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The Inside Secrets of Your Outside Partners

By: Lisa Doyle
Posted: March 8, 2011, from the March 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Likewise, at Coughlan Products, headquartered in Wayne, New Jersey, long-term clients benefit from an open line of communication. “With our established customers, we have a more defined understanding of their brand’s image, we know their brand’s DNA, so we can be proactive by bringing fresh ideas to them, instead of waiting for that phone call,” says Michele Forrest, vice president of sales for Coughlan. “Along with this comes a higher expectation on the part of the customer, that we will bring fresh ideas on a regular basis. This alliance leads to an active exchange of ideas, which yields more interesting products, and ultimately affords brands a more competitive edge in the market.”

Added Value

In a strong partnership, not only will outside partners come to you with new offerings—they’ll also come to you with unexpected services. CaseStack, often most known for its shipping and transportation solutions, actually provides services throughout the supply chain. “We can handle everything from importing raw materials and finished goods from overseas, to warehousing that inventory in one or multiple warehouse locations, and also provide a complete suite of value-added services: re-packaging, labeling, light assembly, heat shrink and more,” says Colby Beland, vice president of the Fayetteville, Arkansas-based branch. “In addition, our Web-based technology platform ensures our clients have complete visibility of their supply chain at any point in the chain.”

And many contract manufacturers may surprise you with the depth of their capabilities. Farmingdale, New York-based Lady Burd Cosmetics, in business for more than 50 years, offers everything from custom formulations and contract filling to total turnkey products. “We offer many options to make our customers’ lines as unique as possible,” says Janelle Rogers, product developer, Lady Burd. “They have the option of hot stamping or silk screening their packaging and changing the labels, which are made in-house.”

The experts at Coughlan agree that taking advantage of the company’s total range of capabilities produces the best results, and a brand owner will benefit most by “picking its brains” earlier in the creative and development processes. “For example, a company may come to us for a price on aqua-colored bath crystals, but if we gave them the quote without defining their objectives, we wouldn’t see the bigger picture and learn that the company is creating a line of products with an ocean theme,” says Pat Campbell, Coughlan’s CEO. “Suddenly, we’re talking about a plethora of ideas to expand their line, such as sea salt scrubs, tablets shaped like shells, skin-beneficial marine additives to enhance their product and solid perfumes that smell like an ocean breeze. We can even further define which ocean the products represent by using unique salts from around the world.”