You need to be on top of your game to serve multinational consumer packaged goods (CPG) clients and consistently turn a profit in the low-margin contract packaging business.
Contract packaging providers working with CPG clients in the healthcare space face an even stiffer challenge. Not only do they need to provide a high-quality service quickly and efficiently, they also have to be able to closely track lot numbers and expiration dates to ensure they meet regulatory standards. Canada-based Nova Pack is no stranger to this environment. For more than two decades, the contract packaging provider has been working with a host of major multinational healthcare clients.
Regulatory requirements of the healthcare industry are stringent and bring traceability challenges. Until 10 years ago, Nova Pack handled its process control and tracking through an in-house solution. It did the job, but the company had big growth plans and knew it needed a more scalable system. The in-house software worked fine for one site, but it wouldn’t be as effective as Nova Pack added more locations.
“Pharma, over-the-counter and medical device products need to be labelled a certain way, IDed a certain way and tracked very closely. It’s definitely one of the more challenging quadrants in the contract packaging industry because of that regulatory overlay.”JAMES HOUGHTON – PRESIDENT
Nova Pack selected Nulogy’s PackManager over a major ERP software. Nova Pack looked at available solutions that would meet its needs and came up with two leading contenders: a product from a major Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software vendor and Nulogy’s cloud-based PackManager. “PackManager offered the robustness and scalability we were looking for,” Houghton says. “And it could back up data securely off-site. We did a total cost of ownership comparison over five years between the two platforms, and PackManager just blew the ERP system out of the water.” Nova Pack’s been using PackManager ever since. The company now has five sites across the Greater Toronto Area with approximately 160 full-time and 150 part-time employees.
“The data mining piece of PackManager is important to my team. Everything is real-time, and the system makes it easy to gather information about production, whether it’s upfront or in-process. I’m able to pull up information no matter where I am, giving our company the agility we need.” VINCE RISTUCCIA – DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
PackManager has been key to helping build strong relationships with Nova Pack’s clients
Keeping a tight rein on clients’ products
“One of the biggest concerns for the brand owner is inventory,” Houghton explains. “They want to understand where their products are, what’s happening to them, how many are damaged and so on. The brands invest a lot of money in their reputation and they want to make sure their products are safe, secure and handled properly. PackManager is the ideal control mechanism for us. It ensures we can account for everything on hand.”
Lot code and expiry date level traceability
Accounting for product is especially important when it comes to pharmaceuticals, which are heavily regulated. Nova Pack needs to be able to trace inventory by lot numbers and expiry dates, which can get especially difficult when the company is putting together retail displays containing multiple products. “In the event of a recall, an agency like Health Canada requires the supply chain to provide information on receipt, reconfiguration, and shipment,” Houghton says. “It could be a data control nightmare for others, but PackManager allows us to do all that securely.”
Boosting efficiency and internal processes
PackManager also helps the company manage its internal processes and operational costs. Houghton estimates PackManager has improved Nova Pack’s efficiency by 10-15% over the years. It allows the company to allocate labor so there’s no duplication of effort, and it tracks production efficiency in real-time. “If we quote a project based on time spent per billing unit, we need constant updates on how much time we’re really spending on the project, to gauge profitability,” Houghton says. “That’s what PackManager gives us, and that’s very valuable.”
Multi-site production control
PackManager extends that control across all Nova Pack’s sites and 105,000 square feet of production space. Through a dashboard, managers can look at any shift, on any production line, at any site to see how the line is performing. Nova Pack plans to continue its strong growth in the near future by continuing to add facilities. PackManager will continue to play a strong role in that growth.
“Nulogy has been an instrumental part of our business for the past decade. The visibility PackManager gives us into our processes has dramatically improved our efficiency and the fact it’s so scalable makes it simple for us to continue our growth.”
JAMES HOUGHTON – PRESIDENT