to learn more about our co-packing services and how we can support your success in 2024 and beyond.