When researching contract manufacturers to partner with, what should a supplement brand look for?
“Don’t choose a contract manufacturing partner due to price alone. Make decisions based on the premise of quality, fit and price when seeking a qualified contract manufacturer,” suggested Justin Bath, president of Biovation Labs in Salt Lake City, UT. “We also recommend companies get at least three bids and that they invest the time and effort to visit the facility in person to ensure they will meet your needs. Meeting your team in person will also help you to better understand who you are potentially doing business with and make you more comfortable with what they have to offer.
“While a good contract manufacturer will have a full quality testing regime they will perform for its customers,” Bath continued, “we also recommend that the customers develop their own testing methodology to ensure the products they are selling meet the standards the customer expects. We tell our own customers this and feel it should be an industry standard.”
“A quality contract manufacturer should offer product development, manufacturing, and product support, but also have the flexibility to offer specific technologies and services as needed,” noted Rainer Schindler, business development, with SternMaid America in Aurora, IL. “In addition, reputation and certification are definitely important. Always look for certifications and ask to confirm them. Also look for a manufacturer that is comfortably sharing information, laboratory data, and who will always have its doors open for inspection or tour.”
“A good contract manufacturing partner should be willing to walk away if they can’t do it right,” added Adam Cabot, CEO of American Custom Drying (ACD) in Burlington, NJ.
“They should be talking to the people who are going to be running their product. Not only the engineers, not only the sales people but if possible, they should be talking to the production supervisor. These people are the ones who are going to be hands on and will give you an in-depth answer or concerns on running your product.”
Stephen Finnegan, senior vice president with Makers Nutrition in Hauppauge, NY said to look for a partner that is FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) registered and also registered with NSF International. “That is the most basic and most important part of the choice,” he noted. “For the sake of your business’s efficiency, choose a partner that can provide all of the services your company will need rather than working with one company for manufacturing services, another for design, another for packaging, another for printingand another for fulfillment and logistics services. Always choose a partner that is financially stable as you will need a partner that can provide for any level of growth you wish to achieve. Checking their Dun & Bradstreet listing is a good place to start. Finally, choose a partner that has been recognized by the industry as a leader. Does the client publish any original materials on the industry, has the client been recognized by any quality organizations? A manufacturing partner will list its registrations and accolades on its website—look for those. Makers Nutrition proudly lists our affiliation with the FDA and NSF International on our website, as well as the countless awards we have won over the years for our products, innovation and leadership.”
Another consideration is quality assurance.
“It is unfortunate that not all manufacturers are required to have the same standardized qualifications,” said Finnegan. “There are, in fact, many supplement companies that have no qualifications at all. Makers Nutrition is registered with the FDA and also with NSF International which audits our company twice annually to confirm that we are in full compliance with the FDA cGMP (current good manufacturing practices) standards. It is certainly not easy or inexpensive to maintain these registrations or these very high standards but it is unquestionably worthwhile. Being registered with the FDA and NSF International provides our clients with confidence that we will handle their products to the most exacting standards and stand behind them after delivery. There are too many stories in the industry of clients investing in products that do not meet specifications and do not work. Partnering with a company registered with the FDA and audited by NSF International is a must for dietary supplement entrepreneurs.”
According to Schindler, SternMaid American’s food safety management system has been certified according to FSSC 22000. “In addition, we are operating under a tightly-managed Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system. Our processes comply with current cGMPs. We are FDA registered and certified by NSF International and Quality Assurance International (QAI) to process and package non-GMO (genetically modified organism), gluten-free, vegan, kosher and halal foods on product-by-product basis.”
Cabot added that through American Custom Drying’s proven internal processes and procedures, the company has demonstrated its ability to consistently provide quality products that meet and exceed regulatory and FDA requirements from the receipt of raw materials, through the production process and into the finished product package. “Quality is part of our everyday routine, it is the way we work, the way we do business and why we take pride in what we do. We have 24-hour lab quality operations and we are SQF level 2 certified. Our consistent efforts enabled us to meet ISO 9001:2008 surveillance and recertification’s audits requirements without a single non-conformance during the last five years.”
Bath noted that Biovation Labs is NSF certified. “The NSF is one of the most stringent certifications on the market. Their requirements are above and beyond what is required for GMP from the FDA. They audit twice a year and align with our philosophy of holding ourselves to a higher standard than the regulatory baselines.”
For More Information:
American Custom Drying, www.acdprocessing.com
Biovation Labs, www.biovationlabs.com
Makers Nutrition, www.MakersNutrition.com