Your company is already established and successful. You take pride in providing high quality health and wellness products that improve peoples’ lives; however, you know there’s more your supplement brand could be doing in the marketplace.
It’s time to take things to the next level. You’ve done your homework about what people are looking for in supplements, and you see current and upcoming trends.
You’re in touch with the pulse of the industry, and it’s time to expand to new horizons of success.
This next step will likely involve connecting with a new dietary supplement manufacturer for some or all of your product line.
However, this decision should not be taken lightly. If you want to make a mutually beneficial connection that helps take your business to the next level, be sure to ask the following 15 questions while screening potential suppliers:
1. How long have you been in operation?
The length of time a company has been in business could be a factor in their level of experience and what they will bring to the table for your business.
Experience counts; however newer supplement manufacturers may be more energized and on the cutting edge of the industry.
Expertise, skill and the ability to change with the times are all important qualities to look for in a supplement manufacturer.
2. What are your certifications?
The nutritional supplement manufacturer you choose should have endorsement by at least one GMP (good manufacturing practice) certifying organization.
These include the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), Pharmaceutical Consulting Services, Natural Products Association (NPA) and United States Pharmacopeia (USP).
3. What is your minimum order size and standard turnaround time?
You’ll want to ensure that the company is a fit in terms of their supplement manufacturing minimums.
You should also get a sense of their usual turnaround times after an order is placed so that you can plan accordingly. That it is why dilgennce in your reasearch for a supplement manufacturer with a low minumum is pivotal.
4. Tell me about your raw materials?
All raw components used by the supplement manufacturer you choose should be labeled with a quarantine, testing and release sticker. Verify these and any other production records that are important to you.
5. Do you use pure ingredients and components?
Some manufacturers may add ingredients like lactose, sodium benzoate, corn starch or fatty acids to vitamins for various reasons instead of 100% product. If this matters to you, be sure you’re aware of their exact practices where this is concerned and what kinds of “fillers” will be added to your vitamins and supplements.
6. Do you avoid unnecessary excipients and lubricants?
The more pure and natural the supplement in all phases, the better consumer response is likely to be.
Get assurance that the supplement contract manufacturer won’t be adding too many excipients and lubricants like magnesium stearate, cellulose, titanium dioxide, silicon dioxide, silica, stearic acid, paraben, dyes, etc.
If required, the best flow agents are organic. Find out that the supplement manufacturer minimizes the use of these elements and favors natural, organic choices when they are necessary.
7. What about more complex liquid supplement formulations?
Liquid supplements require more steps and a more demanding process than pills or capsules.
If you require this type of supplement, ensure that the manufacturer you partner with is well equipped to handle it.
Liquids are far more vulnerable and subject to contamination, so adequate measures should be in place to ensure safe, high quality manufacturing of liquid supplements.
8. Will you assist me with packaging and label regulations?
If you require it, find out if the supplement manufacturer will at least offer guidance on packaging and labeling considerations.
While it is ultimately your own company’s responsibility, having assistance in this area can go a long way in making the process easier and more effective for your company.
9. Who actually does the manufacturing?
A number of supplement contract manufacturers outsource their manufacturing to other companies. Doing so can add to the amount of lead time and potentially lessen quality control.
If pure supplements and verifiable ingredients are important to you, you’ll want to ensure that the supplement manufacturer you choose does all of their manufacturing in-house where quality can be better monitored.
10. What types of testing is performed? Does the company have its own lab?
Testing, of course, is a crucial step in the process. Quality control is paramount in the product that is created and ultimately the reputation of your brand.
Inquire about the types of testing equipment and the processes used in the lab. Ensure that the precise type of testing you require will be conducted, i.e. microbiology, testing for heavy metals, etc. Ask to see production notes and records from other clients.
11. What are your standard operating procedures for staff?
Gain some insight into the hiring and training process for the supplement manufacturer you are considering.
After all, they are the ones who will be doing the important work of creating your products. Find out about hiring criteria, training processes and other requirements of the staff, as well as their current experience levels.
12. What types of cleaning chemicals and processes are used at your facility?
Find out what the company uses for sanitization. Hypoallergenic substances and processes are always best; all cleaners and solvents used should ideally be food grade, edible and safe.
13. Do you drop ship?
If you require direct shipping supplements to your customers, find out if the manufacturer will take care of this step for you and if there will be any extra charge.
14. Do you use an ERP system?
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is much more organized and reliable than other business accounting methods such as Excel spreadsheets. Not using an ERP system opens up companies to confusion, disorganization, errors and lack of efficiency.
15. Is your company known for good communication, quality supplement manufacturing and what are your methods for doing so?
Good communication is vital in any relationship. If the company runs out of an ingredient or component, how will they handle this?
What if they make a switch in terms of a core ingredient or process – will they notify you? Make sure the supplement manufacturer you choose will be honest, transparent and forthright about their inner workings.
You should be notified immediately about changes in production schedules or any other alteration that affects your product, including regulatory changes in the industry that could affect your product formulation.
Adding new products and taking production to the next level is an exciting time for your supplement company. Make the most of this opportunity by connecting with the ideal manufacturer for your needs.
Asking these key 15 questions can be an important part of the screening process. The answers you receive will help you to make an informed decision about which is the best company to partner with.
The goal, of course, is to sign on with the best manufacturer for your company goals and brand going forward.
Quality control, pure ingredients and reliable processes are some of the top considerations. The questions highlighted here can serve as a basis for getting to know the candidates you are considering so that you can connect with the best supplement manufacturer for your needs.
Be proactive, get to know them, and ask these important questions. The future of your vitamin supplement manufacturing business and brand may depend on it!