When deciding on a which contract manufacturer to work with choosing “the one” can be a tough call.
In essence, you are trusting a huge piece of your business to someone else. You have to be certain that it’s the good choice and a right fit for your business. Your manufacturer is a big part of your business and making sure it all works is just as important as choosing a marriage partner. 🙂
Here are three simple steps to make sure that it’s a fit.
Step 1#: Evaluate – Are we a fit?
1. Ask them what their minimum orders are or required batch size orders. Often times, if you are a start up, a contract manufacturing company will allow you to do a pilot batch and then scale up to their full size batches on the next run. A pilot batch is actually a good solution for both parties. It gives you, the client, a chance to test the market and the manufacturer to test the formula if it’s new and work out any kinks along the way.
2. Find out their customer service and account manager process. Will you be working with one rep? Do you talk directly to the lab? What happens if there are problems with either the product or packaging? Who is responsible?
Step #2: Have your specs prepared
This is such an important piece in selecting a contract manufacturer. Take the time to do research and decide what ingredients you are okay with and which ones you would prefer to not have on your list. I call it a no no list.
If possible, purchase samples of products that you like so that you can provide a sample to the lab. This’ll help with viscosity and thickness of the product.
Step #3: Give the manufacturer time
After 10 years in the cosmetic industry, I can say without a doubt that it takes 3-6 months to develop a new formula. It just takes time. The labs need time to to evaluate your products, source raw materials and provide a quote.
The quoting process should be faster once they have agreed upon a formula. However, the development phase takes a while.
Pushing is okay but pushing leads to unforeseen variables such as product separation, packaging incompatibility and often rushed artwork which all can equal a rough launch.
It’s a necessary step in the process of building the relationship.
Accurate quoting for products involves time, a week or two.
And at the end of interviewing a contract manufacturer, if it’s not a fit – walk away, nicely, leaving the door open for in the event you need a back up manufacturer.
Got questions? You can ask me here or find me on Facebook.