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Guide to Services

The range of services offered by our members across the Contract Packing Industry are very extensive, and in some cases relate to a particular industry sector. To help you find what you are looking for, we have classified all of the terms and sectors under five separate headings.

To see the lists and a brief explanation of each term in full, please click on the headings below.

Each of these headings and terms are also searchable via our List of Members. Whilst many of the industry terms listed will be self-explanatory, we have provided brief definitions of each for clarification and to help make your search easier.

  • Contract Packing

    • Gift Packing

      Whether for Christmas, Easter or other special events, Gift Packing is a major part of our industry and is usually performed by hand. It requires a number of disciplines from providing skilled labour teams and sourcing components, to warehousing and distribution. Members can also advise on pack design and manage customer call offs.

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    • Hand Packing & Rework

      There are many packing projects where machine production is not feasible, so hand packing by skilled experienced teams is the most efficient answer. Re-work addresses pack quality issues such as incorrect labelling, damaged goods or missing components, or simply that the product needs to be relabelled or repacked in a different format.

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    • Kitting, Collation & Assembly

      This involves collating products/components, for example engineering parts or toy kits, into a single unit for distribution. Operations could include counting, bagging or placing products into specially designed boxes. Kit collation is usually performed by hand as components can be varied and may require an element of assembly work prior to packing.

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    • Garment Processing

      This involves the preparation of clothing for retail sale and includes segregation by size or colour, tagging, coding, labelling, poly bagging, converting to hanging, ratio packing, fold packing, pressing, ticketing, embroidery, quality inspection, remedial work, metal detection and default reporting for damaged stock.

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    • POS Assembly

      Point of Sale stands provide an excellent way of displaying products in-store with strong visual impact. They can be supplied flat packed or pre-assembled, although many retailers now insist on their POS display units being delivered to their stores pre-filled with product, a service which is ideally suited to the contract packer.

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    • Shelf-Ready Packaging

      Shelf-ready packaging (SRP) and retail-ready packaging (RRP) have been developed to get products from storage area to retail shelf in one smooth operation rather than shop staff having to decant single units. Predominantly made of corrugated cardboard, the merchandising unit consists of a tray and cover, with the latter being easily detached by a perforation.

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    • Design & Print

      Good pack design can be vital to a product’s success. An exploratory discussion between client and contract packer at the concept stage of a project is essential to ensure the packaging not only looks appealing but fulfils its role to protect the product. Contract packers can also help with design and production of labels and leaflets.

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    • Labelling/Barcoding

      Product labels, price labels, best before dates, bar codes, RFID tags etc are critical for identifying and tracking products throughout the supply chain, and ensuring that finished packs comply with the relevant legislation. Whether applied by machine or by hand, labelling is an integral part of the packing process.

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    • Sleeving

      Sleeving is a process for combining products using film, for example with multipacks or two-for-one promotions. Some applications are suited to stretch sleeves, however most (including tamper-bands) use shrink film, applied in hot air or steam tunnels. Sleeving can also provide a high quality 360 degree labelling solution for bottles and containers.

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    • Shrink Wrapping

      This process utilises clear plastic film which shrinks snugly on to the product by applying heat, usually by passing the wrapped product through a heat tunnel on a conveyor.  Polyethylene shrink film is mainly used for transit purposes or for collating products such as 6-pack drinks cans. Higher quality display films can enhance the look of and protect retail products such as games boxes.

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    • Flow Wrapping

      Flow wrapping, also known as horizontal form-fill-seal, is a process that wraps film around a product, initially crimping a fin seal along the length of the pack and then crimping it each end. The system can handle a very wide range of products from crisp packets and confectionery to packs of scratch cards.

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    • Bagging/L-Sealing

      Vertical form fill seal machines (VFFS) construct plastic bags out of a flat roll of film, while simultaneously filling products into the bags from above and sealing them. Volumes can be controlled by weighing or counting.  L-Sealers form and seal bags horizontally from centrefolded film and are often used for lower volume runs, where the operator inserts the products manually.

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    • Cello/Over Wrapping

      Over wrapping is a system where high quality heat-sealable film is wrapped over square or rectangular products and finished with neatly folded ends. Applications include perfume cartons, DVDs, reams of paper and cigarette packets. The film often incorporates ‘tear strips’ for easy opening

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    • Blister/Clam Packing

      Blisters are widely utilised in the pharmaceutical industry for packing pills. The other application used in retail is where the product is securely displayed beneath a clear thermoformed blister, fixed to a pre-printed backing card. Clam Packs are fully encased in a tough two-cavity blister and high frequency welded, to minimise the risk of theft with high value small items.

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    • Netting/Clip Stripping

      Netting provides a low cost way of collating and displaying products from tangerines or potatoes to bird food and beach toys.  Clip Strips offer an eye-catching method of hanging small bagged products in-store or in the pub where space is at a premium.  The clip strips can be pre-loaded with product by the contract packer ready for the customer to display.

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    • Palletising

      Pallets are a vital component both in warehousing and transport. Important considerations in this field are product security, stacking compliance, compatibility with racking systems and optimisation of vehicle or freight container payloads. There may also be special requirements for food applications or international transport.

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    • Export packing

      Via Road, Rail, Sea or Air, it is essential that shipments conform with the relevant regulations, are properly packed & labelled and are accompanied by the correct documentation, thereby minimising risk of delays at border crossings, ports and airports, and ensuring that goods arrive in perfect condition. Temperature controlled or hazardous consignments will require special attention.

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  • Contract Manufacturing

    • Formulation

      The design and manufacture of formulated products is the process by which raw materials are taken from concept to finished product. It is a vital service, applied to a large number of product categories such as pharmaceutical tablets, cosmetic creams, gels, detergents, powders, processed foods, paints, adhesives, lubricants, pesticides etc.

