As an industry leading co-packer, we encourage potential customers to take a tour of our facilities – and all other facilities they are considering – to experience production and product handling practices firsthand.

To help you assess how your products would be handled, we’ve made a list of questions to ask and observations to make while on the tour:


1.     Do their Production Sanitary Practices Match their Claims?

Every co-packer makes claims of high sanitary standards, but how they practice it can differ significantly.

Look for the following signs of good sanitary practices:

  • Allergen management:
    • If a peanut-free zone is within the facility, ensure that it is physically segregated from the rest of the facility.
    • Employees in segregated areas must be easily and quickly identified – by the colour of their uniform or shoes for example.
  • Proper UniformsStaff attire:
    • The staff must wear appropriate uniforms that match the requirements of the product being handled according to GFSI certification requirements. Look for proper use of gloves, lab coats, and surgical masks for example.
  • Clean machinery:
    • Contamination can come from the machines themselves. Ask how they are cleaned regularly and between each job.
  • Strict hand-washing procedures:
    • Ensure there are signs and other notifications to remind staff about hygiene requirements.
    • In addition to staff on production lines, management must follow the same sanitary guidelines while in the facility.

2.     Do they Pay Attention to General Staff Safety?

The best time to see how staff maintain overall cleanliness and safety standards is during busy periods.  Insist on taking a tour during work hour to see the operation in action.

When observing the state of the facility during these busy periods, look for:

  • Dirty floors:
    • Floors should be clean and free of even small objects, which are a safety hazard.
  • Fire exits:
    • The area around all fire exits must be free and clear of clutter.
  • Clear paths to follow:
    • Regardless of how busy the operation appears, paths within the work areas must remain clear to allow for the safe movement of your product and the staff handling it.

3.     Is the Warehouse Organized and Maintained Well?

The effectiveness of a co-packer is not only measured by the ability to produce your product, but also how they manage it after it has left the assembly line.

WarehousingLook for the following signs of good warehouse practices:

  • Organized storage racks:
    • Racks must appear organized.
    • Like products must be grouped in close vicinity.
    • Products must be clearly identified and cross-contamination avoided.
  • Stray skids:
    • Skids must be stored in an organized fashion. Stray skids lead to loss or damage, and posing a problem to the overall safety of the facility.
  • Proper temperatures:
    • If the facility you are touring has climate controlled areas, ask for documentation to prove how temperatures are maintained and monitored.

4.     Do the Employees Enjoy Their Job?

Employees who enjoy their job are more productive and care about what they do. If they show a lack of care in their work, no amount of policies and procedures can compensate for it.

Observe and ask the following throughout your tour:

  • Happy employeesThe mood:
    • The overall atmosphere should be professional, with an easy and respectful interaction between staff and management.
    • Feel free to engage employees – ask them how they feel about their jobs and what training they have received.
  • Dedication to the company:
    • Co-packing typically has a high turnover rate among production floor workers. Ask about tenure and why they’ve remained with the company.

>> Learn how WG can help you meet your business goals. Schedule a tour of our facilities today.

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Karl Wirtz

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