Looking to hire a packaging company to help you fulfill your new military contract? If so, you may want to think back on what the process was like when you were bidding as a potential military vendor. The military buying office probably wanted information on your products, your processes, your capabilities, and much more. How many questions did you have to answer about your business? How much data and information did you have to provide?
It might be helpful to adopt the military’s mindset in your search for a packaging partner. There are many packaging companies out there, and most say that they can help with military contracts. However, that doesn’t mean that every military packaging company is right for your needs and objectives.
Below are a few questions to ask as you search for a packaging partner. Be sure to do your due diligence and gain a full understanding of their capabilities and process. These questions can serve as a starting point for your research.
1. How would you make my packaging process more efficient?
Whether you’re supplying the military or some other customer, efficiency should always be a packaging objective. An efficient packaging process means reduced costs, which allows you to be more competitive with your pricing. It also shortens your process which helps you meet tight deadlines.
Look for a packaging company that not only provides packaging, but also looks at your entire process. For example, they may implement some level of automation to reduce the need for labor. Or they may recommend semi-assembled or reusable containers to minimize the packaging time.
Look for a company that can evaluate and design your entire process. That kind of holistic approach could help you better fulfill the military contract and boost your bottom line.
2. What’s your experience with military quality assurance reviews?
One of the biggest differences between the military and other customers is the quality assurance process. After you produce and package your goods, the military will send out a quality assurance representative (QAR) within seven business days. The QAR’s job is to inspect your products and packaging to ensure everything complies with military standards.
If the packaging isn’t in compliance, the shipment could be rejected. You’ll have to address the issues and wait for another inspection before your products are accepted. Obviously, the faster you can get products through the inspection, the faster you’ll get paid.
Experienced military packagers have a defined quality assurance process. They have relationships with local QARs, so they can get the inspection scheduled quickly. Just because the QAR has seven business days doesn’t mean it always has to take seven business days.
Also, the packager will fully understand military guidelines and how to comply with the packaging guidelines. That increases the odds of getting approved and getting your products delivered.
3. What are your strategies for meeting tight military delivery deadlines?
You may be experienced with customers who place orders with short deadlines. If so, you may know what to expect with the military. They’re known for expecting tight turnaround times from their vendors.
Many packagers provide warehousing and logistics services in addition to packaging solutions. If so, your packager could implement a strategy that ensures you can meet even the most challenging delivery expectations. For instance, you could warehouse product in the packager’s facility to cut down on the timeline. Or they could design packaging that takes a minimal amount of time to assemble.
Look for a packaging company who can do more than simply crate your products. Ask these questions and more to identify a real partner who can help you make the most of your military opportunity and win more government business in the future.