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    • Processing/Blending

      This is the combining and mixing of multiple ingredients. There are a number of different processing and blending methods available dependent upon the type of material being handled wet or dry, and also on batch sizes, which can vary from small pilot batches to full scale production volumes.

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    • Laboratory Services

      Lab services are very valuable in the initial stages of product development, offering detailed analysis, stability testing and research for customers requiring data or support for the launch of a product. They are most often used in the early stages for pilot and trial batches.

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    • Clinical Trials

      Can be offered as part of the development process. These are prospective biomedical research studies on human subjects that provide answers to specific questions and are normally conducted with volunteers or small groups of patients in pilot studies. Test results are used to determine the suitability of the product for full scale production.

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    • New Product Development

      The process by which a new product is developed for release to the market. There are two stages; the initial idea generation, product design and then the market research and market analysis. By entering this process it is hoped that any prospective issues with the product and packaging will be ironed out prior to product release.

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    • Clean Room

      Offers a controlled environment during manufacture, to eliminate foreign particles and provide a cleaner and more hygienic environment for products demanding high care in production e.g. pharmaceutical, cosmetic and personal care sector and food. Operated to specific standards with set cleaning schedules and a work force  required to work to particular levels of hygiene etc.

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    • Chilled/Frozen

      Some Products require handling in a chilled or frozen environment. From blast freezing to storage in multi temperature chambers, a temperature controlled supplier will offer warehousing, distribution and contract packing under these specialised conditions, monitoring temperatures and keeping the product in the perfect condition for delivery to end customer.

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    • Pasteurisation/Retort

      Pasteurisation is the process of heating a food (typically drinks and dairy products) to a set temperature for a set time then cooling it to reduce spoilage caused by microbial growth. A retort pouch is another method of sterile packaging that includes raw or partially cooked product inside a sealed laminate pouch, used for rations, camping foods and brands such as Capri Sun.

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    • Gas Flushing

      Also known as Modified Atmosphere Packaging, it is a method of extending the shelf life of fresh food products by substituting the air inside a package with a protective gas mix. The gas in the package helps ensure that the product stays fresh for as long as possible

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  • Filling

  • Fulfilment

    • Mailing

      For large or small promotional campaigns needing to be mailed to your customer base via traditional or web based methods, a Mailing House will be able to help on every aspect from identifying target markets, to the printing of the material and handling of data and cleansing of lists. They provide the latest technology and infrastructure to make all aspects simple, effective and economical.

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    • Promotions

      Promotional campaigns are time sensitive requiring quick response times, collation and packing in both small and large volumes for POS and Retail packs. Supply chain and stock management will help with one-off or year-round promotions, including delivery and pick up after events. Additional services such as over-labelling shrink wrapping, flow wrapping and hand collation help cover every type of promotional or gift activity.

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    • Direct Marketing

      Reaches potential customers via various types of printed material, in high or low volumes, usually using a database. A direct mail house will offer a range of services to enhance the mailing, from the latest printing technology to material and format options, pinpointing campaigns to a target market, sending via cost efficient and suitable methods, and offering refined response handling to ensure up to date data capture.

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    • E-Commerce

      For companies engaged in the buying and selling of products over the internet with virtual store fronts or online catalogues e-commerce partners can help arrange the technological requirements that are needed to support the business; fund transfers, online transactions, supply chain management, data collection and website management, with systems that are secure, economical and up to date.

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    • Procurement

      If you require help sourcing a particular product, whether from scratch or as part of a larger package, a procurement agency will work with your budgets and timelines, and with specialist procurement teams both at home and abroad, to support the project to development and delivery. They can also help ensure the finished product is manufactured to the required standards.

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    • Call Centre Services

      Where a campaign requires inbound or outbound telephone services, call centre logistics can add value by providing the most professional staff trained in customer care. Whether B2B or B2C a call centre service can be used in the inbound/outbound requirements for telemarketing campaigns, overflow call handling, lead generation, sales enquiries and importantly will provide you with up to date reporting and data.

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  • Logistics

    • Warehousing

      For the storage of components or finished goods, from single cartons to thousands of pallets, bulk warehousing and racking, available on long or short term contracts. With the ability to de-stuff containers from overseas, re-palletise goods from bulk and  offering strict stock controls and component traceability, warehousing terms can be bespoke to suit your needs.

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    • Pick & Pack

      Growing with the advent of e-commerce, picking and packing experts will pick specific customer orders, pack the products into packaging, and despatch via designated carriers to your end customer on a daily basis. With up-to-the-minute stock controls and reporting systems it is a cost effective method for servicing your business needs without the overhead of a warehouse.

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    • Distribution

      Get your products to the end customer, whether it is for one box, a pallet, or large scale pallet distribution. Each shipment needs to be handled with specific customer/retailer delivery instructions. By outsourcing Distribution to the experts you will be sure of professional service and able to take advantage of the most competitive rates in the UK, Europe and even worldwide.

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    • Supply Chain Management

      Is the management of the flow of goods in the production process. It involves the movement and storage of raw materials, work-in-process inventory and finished goods from the point of origin to point of consumption and is used to create value to build a competitive infrastructure which is efficient and reduces costs across the process.

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    • Bonded Warehousing

      A bonded warehouse contains imported goods on which the duty has not been paid to Customs. The duty is paid on the release of the products to the market. It requires a high level of stock control and security to ensure that the product is kept securely. This normally applies to high value imported items, such as alcohol, and also helps with cash flow. Duty is payable 28 days after release.

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    • Air/Ocean Freight

      Designed to offer solutions for the forwarding of freight around the globe. From booking of cargo, arranging for collection and assistance with management of shipping documentation. Using the latest tracking systems to locate your products as they travel across the world from almost any destination.

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