When a Fortune 500 medical company decided to outsource kitting for a 10-piece package, they knew it would increase productivity and save money, but they didn’t realize how big of an impact it would make.
The firm was already managing kitting (placing multiple product components together into one ready-to-ship package) in-house to simplify fulfillment, reduce costs and boost efficiency. By choosing a full-service kitting partner, the company increased production and lowered overall costs. They also regained space to add production lines, freed up time and energy to focus on their core business and made quality and safety gains.
The results they achieved are impressive, yet not uncommon. Veritiv’s Keli Parker shares what makes a good kitting partner, recommending essential qualities to look for when evaluating an existing vendor or seeking a new one.
Multiple locations across regions
Working with a kitting provider with one facility or several concentrated in one area can cost more, slow down production and leave you in a lurch during times of disruption. If the facility or team is impacted by a staff shortage, natural disaster or another unexpected incident, your kits may be delayed or inaccessible.
Working with a multi-location partner, you can enjoy a more predictable supply chain, faster delivery and greater flexibility to shift production as needed.
Tuned in to consumer demand
What consumers valued a few years ago is different than what they care about today. Parker cites several examples: the rise in e-commerce, fast delivery expectations and the increased interest in sustainability.
A kitting provider tuned in to trends like these can help a company standardize or customize kits accordingly and stay competitive as consumer behavior evolves.
Accommodates business shifts
The best kitting partner can rapidly adapt to a business’s ups, downs and changes over time.
Consider how the coronavirus impacted companies worldwide. Many manufacturers of medical supplies, cleaning solutions and other sought-after products could barely meet the new demand.
Parker says this is where having a flexible kitting partner pays off. “Some companies can’t handle the peaks and valleys. Where (outsourced) kitting adds the most value is the ability to be flexible, agile and provide a stable workforce.”
Invested in automation and innovation
Like other supply chain stages, automation is revolutionizing the kitting process. Parker believes this transformation will continue and recommends working with a partner invested in the latest innovations and shares the benefits with its customers. “Labor costs and risks are increasing. The more you have people touching things, the higher the risk,” she says. “If you aren’t thinking ahead to automation and robotics, you’ll be left behind.”
The whole kit—and caboodle
More than anything, a strong kitting partner allows a company to focus on what it does best. “Focusing on your core competencies means you don’t have to solve complex kitting problems,” Parker says. “But with the right partner, you can still reap the benefits.”
Interested in learning more about Veritiv’s kitting and assembly services? Contact us