Outsourcing comes of age

Emma Verkaik, membership & marketing director of the BCMPA, the Association for Contract Manufacturing, Packing, Fulfilment & Logistics, predicts the already growing role that its members play in meeting demand for outsourced services from brands and retailers across the UK will see yet stronger development in 2022

DEMAND for BCMPA members’ services grew exponentially throughout 2021, as clients looked to meet the challenges of everything from the lockdown closures of the high street to the explosion in the need for effective e-commerce and Direct to Client (D2C) solutions.

The continued agility, creativity and capability of members enabled them to meet the extraordinary needs of the retail and third-party supply chain landscape which had changed out of all recognition. And it is these skills which will stand them all in good stead as the importance of a robust third-party supply chain continues to be an increasingly essential part of clients’ planning for 2022.

Meeting e-commerce and full-service needs

The consumer demand for the new-found convenience and effectiveness of D2C e-commerce, has driven the need for brands and retailers to react.

From shortened response times and ensuring robust online availability of new products to efficient handling of returns, the need for engaging expert third party support in manufacturing, packing, fulfilment, logistics and supply chain management services has never been higher. This support has been especially valued by smaller companies and fresh entrants, who may be less experienced in this way of doing business.

The extended breadth of services offered by BCMPA members in projects at a much earlier stage and across a wider product sector, including new product development, pack design and responsibility for procurement, recognises the importance of setting up a seamless, ‘start to finish’ supply chain at the very beginning of a product life cycle, and the positive benefits of a one-stop shop.

This ability of the sector to adapt, expand and find solutions to each and every new demand has shown brands and retailers the strong commercial benefits of outsourcing, avoiding costly investment in in-house facilities and enabling them to focus on their core task of marketing and selling their finished products.

A working partnership

The extraordinary circumstances of the past two years have showcased the extended capabilities within the sector, throwing into sharp focus the enormous benefits that a strong working partnership can deliver to brands and retailers, and the huge bonuses this brings in terms of speed of response, agility, and cost-effectiveness.

The easy-to-use search facility and online enquiry form on the BCMPA website enables clients to rapidly find potential outsourcing solutions for their manufacturing, packing and fulfilment projects.

Future indications suggest that these collaborations will continue to grow and develop into 2022 and that the true value of outsourcing and its essential role in the supply chain is becoming more widely appreciated.

Clearly, extended services of this quality and breadth (especially during the recent very testing conditions) often come at additional cost in respect of extra operations, labour, warehousing, and logistics.

However, the BCMPA hopes and believes that the true worth of these services and their longer lasting commercial benefits will be both understood and recognised as a wise investment.

Inescapable in 2022 will be a continuation of price hikes in labour rates, packaging materials, transport and warehousing.  These can only be tackled by collaboration and a realistic approach to the world we are living in.

A truly valuable resource

The BCMPA has seen continued growth as an association, as outsourcing has established itself as an increasingly essential resource for many brands and retailers in meeting the challenges over the past year.

Many BCMPA members continue to report both record growth and unprecedented levels of new business enquiries this year, and with membership rapidly approaching 200, the BCMPA has never been better placed or more committed to support this important and growing sector.

The BCMPA will be continuing to promote its members and the benefits of outsourcing across an increased number of exhibitions and conferences in 2022.

The first show of the year will be Contract Pack & Fulfilment, part of the Easyfairs Packaging Innovations exhibition at the NEC on 16-17 February, which will see nearly 20 BCMPA members exhibiting and demonstrate the strength in depth and scope of outsourcing across many sectors (This was written before the event was delayed – Editor).

This will be followed by IFE Manufacturing, which the BCMPA will be exhibiting at for the first time, and the White Label Expo, both at London ExCel in March.

While 2022 will still undoubtedly present new and tough challenges, the fast, dependable, and effective routes to market provided by our members will continue to unlock previously undiscovered benefits for many brands and retailers.

Indeed, the true value of outsourcing and its essential role in the supply chain will be much more widely appreciated for the vital role it plays and seeing the industry truly coming of age.

Emma Verkaik