Procurement and supply chain management teams at pet food companies are under more pressure than ever to manage costs and stay competitive in an increasingly overcrowded market. Choosing an overseas pet food packaging supplier can be a tempting option on paper if they’re offering lower costs per unit than a domestic printer. However, cost per unit is often misleading—there are other costs to consider while making this important decision. Here are five reasons to choose a domestic pet food packaging supplier for your next project.
One of the most critical factors in determining a company’s ability to meet its business growth goals is supply chain reliability. Still, buyers are under more pressure than ever to find opportunities to reduce costs throughout the supply chain, and often consider engaging an overseas packaging printer to try to save money. While the cost on paper of buying packaging overseas can be lower, the true cost to your business could be significantly higher. Cutting “good costs” is often not nearly as beneficial to your bottom line as avoiding “bad costs”.
1. Avoiding “Bad Costs”
The initial savings of choosing a cheaper overseas supplier may be erased by higher shipping costs, but this is not always the case. Some producers find that the landed cost of overseas packaging is still less than the cost of domestic packaging.
However, the cost of being late can be much higher when partnering with an overseas supplier. If a printing error is discovered too late, the cost of fixing it and getting it to where you need it on time could be astronomical. Shipping by sea is no longer an option at this point, and bringing over a packaging order by air is several orders of magnitude more expensive. Even worse, you may not get your packaging on time at all and miss a deadline, costing you tens of thousands of dollars (or more) in missed opportunities—a number that will surely be much larger than a 10-15% savings on packaging spend.
2. Avoiding Unpredictability
Many producers simply can’t avoid sourcing supplies or ingredients overseas. However, each global stop on the supply chain adds a layer of complexity and unpredictability to the entire operation. There are geopolitical and logistics considerations to contend with—everything from economic stability to bad weather.
One trend we’ve seen among pet food packaging buyers we’ve worked with is a dramatic increase in the internal effort spent on setting up and determining objectives for the buying committee. A significant amount of work goes into managing unpredictability on the producer’s side and ensuring that many departments are on the same page before finding the right packaging solution. Smart buyers also look to proactively manage unpredictability on the supply side. Choosing a domestic pet food packaging supplier can help to avoid logistics issues that were unforeseen simply due to distance from the supplier.
3. Better Inventory Control
Global sourcing can make inventory management more difficult, especially if you are increasing the size of your minimum order to save money per unit from an overseas supplier. This could increase your merchandise carrying cost or leave you with useless excess inventory if a packaging change is made. It can also make keeping track of your stock more difficult if you’re contending with 30+ day shipping times.
4. Building Stronger Relationships
Your business is built on a foundation of strong relationships. Partnering with a domestic pet food packaging supplier that brings a network of strong industry relationships to the table will better position you for domestic success. A printer with decades of domestic experience has an incredible depth of resources that you as a producer may not even be aware of.
One benefit of building a strong relationship with a domestic supplier who has been working with local producers for a long time is that they can anticipate issues long before they arise, and propose solutions that will be effective for a North American retail environment. Because of their familiarity with the landscape, they’re also more likely to be able to propose innovative solutions that will keep you one step ahead of your competitors.
As an example, our team of packaging experts provides extensive onsite support to many of our clients, and will visit our clients’ facilities in advance to ensure that any chosen films will run well on their machines. This kind of benefit is hard—if not impossible—to get with an overseas supplier.
5. Delivering On The Plan, Not Just The Project
Just about any packaging supplier can ship you the pet food packaging you asked for. It takes an experienced and dedicated packaging partner to deliver on your business plan. We know that pet food producers are searching for new ways to stand out and succeed in a crowded market—there are over 600 pet food brands in the market today with hundreds of new SKUs being launched each year. In order to enable delivery of a business growth plan that will keep you competitive, you can’t be distracted by putting out fires, managing multiple vendors that don’t talk to each other, and dealing with unforeseen errors that could make you late to market. You need a bulletproof supply chain that can reliably deliver on the plan and not just the project.
Don’t just go with the cheapest packaging option. Go with the option that will deliver the most long-term value for your business.
Ready to learn more about how an experienced domestic pet food packaging supplier can help you deliver sales success? Click here to start a conversation with Project Central, our dedicated project coordination team.