Private Label

Building Better Business with Sustainability

Building Better Business with Sustainability

As upstream supply-chain partners for retailers and downstream partners for growers, consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers and co-packers live with the bullwhip effect. The bullwhip effect causes more significant upstream order variability and inventory requirements because of downstream signals, demand, and pricing. As the changes and signals travel up, each link in the supply chain reacts, which becomes a signal for the next link. The stimulus and response both grow as they move upward. Proctor and Gamble and IBM separately documented the effect; P&G found it in their Pampers baby diaper product line and IBM in the launch of the Aptiva personal computer – both in the mid-1990s.

Mid-stream partners feel bullwhip effects

CPG manufacturers and co-packers are especially susceptible to these problems because they sit between a variable demand generator, retailers, and a variable supply source, farmers, and growers. The solutions to the bullwhip effect are increased information sharing, better channel alignment, and improved operational efficiencies at each level of the supply chain. Over the past few decades, improvements in communications technology, inventory management software, and increased retailer competition have driven efficiencies and increased productivity in the retail produce supply chain.

Consumer demand drives initiatives

Consumers today are growing more aware of how their food is grown, how it is packaged, and how it is brought to market. Retailers want their customers to think of them positively, so they launch efforts to meet those demands. Consider these corporate-wide efforts from some of America’s largest grocery retailers:

  • Walmart wants to double the sales of locally-grown produce in the United States
  • Kroger will use at least 20% post-consumer recycled content in its private label packaging
  • Albertson’s will provide clear recycling communications on their private label packaging, including the use of QR codes, by 2022.

Bullwhip effects are varied, too

Not all bullwhip effects are equal. Some travel from the end consumer up to the first link in the chain, while others find their end mid-stream. For example, Walmart’s push for local produce will change what growers will plant and where manufacturers source their inputs. On the other hand, Albertson’s and Kroger’s packaging demands will affect how co-packers and CPG manufacturers produce their goods. These requirements mean increased variability – more packaging variants, changing requirements, frequent line changes, and more. Each brand comes up with its initiatives, each one of those is a new customer requirement for you, the manufacturer or co-packer, to meet.

At Greif, we help our customers adapt to the changing packaging landscape through a discovery and onboarding process that puts the product, the package, the producer, and the process at the center of our efforts. We work to help our customers use adaptability and flexibility as a competitive advantage in today’s dynamic, sometimes chaotic, market.

Exclusive sustainability toolkit

If you’d like to learn more about how Greif CPG can help you better meet the customer requirements of tomorrow – we’re excited to let you know about our new sustainability toolkit!

  • Our latest ebook: Growing Challenges in the Consumer Packaging Supply Chain
  • Infosheet: Recycling and Reconditioning Services for Mid-Stream Manufacturers and Co-Packers 

Do you have a challenge that you need to tackle today? Reach out, and we’ll start working towards our 6P Onboarding Process.

Posted by Brian Harrington in Private Label, Sustainability
Conflict and Collaboration Spur Sustainable Packaging Innovation

Conflict and Collaboration Spur Sustainable Packaging Innovation

The consumer goods marketplace is continuously evolving. Manufacturers and contract packagers must adapt to changing demands from retailers, consumers, and upstream partners. Retailers want shorter lead times and smaller on-hand inventories; consumers demand high-quality, sustainable, responsible goods. Retailers represent their and their customers’ interests when working with manufacturers and contract packagers – so their demands get co-mingled. For example, smaller shipments in sustainable, compostable packaging. All of this at a better price than before. These demands put manufacturers and contract packagers in a tight spot – how do they meet the requirements of their customers, remain profitable, and do it all at a faster pace than ever before?

Conflict arises when positions collide

Conflict often arises when parties have competing positions and interests. For example, when you and your business partner have different ideas about money and how it should be allocated or when you and a colleague disagree on the best way to move forward on this quarter’s production goal. Conflict gets a bad rap sometimes – especially in supply chain vendor-customer relationships. Addressing conflicts means talking about how we disagree about how our goals and aspirations collide. Thinking about talking about conflict can build anxiety – we worry about the worst-case scenario: that by addressing the conflict, the other party will abandon us and go to our competitor.

