Our recent Ask an Expert features covered all things co-packing with Corey Meyer from Little Bird Kitchen, and how to work with distributors with Chris Wren from Shelfmint. Today’s conversation with Rene Jacquat, founder of LogiChain Solutions, ties these previous two topics together with a deep dive into ops. Rene has experience managing supply chain, logistics, transportation and quality control for a number of industries, but has most recently made sustainable supply chain in food & beverage his primary focus.

Before founding LogiChain Solutions, a boutique firm that offers solutions in operations, supply chain, and logistics, Rene worked with brands such as Ghirardelli and Lindt Chocolates. In this interview he shares insights on working with a co-manufacturer, third party supply chain services and how to execute a sustainable (and affordable) supply chain.

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When should a startup look to outsourcing operations?

Ultimately it comes down to having an understanding of your product and what is driving growth. As a founder, where do you want to spend majority of your time? If it is on sales and marketing, outsourcing manufacturing, warehousing and distribution may be the right call. 

Once a brand decides to work with a co-manufacturer, how do they ensure they are working with the right one?

When it comes to co-manufacturers and co-packers, finding the right fit is critical. Mutual personalities, similar workflow, communication. It all matters. The right certifications (nut-free, gluten-free, etc.) and proximity to your headquarters are also important. Above all else, though, is finding the right fit in terms of size. When looking for co-manufacturers, look for partners that work with brands similar in size to your own.

What items should be defined in a co-manufacturer service agreement?

Making sure a service agreement is clearly defined is good for both parties because it identifies who (maker vs. co-man) is responsible for what. Should there be any issues with capacity, packaging or production, a contract helps communicate who will manage and pay for what in resolving the issue. Working with a third party supply chain service will help your brand find a co-manufacturer that meets your needs.

What is Supply Chain as a Service (SCaaS) and how does this benefit startups?

Supply Chain as a Service offers startups a flexible approach to managing supply chain logistics without investing too heavily in upfront fees. With SCaaS a startup leverages one service partner to support all supply chain functions. 

Which types of companies do you see a good fit for outsourcing supply chain?

Many of the companies we work with at LogiChain have remote offices, so product is not manufactured or stored in-house. Startups looking to keep operation costs at a minimum are great candidates for outsourcing supply chain. 

How does partnering with a service partner help to maintain a sustainable farm to fork supply chain?

A sustainable supply chain is about more than just the product and packaging. It includes ingredient sourcing, shipping and storage. A service partner will help build a road map to help your brand better understand all aspects of the sourcing process as well as define areas to make changes that are inexpensive and do not jeopardize product quality.

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