It was estimated by the Nutrition Business Journal that the size of the Supplement industry in the US is at a staggering $36.7 Billion. That huge figure is an indication of the industry’s strength and its interest among consumers. If you look back and compare the industry’s state in 2001 to what it was in 2015 the supplement market doubled from $18 Billion to more than an estimated $36 billion that the Nutrition Business Journal is putting its current value at. Despite an overall huge economic downturn and a major increase in government regulatory action, supplement sales continue to increase as an increasing number of consumers are seeking healthier lifestyles for themselves.
It isn’t any secret why an increasing number of entrepreneurs are looking to grab their share of this rapidly expanding pie. However, as an increasing number of brands are being launched, the stiff competition is making it more difficult to stand out in a crowded field. It has never been more important to choose a manufacturer who can be a valuable partner. As you are considering who to work with to help you build your products, the following are some of the most important things that you need to take into consideration:
- GMP Certification
The Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certification is the ultimate quality symbol for dietary supplement manufacturers. The certification ensures that products that a manufacturer produces meet certain requirements for purity, quality, strength, and identity. These industries are regulated by the FDA to ensure cGMPs are being adhered to through the use of 21 CFR part 111 when it comes to dietary supplement production. It is usually obvious when companies have this certification since they will tend to boast about it. On the other hand, manufacturers that do not have GMP certification are going to avoid mentioning it.
One thing to note, to avoid getting fooled, is to check to see if a manufacturer states whether or not they are GMP compliant instead of saying they are certified. Numerous manufacturers twist their words like this to make it sound like their operations are above board. However, there is a huge difference between certified versus compliant. Manufacturers that state they are compliant instead of certified means that they are trying to operate according to GMP standards but an independent agency has not audited them to ensure they are not only talking the talk but actually walking the walk as well.
There are two main GMP auditing organizations, NPA and NSF. These organizations examine companies by reviewing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and scouring over quality records to make sure they are written correctly and adhered to in addition to inspecting facilities for safety and cleanliness. After an audit is completed, the company is given a fail or pass and for the manufacturers that meet the high standards, they are awarded a certificate.
- Lead Times
Your lead time refers to the amount of time that it takes from when your order is placed until you receive it. Those times can vary greatly between manufacturers. Industry Lead times will typically range from 8 up to 12 weeks, or sometimes even longer. SS Nutra is 10-14 days (2-3 weeks) much faster than 90% of manufacturing companies in the Supplement and skin care industry. There are many factors that go into how long it takes for your formula to be produced. They include lead times of raw material suppliers, the availability of bottling components, raw material lab testing, label printing, etc. Although this factor is very important to consider when deciding on who you will be entrusting to produce your formula, it still is not as important as having a manufacturer that is accurate in terms of the lead times that they advertise. Many manufacturers attempt to lure customers in by promising shorter lead times. Then you are stuck after they get your deposit. Ask the manufacturer how many of their orders actually get fulfilled within their advertised lead times. If they are unable to tell you what this figure is right away, then they might be trying to take you down a path that you don’t want to travel on.
It might take longer to produce your product the first time since the manufacturer will need to learn the specifics involved in working with your individual and unique blend. However, when reordering a production run, things should run more smoothly and the time that it takes to complete your order should be reduced.
A dollar saved is a dollar earned. Or is it? It is very important to get a good deal on your formula production, but you might be making major sacrifices in order to save a couple of cents.
Search for an all-inclusive price. The final price for your product is made up of a number of different components. When getting a quote, be sure that it lists everything you need. Items such as testing, pallets, boxes, labels, and shipping costs are frequently not included in your product price when you get an initial quote. Although it might not be possible to know precisely what some of your costs are going to be, a reputable manufacturer should be able to provide you with a very close estimate. If you aren’t really careful, a $5/bottle starting price could end up costing a lot more. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and become an educated customer.
It cannot be overstated how important it is to find a manufacturer that will be able to grow with you. No one is looking for stagnation when they start a new business. Growth is highly sought after and is expected. Be sure to choose a manufacturer that can grow when you do. Although it is impossible to know how large and fast your brand is going to be able to grow, it is a good idea to know what the capacity of your manufacturer is and how they intend to prioritize your needs when your sales increase.
With regulations continuing to increase, some companies are shying away from offering lower minimums due to all of the expenses that are involved. Whether you order 100,000 bottles or 100 bottles, many expenses stay fixed. This obviously benefits bigger production runs since those expenses can be deferred over a higher number of produced units. Let’s say that it costs $1,000 to conduct a lab test on a herb for your formula. When this cost is spread across a 100 bottle order that adds up to $10 per bottle. For a 100,000 bottle order, performing the same test will only add $0.01 per bottle. So keep that in mind when you are speaking to manufacturers. On small production runs, you should not expect to make any money. The norm to get started is to lose money or break even. That is why it is essential to make sure you choose a company that offers other valuable qualities when it is time to reorder.
It might seem obvious, but it can be very hard to find a voice. I have personally met with numerous customers who have worked with different manufacturers and are astounded by the lack of communication, especially after you make a deposit. It seems like it is almost an impossible task to get updates and answers along the way. Your manufacturer should respond to you whenever you need it. You might not like the update they provide, but you should always get a response. Both parties benefit from having an open dialogue between the manufacturer and the customer.