The fear and anxiety build because we think about conflict as win-lose or lose-lose: giving in means that we lose, forcing means that the other loses, and compromise means that we both lose. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s a way for both parties to win – it’s called collaboration.

Collaboration: Building wins for both sides

Collaboration is everywhere. The term pops up with team-working software, business initiatives, and, for our purposes, with problem-solving. Collaborative problem-solving is a conflict resolution technique. In a nutshell, conflicting parties differentiate the issues that are behind their position, find common ground on issues, and build a win-win solution by embracing issue-based problem-solving over position-holding conflict.

For example, most of Procter & Gamble’s product line is sold in plastic containers. But even they are not immune from the customer and retailer demands to reduce single-use plastics for packaging. Recycled plastics usually are mechanically recycled, which can degrade the quality and limits reuse. Using recycled plastic can be an issue for companies, like P&G, whose products require a specific type of plastic and whose branding relies on clear plastic.

According to Meg Wilson at GreenBiz:

Polypropylene, for example, is one of the most widely used plastics, but its recycling rate is abysmal — less than 1 percent. That’s because the post-consumer product is a multicolored blend of feedstocks that can be reprocessed only into durable black plastic.

Recently P&G took on an initiative to invent a hybrid mechanical-chemical technology that reprocesses recycled plastic into clear pellets. P&G has led an open-sourced, collaborative effort to build a solution – The Closed Loop Fund and Innventure have funded this project and are helping to scale it up to a commercial venture called PureCycle. The first commercial facility in Ohio is expected to produce over 105 million pounds of recycled polypropylene annually by 2020.

Conflicting demands present an opportunity for collaboration

Collaboration is a powerful tool for conflict. For food manufacturers and contract packagers negotiating multiple, conflicting retailer demands, can present opportunities.

Retailers’ sustainability initiatives are positions built on several issues, such as consumer demands for environmentally conscious packaging and quality products as well as shareholder expectations for quick deliveries and cost control. Food manufacturers and contract packagers have positions, too, that are informed by issues like capital investment, forecasting, inventory, and run size to name a few. Simply identifying these issues presents opportunities for collaboration, solution, and innovation.

Sustainability efforts can fuel growth

CoPackers need to take a step back from wondering, “How much is this going to cost me?” and start thinking of how they can create value. Consider thinking of ways to reducing risk, save operating costs, differentiating, and improving your brand reputation instead. Focus less on the pain of making changes and more about the output when you produce better products and processes.

A partner like Greif CPG provides the knowledge and experience to build processes and packaging solutions that bring innovative solutions to the table. We believe that the best packaging solutions are built when everyone’s concerns and needs are heard, considered, and addressed. And our 6P onboarding process ensures that the product, the process, and the people involved are fully at the center of every solution we create.

To keep this conversation going, let’s get in touch.

Posted by Brian Harrington in Private Label, Sustainability
4 Reasons to Partner with an SQF Certified Packaging Company

4 Reasons to Partner with an SQF Certified Packaging Company

Many of our customers in the retail, restaurant, and fresh food market segments need sustainable packaging solutions for custom and stock folding food cartons.

To serve this market better, Greif’s Consumer Packaging Group (CPG) becomes an SQF Certified supplier. We have aspired to this level of certification for several years now.

SQF Certification means that Greif CPG is qualified to work with large retailers and multinational manufacturers who demand SQF certification from their suppliers. SQF Certification also means that our customers can more easily create in-roads with new market segments and capitalize on a market for additional products.

What Is the SQF Certification?

SQF stands for Safe Quality Food. It is a Food Safety Management program created and managed by the SQF Institute that is used to manage food safety risks. Once implemented, the program is audited and certified annually by a third-party certification body.

Recognized by retailers, food service providers, and regulatory agencies around the world, SQF Certification ensures that suppliers have rigorous food safety and quality management systems in place.

