Caucasian bearded graphic engineer in shirt and tie walking in printing shop and relocating heavy box. In background are printing machines.

Working As a Contractor

The job market has changed significantly in recent years. Job seekers are choosing positions that provide flexibility and autonomy, and – according to a 2018 NPR/Marist poll – one in five jobs in the U.S. is now held by a contract worker. This relationship can be mutually beneficial for workers who prefer a contract relationship and employers who often need specific expertise or extra manpower for a defined-duration project. Working as a contractor comes with a lot of perks, especially in the packaging engineering field, and you may find this type of employment is a great fit, even if you’ve only worked under more traditional arrangements. In this blog, we outline some of the top benefits of working as a contractor.

Predictability

In a traditional work environment, priorities may shift as the business’s needs change – even over the course of a single day. The result is engineers bouncing between tasks and sometimes being pulled from packaging engineering projects entirely. Contractors come on board to complete or advance a specific project, agreed upon in advance. This provides a balanced, focused workload where the engineer won’t be subjected to outside pressures that derail their priorities. This arrangement between employer and contractor often results in quality output and adherence to specific schedules and timelines.

Project Choice

Scope creep occurs when a company reorganizes and shifts engineers onto tasks and projects that fall outside of their experience and skillset. Because packaging engineering consultants are hired for a specific role on a specific project, they are not subject to scope creep in the way engineers in traditional employment arrangements are. It also allows contractors to accept projects they are passionate about or that advance their career goals without the possibility of being derailed by tasks that fall outside their area of interest.

Flexibility

In contrast to a traditional on-site, nine-to-five workday, contract packaging engineers enjoy options for a great deal of flexibility in both the types of projects they take on and their workload. Consultants are able to choose projects for which the workload matches their availability, taking on less time-intensive projects while they further their education or focus on family and other life activities. Additionally, consultants can often work from multiple locations or use a defined-duration project as a jumping off point when relocating to a new area.

 Variety

Contract packaging engineers are able to diversify their experience by taking on roles in new industries or choosing project types that help to advance their career goals, allowing them to develop new skills and build expertise in new disciplines. By exposing themselves to a variety of projects and industries, consultants can find the types of opportunities that stoke their passion or provide new challenges that keep them engaged in their career.

Alignment

By working for a consultancy, engineers have the opportunity to work for a variety of companies and get exposure to an equal variety of workplace cultures. Because organizational culture plays a key role in employee happiness, consultants have the privilege of sampling a variety of cultures and learning which situations best suit their personality, work style and professional goals.

Find Your Best Fit with Adept Packaging

Adept Packaging has both fulltime employees and a roster of consultants we can match with our clients’ needs, and because we are owned, operated and recruited by engineers, we understand your skillset and can seamlessly match you with a placement you desire, from location to project type. We work with a majority of the top CPG and Life Sciences companies in the world. If big names aren’t of interest, you’ll have the opportunity to experience what it’s like to work with different clients to evaluate their culture.

In addition to working with multiple brand owners, our associates are exposed to a variety of project types, technologies and different departments within an organization allowing for skillset expansion. We host monthly Learning Share webinars and offer industry-specific trainings and technical skill builders. Adept associates are also allocated a budget for training. You will work with the packaging industry’s top subject matter experts to learn new skills, solve problem solve, and expand your global network.

Whether you’re interested in working in a specific location, on a specific project type, or for a defined duration, our recruiters will find a placement that fits those needs. Since many of our projects allow for remote work, our associates enjoy an unconventional amount of flexibility while driving results for our clients. If you’re looking to diversify your work experience and take a more active role in choosing your next project, reach out. We’re always looking for new talent.

Two factory workers looking up in drinks production plant

Increase the Flexibility and Scalability of your Workforce: Contract Packaging Engineers

Many packaging departments face a set of familiar challenges when beginning a new project: insufficient resources, a lack of specific expertise and finding the right fit when hiring to add that expertise. For lots of companies, this problem has been exacerbated by the business and economic challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many packaging departments are behind on initiatives planned for earlier in the year and won’t be able to catch up without putting their team through a stressful crunch period, but those challenges are easy to overcome with contract packaging engineers — temporary, flexible resources that can help carry the load for a defined duration.

Expertise for Your Unique Needs

Many brands are choosing to leverage contract packaging experts to build a variable workforce that has experience tackling specific projects. By adding such resources, a brand can temporarily enhance expertise for projects such as reducing packaging costs, increasing packaging sustainability or optimizing packaging for the e-commerce distribution environment.

As COVID-19 drove a significant uptick in online purchases, many brands uncovered quality issues or inefficiencies with their e-commerce distribution process. Remedying these issues requires quality remediation, specification management and a packaging audit, but those time-intensive tasks can strain already-busy packaging departments.  These brands often hire contract packaging engineers to mitigate the newly uncovered issues without derailing the projects their internal teams are tackling.

Packaging Resources that Allow you to Hit the Ground Running

Since most contract engineers are brought on board to lend a specific set of skills, they typically require little-to-no training in order to hit the ground running. While a traditional hire may need weeks or months of training and orientation before they’re fully integrated and productive, a skilled contractor can begin to contribute immediately and often benefits the brand by sharing their expertise with the internal team.

