The Most Important Questions to Ask When Selecting a Custom Contract Manufacturer of Dietary Supplements
Custom contract manufacturers provide several benefits to a marketing and/or branded health supplement company such as formulation expertise, affordability, quick turnarounds and quality products that can quickly support a large customer base. Custom contract manufacturers can help with or even create the formulations for your supplement and can help with the sourcing of your ingredients if you aren’t able to supply the ingredients directly.
If you are choosing to go the route of hiring a custom contract manufacturer, you’ll need to ask a few questions to highlight important goals, expectations, target audiences and invest time in choosing the right manufacturer to do the job. We’ve outlined some of the most important questions you need to ask to help ensure your new dietary supplement is a success and that the best formulation for your product is properly matched to your customers needs.
QUESTION #1: HOW QUICKLY CAN I RECEIVE A FINISHED PRODUCT?
A custom contract manufacturer can determine and provide the proper formulation and encapsulation to offer the best quality product available to your consumers. All of this goes into determining the lead time for taking a supplement concept to production, packaging and ultimately final shipment to your company.
QUESTION #2: DO I NEED A COMPLICATED FORMULA?
Simplicity, convenience and reliability are some of the perks that a custom contract manufacturer with extensive formulation expertise can offer you. What you get from Beehive Botanicals is a product option that is simple, stable, consistent and customers know what to expect. By using a manufacturer you trust, you can be assured that they have properly researched the formulations needed to provide your customers a quality product quickly and with the smallest investment.
QUESTION #3: HOW MANY UNITS DO I NEED TO START?
When you are purchasing your first shipment of supplements, sometimes it’s less risky to start small to test the market waters. We will ship an order with as few as 25,000 capsules, which means you won’t need massive amounts of storage space to get started. The formulation we help determine for your supplement or botanical will be ready to go for your next order and our certified facility will ensure that your product will be consistent from batch to batch.
We are flexible, however, depending on the details of the actual order.
QUESTION #4: DOES THE MANUFACTURER ENSURE QUALITY?
A quality supplement and/or botanical manufacturer will have all the proper certifications so your customers know they can trust the product. You want a manufacturer who is FDA registered, GMP certified, Kosher, and certified organic. Beehive Botanicals is fully FDA registered and has all of the discussed certifications.
You might want to also consider touring the facility to witness how they create your products and review their records keeping to make sure that they will be fully transparent and responsive to records requests.
QUESTION #5: IS THIS MY FIRST SUPPLEMENT TO MARKET?
Custom contract manufacturers are perfect for newcomers to the supplement industry. You might have a great idea for a new supplement that you think will be a big hit. However, you don’t have the ability to manufacture or the expertise to properly formulate your supplement.
Starting with a custom contract manufacturer is an inexpensive way to experiment in a new market. It’s also the perfect opportunity to test a custom formula and/or encapsulation.
One of the benefits of having a custom contract manufacturer at your disposal is the readiness of your partner to manufacture product to meet your needs. Knowing when you can expect your finished product will impact when you can start marketing to your buyers and taking orders. In general the lead time for a first time order using Beehive Botanicals as a contract manufacturer take between 8-12 weeks depending on the ingredients and packaging required.
QUESTION #6: WHAT SHOULD I BUDGET FOR?
When you are determining the right budget, you’ll also need to consider the cost of manufacturing, marketing, storage and shipping. We recommend choosing a custom contract manufacturer that resides in the same country as your primary retail operation and is able to source ingredients for you if needed.
QUESTION #7: DO I NEED TO OUTSOURCE GRAPHIC DESIGN AND MARKETING SERVICES?
Sometimes it’s best to hire help. If you are not an experienced designer, then you are taking a risk by not outsourcing the design and packaging work to a professional. The adage, consumers judge a book by its cover continues to be true even when it comes to manufacturing and packaging a supplement or botanical. Don’t make the mistake of investing in and creating a great quality supplement product only to see a lack of adoption by the consumer because of a bad aesthetic or unappealing design.
QUESTION #8: HOW WILL A MANUFACTURER HANDLE PROBLEMS THAT MAY OCCUR DURING THE PURCHASING OR PRODUCTION PROCESS?
Delays in the manufacturing process or availability problems of needed ingredients are inevitable, especially for custom formulations. You’ll want to know how a manufacturer will communicate with you if any problems occur. A custom contract manufacturer with extensive formulation experience, like Beehive Botanicals, may be able to quickly reformulate a product without sacrificing its appeal, regulatory approvals and efficacy and thus avoid long back order delays due to an availability issue with a specific ingredient.
QUESTION #9: DO I NEED FINANCING OPTIONS?
Cash flow is key for running a successful retail supplement company. Will you need financing options to help your business run smoothly? Do you know what your monthly capital expenditures will be? Many custom contract manufacturers can offer different financing options so check on that when discussing financing with your new contract manufacturing partner. A contract manufacturer, like Beehive Botanicals, that is based in the United States can greatly simplify the financing options that you might need.
QUESTION #10: WHO IS MY TARGET MARKET AND HOW WILL THAT AFFECT FORMULATION AND PACKAGING?
Your target market will determine everything from the product you create to the label you design. Older populations might need larger lettering for example. Younger audiences might prefer crisp, clean labels. Different consumers also care about different benefits, so your marketing strategy is highly dependent on your target audience.
QUESTION #11: HOW WILL YOU REACH NEW CUSTOMERS?
Do you have a strategy to grow your customer base over the next few months or years? Can your custom contract manufacturing partner scale up at the same rate as your growth plan? It helps to create this plan before you pick your contract manufacturing partner and start the manufacturing process. The “build it and they will come” mentality isn’t a path to success in the supplement industry.
QUESTION #12: WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FOR ME TO BE ON?
Utilizing and investing time and money into social media can be an effective way to communicate with your existing customer base and reach new customers. If you decide to communicate with your customers on social media, you’ll have to choose which platform your customers are most likely to spend their time on.
For example, Facebook tends to attract an older demographic whereas Instagram and Twitter tend to attract younger consumers. Also make sure you can properly and effectively communicate with your social media audience and at the same time maintain compliance and not inadvertently run afoul of any regulatory agency. A contract manufacturer with extensive regulatory experience, like Beehive Botanicals, can be a very helpful partner in this department.
QUESTION #13: WHAT IS MY PRICING STRATEGY?
Of course, you need to know how much it’ll cost to manufacture your new supplement or botanical. How much will you in turn charge your customers? Your pricing strategy might be the difference of a wildly successful supplement company and a financial flop. You’ll have to investigate your competitors pricing strategy as well as what your customers expect to pay for a product like yours.
QUESTION #14: WHAT DOES SUCCESS LOOK LIKE?
Before your dietary supplement or botanical makes it to the retail shelf, it’s best to sketch out your expectations. What benchmarks do you need to reach for your supplement to be a success and profitable? Outline your goals, create a path to achieve them and give yourself metrics to measure success or failure.
In addition to picking the right custom contract manufacturer, marketing plays a critical role in a successful supplement launch. Make sure you have a good marketing plan and marketing partner.
To learn more about our custom contract manufacturing of dietary supplement, our custom or unique formulation expertise and how best to source your ingredients, or to receive a cost estimate on your next product, give us a call at 800-233-4483.