To complete SQF Certification, a product supplier must have a rigorous system in place to manage food safety risks and provide safe products used that can be used by companies in the food supply chain. Working with an SQF certified supplier gives customers confidence that this rigorous food safety system is in place.

SQF Certification is based on government and industry food safety requirements. Businesses must have the tools and documentation necessary to easily demonstrate that they have taken steps to increase food safety. SQF Certification allows food safety and quality control systems to be verified and validated throughout the foodservice chain.

SQF Certification is reviewed annually, and SQF Certified suppliers must continually provide training, updated procedures, and refresher courses to maintain compliance within SQF standards.

There are different levels of SQF Certification based on the size of the business and the risk-level of the food you are handling. Being SQF Certified means you believe strongly in providing quality products for consumers, and you remain compliant with food safety standards set forth by the government and your industry.

Reasons to Partner with an SQF Certified Packaging Company

1 – Competitive Advantages of Working with an SQF Certified Supplier

SQF Certification is recognized worldwide and can open doors for your business. Retailers and dispensers often require that their suppliers have an SQF Certification, which helps assure safe business practices for both parties.

SQF Certification promotes confidence in food safety and quality, limits food safety incidents and recalls, and encourages retailers and foodservice providers to work with suppliers who have achieved SQF Certification.
Consumers don’t buy the food they don’t trust. Foodservice providers and retailers will pull products to protect their customers and themselves. And suppliers risk losing customers and brand image.

SQF Certification offers suppliers assurance that the food they’re selling meets the highest possible standards. It puts their contact information in an instantly accessible database that retailers and buyers can use to find a supplier they can trust.

By letting the public and your clients know that your company can be trusted when it comes to food health and safety, SQF Certification enhances your marketing image. Your company will be viewed as a reliable business and product supplier.

2 – Cost Advantages in Working with an SQF Certified Business

SQF Certification is recognized worldwide and incorporates government and industry standards. The standards and certification process ensures consistency in food safety and quality assurance and saves time and resources that have historically been lost to multiple and conflicting audit standards.

Working with an SQF Certified supplier improves process management by helping to proactively manage risk and avoid stock recoveries, market withdrawals, and re-work. It increases yield by reducing waste and streamlining risk and process management. Adherence to SQF standards means that businesses have taken steps to avoid supply chain disruptions due to food safety issues or catastrophic events like tornadoes or fires.

3 – Safety and Quality Advantages of Choosing an SQF Certified Supplier

Working with an SQF Certified supplier can address food safety requirements. For food suppliers and packaging managers, working with an SQF Certified provider assures your business partners that the safety standards, processes, and procedures you use, are among the most stringent in the food industry.

Using SQF Certified products also provides proof that you have done your due diligence. SQF Certified suppliers encourage a responsible agricultural and manufacturing process that complies with all regulatory requirements.

4 – SQF Certified Suppliers Have Rigorous Environmental Monitoring Standards

To maintain SQF Certification, a supplier must have an environmental monitoring program in place. The environmental monitoring program must include:

  • Risk-based monitoring to address known or expected concerns for all processes in the manufacturing of food packaging
  • Documented and implemented methods for a responsible environmental monitoring program
  • An environmental sampling and testing schedule that is appropriate for the nature of the product and that details the number and frequency of samples to be taken for any applicable pathogen
  • A plan for implementation of monitoring and corrective actions to be taken when unsatisfactory environmental testing results are observed

Learn How Partnering with an SQF Certified Supplier Can Benefit Your Business

Working with an SQF Certified supplier puts you in good hands. SQF Certification has been in place for more than 20 years and is used in all sectors of the food industry. Using an SQF Certified supplier like Greif CPG minimizes the risk that unsafe food will reach the market and gives your customers confidence that their supplier meets the most stringent standards in the industry.

Partnering with an SQF Certified supplier like Greif CPG will help you to deliver safe food to customers worldwide confidently.

Learn more about how partnering with Greif CPG can help your business.

Posted by Julia Briggs in LA Paper Box, Natural Products, Private Label