Allay Consulting’s June Newsletter: Selecting a Contract Manufacturer
Selecting a Contract Manufacturer
A contract manufacturer is a company that is hired by another company to produce goods or provide services on their behalf. The client company benefits from contracting out the manufacturing process as it may allow them to test the market and focus on other business needs such as product design, marketing, and distribution, while leveraging the expertise and resources of the co-manufacturer. Contract manufacturing offers several advantages to the client company, including cost savings, access to specialized manufacturing capabilities, scalability, and flexibility in production volume. It allows companies to bring their products to market quickly and efficiently without having to invest heavily in infrastructure, equipment, and personnel.
Selecting a co-manufacturer for product manufacturing can be a tough decision. Using a co-manufacturer has an interesting combination – it is your brand and reputation, yet another company makes the product. Because quality and product safety is out of your control, companies must select their co-manufacturer wisely. Below are a few steps to help companies confidently select a co-manufacturer.
Define Your Requirements
Clearly identify your specific needs, product requirements, production volume, and timeline. Determine any specialized certifications or expertise required, such as cGMP, organic, allergen-free production, kosher, etc.
Research Potential Contract Manufacturers
Look for contract manufacturers with experience in cannabis or fungi production and preferably those who specialize in your unique product category (capsules, gummies, beverages, etc.). You can find potential candidates through networking, trade shows, referrals, online searches, etc.
cGMP Compliance & Certification
Selecting a co-manufacturer that adheres to cGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practices) and prioritizes product safety is crucial to ensuring the quality and integrity of your product. Verify that the contract manufacturer follows cGMP regulations. Bonus if the company is cGMP certified by an accredited certifier. Request documentation, such as their FDA registration, third-party audit reports, or a cGMP certificate. Review these documents to ensure compliance and assess their commitment to safety.
Evaluate Quality Control Systems
Inquire about the contract manufacturer’s quality control processes, including raw material sourcing, ingredient testing, and finished product analysis. Ask for details about their quality assurance procedures, quality control personnel, and any internal testing capabilities they possess.
Tour the Facility
Schedule an on-site visit to the co-manufacturer’s facility. Observe their manufacturing processes, storage facilities, and overall cleanliness. Assess their sanitation practices, pest control measures, and employee hygiene protocols. This visit allows you to evaluate the facility’s compliance with cGMP regulations and assess the commitment to product safety.
Ask the contract manufacturer for references from their current or previous clients. Contact these references to gain insights into their experience working with the manufacturer, including their adherence to cGMP regulations, commitment to food safety, and product turn-a-round time.
Evaluate Communication and Collaboration
Assess the contract manufacturer’s ability to communicate effectively and collaborate with your team. Evaluate their responsiveness, willingness to address concerns, and ability to provide regular updates on production progress and quality control measures.
Review the Contract
Once you have narrowed down your options, review the proposed contract carefully. Ensure that all important aspects, such as production timelines, quality control requirements, liability clauses, and ownership of intellectual property, are clearly defined.
Consider Cost and Capacity
Evaluate the contract manufacturer’s pricing structure and payment terms. Compare costs with other potential manufacturers, considering the value provided in terms of quality, expertise, and safety measures. Additionally, assess their production capacity to ensure they can meet your volume requirements consistently.
Start with a Trial Run
Before committing to a long-term contract, consider starting with a small-scale trial run. This allows you to assess the contract manufacturer’s performance firsthand and verify their ability to meet your quality and safety standards.
Narrowing Down a Co-Manufacturers
We hope these steps help narrow down potential contract manufacturers to a few suitable contenders. Interview each company based on talking points listed above. Talk with industry leaders who have used their services. After your research, narrow down your search to a single company who you believe will be the best fit for your manufacturing needs.
In Need of Compliance and Certification Support?
If your company’s values and goals include compliance, we are here to help! Allay Consulting compliance services work one-on-one with your company to create realistic Safety & Quality Management Systems that are unique to your company’s values and goals. Contact Allay Consulting to learn more about implementing FDA compliance, cGMP/GACP/Organic system, OSHA safety compliance, written documentation, facility compliance, certification readiness, and employee education.
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