Subject Matter Experts

Different projects require different levels, areas and depths of expertise. Bringing contract engineers on board for projects allows a brand to build a repository of subject matter experts with different specialties and experience. As different challenges arise or new projects become a priority, the brand can hire those contractors from their repository to supplement the expertise of their internal team.

Rightsize Your Workforce

Because there is no obligation to renew once a contract is completed, brands can staff up to handle a backlog of work from COVID-related closures or to meet a tight deadline a labor-intensive project and then return to lean staffing levels once the project or projects are complete. Using contractors for a defined duration also frees brands from obligations to provide sick time, holiday pay, PTO and other benefits.

Risk Mitigation

In addition to getting the right expertise for a defined-duration project, working with a company that specializes in placing contractors also reduces the brand’s risk. Such companies mitigate risks associated with a placement not meeting the expectations with strong managerial oversight, performance management and training and technical support. Companies who place contractors are also structured to avoid issues with co-employment laws.

Leverage Leading Packaging Talent at Adept

Adept Talent has a deep bench of highly qualified contract packaging engineers and project managers with expertise in more than 60 specialized disciplines. If your company needs to staff up to tackle a backlog of work that’s built up since the pandemic hit or to provide specific knowledge and skills to tackle a project that falls outside the typical function of its internal packaging team, get in touch. We’re ready to match you up with the expert or experts that can help meet your goals.

For additional resources on finding packaging the packaging talent you need, visit our resource library.

Automated packaging process line with two machines

6 Essential Steps to Packaging Machinery Validation

As technology continues to evolve, new faster, cleaner, smarter packaging machinery is always being developed. When companies invest in new machinery, it is up to them to make it work, and work consistently. Validation is a critical means to that end.

The Purpose of Validation

The purpose of packaging equipment validation is to establish a baseline for a packaging process. This work is documented and referenced throughout the life of the machine. Not only is it a requirement for regulated products, but it is also an effective means for troubleshooting errors in packaging lines.

Many industries use a formal validation process, while others are less regulated and can simplify the process down to an informal visual inspection. In the end, the amount of testing required will be dictated by the corporate standards and quality systems that regulate each business.

Steps to Validating Packaging Machinery

For the more regulated industries, some of the steps in a packaging validation process include:

By validating packaging machinery, businesses can be assured of consistent, successful packaging performance. If you need assistance with validating your packaging machinery, contact us.

Work from Home

Business as Usual: Working Remotely During COVID-19

As COVID-19 disrupts businesses, communities and the economy as a whole, Adept Group is uniquely positioned to continue operating remotely with little to no disruption. For more than 10 years, our global team has leveraged a virtual working environment to collaborate and support some of the most iconic brands in the Life Sciences, CPG and Food & Beverage industries.

Long-Standing Remote Infrastructure

At a time when many businesses are adapting to social distancing as a new working challenge, we’re moving forward with mature and fully functioning people, systems and processes engineered to execute packaging projects remotely. Since inception, the Adept Group recognized the need for our team to be adaptable to meet our clients’ needs, however, whenever and wherever they needed us – including our home offices.

We’re designed for agility, from recruiting and onboarding to managing teams, projects, and people, enabling seamless connectivity of our employees, customers and partners. While the health of our associates remains our top priority, our model translates into business value – a more productive workforce sooner, less business disruption, increased organizational agility, superior service delivery and happier employees.  

Flexibility and Scalability

Our structure is designed to be flexible and scalable. For example, when the pandemic began to spread throughout Italy, our international associates started to experience limitations such as travel restrictions, while our US team was still free to travel. When one of those Italian associates was unable to board a plane for an on-site appointment with a client, we adapted, deploying a US-based engineer to act as the eyes, ears, and hands of our Italian engineer as they worked together to deliver undisrupted service.  

Adapting to Economic Circumstances

Our Value Optimization team, which is responsible for cost and quality optimization, travels under normal circumstances to clients’ locations to evaluate their packaging and processes. They’ve adapted their methodology during this time of restricted travel. As an alternative, they are having clients ship their packaging to us for evaluation and redesign, while leveraging our remote infrastructure to collaborate, effectively maintaining the project timeline and helping clients reduce costs during this financially and logistically difficult time.  

While cost savings may not be front-of-mind yet for companies, recovering from the financial burden of this economical hardship will call for some innovation. Our Value Optimization team can help. Leveraging remote tools and methodology, companies can start the process now to evaluate packaging and logistics spend and start seeing savings when they need it most.

Changes to Packaging Needs

Among innumerable other changes, this pandemic is likely to impact packaging for some companies as well. As the demand for ecommerce increases in the weeks to come, companies who focus mainly on brick and mortar sales may need to adapt to get their products to consumers safely. Our ecommerce experts are fully functional to address your needs.

Our Fully Functional Team is Ready to Help

If you find that your packaging needs have shifted, we have experts in over 60 specialized areas that can help you with new packaging development, quality remediation, ecommerce packaging and much more. Check out our website for an overview of our services and capabilities. 

Stay safe everyone and make responsible choices. Contact us for assistance with any of your packaging challenges.