Best Questions to Ask Your Supplement Manufacturer Before You Work with Them
August 24, 2018
When you are out shopping for something, especially if itâ€™s your first time to buy it or try a certain product, you ask as many questions as possible and even go to the extent of researching first. This is from a consumerâ€™s perspective.
Now, letâ€™s switch. Say, you are planning to start your own business and now you are the one looking to sell and make some profits. Do you think you would still be asking questions? Well, I hope so!
One of the, if not the most crucial thing to do in establishing your own supplement business is looking for your supplement manufacturer. You want to make sure that you are working with the best and getting your capitalâ€™s worth. Before you entrust your ideas to your supplement manufacturer, here are some questions you can ask to cover your bases.
- Do you have certifications under your belt?
Sure, it is nice when a supplement manufacturer guarantees you this and that. However, I feel what others say about them is more important. By others, I mean, certification organizations whether from private or government bodies. Itâ€™s important that we, as clients, know the kind of service we can expect. We should look out for the supplement manufacturerâ€™s quality. Currently, there are three GMP or good manufacturing practice certifying bodies. They are USP Certification by United States Pharmacopeia, NPA certification by Natural Products Association, and Pharmaceutical Consulting Services. These organizations award certifications specifically for contract supplement manufacturers.
- How many years have you been in the business?
Oscar Wilde once said, â€śExperience is simply the name we give our mistakes.â€ť I am a firm believer of this statement as well as that sage line that says, â€śExperience is the best teacher.â€ť The longer a company has been in the business, the more they have learned things from practical situations; things that you cannot learn unless you make a particular mistake. With experience, your supplement manufacturer should possess the expertise, skill, and even work ethics that you are looking for. You want a manufacturer who is not just in it for the trend, but rather for commitment and excellence.
- Do you do your own manufacturing?
Yes, I know, this question is weird. I mean, why call yourself a manufacturer if you donâ€™t actually manufacturer? But this is actually a valid question. This is because most manufacturing companies, especially in the United States, outsource 95% of their manufacturing responsibilities. This results in a longer lead time, and worse, loss of control when it comes to production.
There are even some cases when your manufacturer buys from another manufacturer. The risk in doing this is that your supplement manufacturer may not know exactly what the ingredients were used in producing your own line of supplements, which is a very big risk to take.
- What tests do the products undergo?
Another good sign that a supplement manufacturer can be trusted is if they have their very own testing laboratory. This is a concrete sign that they take quality control seriously. Did you know that outsourcing laboratory tests can be very expensive? Thatâ€™s why if a supplement manufacturer does not have an in-house laboratory, I automatically take this as a red flag.
I also discourage you from just asking your prospective supplement manufacturer if they have an in-house laboratory. Ask follow-up questions. You should also ask for the equipment they have in the laboratory. Talk to the laboratory director or manager. Ask who will handle your product testing, what equipment are used to test for identity, heavy metals, and microbiology. You can even ask to visit the laboratory because that is well within your right as a client.
- Do you abide by the CGMP?
What is CGMP? CGMP stand for Current Good Manufacturing Practice. You have to take note of the word â€ścurrentâ€ť as this is the chief operative word. These guidelines constantly evolve to ensure that all products are of the highest quality. CGMP is enforced by FDA or Food and Drug Administration. They ensure that CGMP is strictly followed by human pharmaceutical companies. CGMP ensures the identity, strength, quality, and purity of drug products.
You should know that following CGMP is the bare minimum. Your supplement manufacturer should not get extra brownie points for doing this. It is not enough to ask your supplement manufacturer if they follow CGMP; you should also ask them to cite examples and proof within their organization that they follow good manufacturing practice.
- Do you manufacture liquid supplements?
Yes, manufacturing liquid supplements is probably the most arduous task a supplement manufacturer can take on. That is because liquid supplements call for a high degree of precision; they are also easily contaminated if mistakes are made in formulating or manufacturing phase. If your supplement manufacturer does not have enough experience in doing this, chances are, you are rolling a dice.
- How do you communicate?
I donâ€™t know about you, but for me, communication is key if you want your business to succeed. As in any other business transaction, what I value most is the ability of the other part to communicate effectively and in a timely manner. Most importantly, there should be honesty in communicating.
For example, if the supplement manufacturer runs out of a certain ingredient and they plan to replace it with something else, do you think they should take it up with you first? Of course! Another thing, your supplement manufacturer should be upfront about their lead time. If they promise an unrealistic time frame, chances are they are cutting corners in the production or they cannot fulfill it. So, be honest in your intent and expectations and all shall go well.
These are the first 7 questions I want you to raise to your prospective supplement manufacturer. Remember, asking questions is your right. Do not be afraid to use it.
The second part of this article will be posted on Monday, so stay tuned! In the meantime, do not hesitate to let us know if you have more questions. We love hearing from you!
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