The nutritional supplement industry has been growing at a fast pace as people realise the importance of including essential vitamins and minerals in their diet. A variety of vitamins and minerals play a very important role in the growth and proper functioning of human cells. Proper functioning of metabolic processes is not possible without adequate vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
Over the years, there has been a significant increase in awareness surrounding different types of nutritional supplements and this has presented a huge opportunity for savvy entrepreneurs looking to take advantage of this huge increase in demand for dietary supplements, herbal remedies and sports nutrition supplements. There was a time when people were selling supplements made in their garages but new GMP regulations as well as increased enforcement by FDA has meant that marketers need to ensure the quality of their products.
Setting up your own manufacturing facility can be extremely expensive, especially when there are reputable and experienced nutritional supplement manufacturers out there. However, you need to be careful while choosing a partner to ensure that you can get a high quality product and other helpful services such as labelling, designing, marketing, drop shipping and others.
Here is a list of some of the important factors you should consider before selecting one of the many nutritional supplement manufacturers:
Own Manufacturing Facility
It may seem counterintuitive but some of the biggest nutritional supplement manufacturers contract out over 95% of their total output to other companies. In other words, they just take the orders and then pass on the manufacturing to other contract manufacturers, sometimes in other countries with lax regulations.
It not only increases the lead time but customer also loses control over the quality of the final product. Some of the manufacturers are also notorious for substituting similar ingredients in case they do not have enough of a particular ingredient. Therefore, it is important for you to ensure that the manufacturer you have chosen has their own manufacturing facility with all the important certifications.
Make sure the manufacturer follows belongs to at least one of the major Good Manufacturing Practice or GMP certifying organisations. Some of the other important certification includes organic ingredients, halal ingredients, kosher ingredients and others depending on your specific needs.
Number of Years in the Business
It’s an important factor as there have been instances where new businesses have sprung up overnight to take advantage of the huge demand without paying due attention to the regulations and quality control processes. It is better to pick up a partner that has been active in this business for several years as it means that they have the necessary expertise and skills to manufacture high quality supplements. It also makes it easy for you to check their reviews and reputation in the industry.
One of the ways to check the quality control processes of nutritional supplement manufacturers is to find out whether they have their own in-house testing lab. The cGMP guidelines state that raw materials need to be tested each time and outsourcing the lab tests is expensive. This is the reason, reputed manufacturers have an in-house testing lab to ensure that the ingredients are checked every single time.
In addition to making sure that they have an in-house lab, you should also ask them about the equipment used in the testing facility. Make sure they do testing for heavy metals, microbiology as well as identity of the ingredients. Also, a reputed manufacturer will never shy away from a personal visit by a client. If possible, set up an appointment for a personal tour of the facility before placing a big order.
Turnkey Facility with Order Fulfillment
Some nutritional supplement manufacturers offer everything under one roof. They source the ingredients, design packaging and offer other helpful services. Some of the companies also offer dynamic marketing services. Some of the other services offered by these companies include labelling and packaging design and customer service. It’s better to partner with a manufacturer that also offers order fulfilment which means you do not have any need to maintain personal inventory as they can drop ship the orders and you can just focus on selling.
Quality of Ingredients
Some of the contract manufacturers are known to add unnecessary ingredients such as corn starch, sodium benzoate, lactose or fatty acids to various supplements. You need to ensure that the company ensures the quality of ingredients used for making the supplement.
Find out the minimum order quantities for all kinds of supplements made by the company. You might not want to order thousands of bottles in case you want to test a new product formulation or you just want to fulfil some special orders.
Similarly, you need to find out about the payment terms as more often than not, problems happen due to miscommunication regarding payment terms. Make sure their payment terms are clear. You should clear any doubts you have before placing an order.
A professional contract manufacturer usually operate on an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software system as it not only allows them to comply with the cGMP standards but also prevents mistakes. Keeping inventory, formulation or production records on spreadsheets may lead to avoidable mistakes. It is preferable to partner with a contract manufacturer who has invested in such a system.
Types of Products
Find out the type of products made by the contract manufacturer. Professional companies usually offer manufacturing facilities for capsules, liquids, powders as well as tablets. Liquid manufacturing is a complex process as extra diligence is required to ensure stability levels. Reputed manufacturers always conduct additional stability tests to make sure the product has adequate shelf life. Also, liquid supplements require different kind of packaging and the company should offer various options for packaging including child safety caps and other such things.
Ownership of Custom Formulations
It is important for you to make sure that the contract manufacturer does not keep ownership of your own custom formulations. Some manufacturers also offer help to develop new formulations for their clients. If that is the case, make sure there is a contract that states the ownership clearly.
Overall, these are some of the important parameters you should carefully consider before choosing a nutritional supplement manufacturer. They should allow you to scale up or down quickly depending on the market conditions. There are quite a few contract manufacturing facilities out there but not every facility has all the necessary certifications and not everyone offers help with drop shipping, marketing and other important things. So, keep the above mentioned things in mind when you are looking to choose a nutritional supplement manufacturer to build a successful and profitable long term partnership.