When it comes to making it through the supplement manufacturing processes with your budget, business plan, and sanity still intact, building extra time into your production run for “the unexpected” can make all the difference.
There are dozens of factors that can influence the production time (or lead time) for a dietary supplement product. Especially for new or first-time brand owners looking to manufacture a supplement product, being able to accommodate these factors can be near impossible without the help of an experienced supplement manufacturer. With more than a decade’s worth of combined experiences, we’ve put together a list of our top three “unexpected” production factors that can influence first time dietary supplement runs.
3 Common Factors that Can Influence The Production Time of a New Dietary Supplement
Now, before we dive into our three top factors it’s worth noting that the moral of this article isn’t that all three of these factors will influence every single first-run. Each run is unique – and the set of factors that ends up influencing that run (for better or for worse) will also be unique. The trick is to be able to recognize the most common factors and build extra time and resources (buffers) for them into your business plan from the start. You know what they say – “If you’re expecting the unexpected, then the unexpected isn’t all that unexpected – now is it?”
Factor #1: Your Formula Calls for Rare, Specialty, or Trademarked Ingredients or Materials
Finalizing your product’s formula at the beginning of the production journey has the potential to make almost every other aspect of the production process run better. One of the often under-appreciated benefits of finalizing your product’s formula beforehand is having the ability to establish which components – if any – may need extra time to source and acquire. For certain specialty ingredients, finding a supplier who can meet the quality, purity, and monetary specifications of your formula and business plan may take time.
For trademarked or “brand name” ingredients, there’s also the added fun of dealing with unique pricing, shipping timetables, and the possibility that a specific ingredient your formulation needs may be on back order.
The value of researching the accessibility and pricing of the ingredients in your product formulation with the help of your manufacturer or independently (before you even consider attempting to solidify any production or distribution deadlines) cannot be understated.
Factor #2: Designing, Proofing, Printing & Reproofing Your New Product Label
Oh, label design. Arguably one of the most important components of your dietary supplement outside of its formulation and ingredients – label design and production have earned a reputation for playing out in one of two ways: 1) Everything goes positively swimmingly, or 2) There ends up being a few “hiccups” along the way.
Especially for those looking to design and produce a brand new dietary supplement label, there are a number of different steps involved and each of those unique steps will take time. Our advice for helping your label design project get off on the right foot: Work with a graphic design who knows and has worked in the dietary supplement industry. Whether it’s your manufacturer’s in-house designer or one you choose to contract independently, a designer who knows the industry will likely be familiar with two of the most important components of dietary supplement label design: The most current FDA labeling regulations, and how to design a label for print.
Along with choosing to design your label with the help of an experienced and industry-vetted designer, recognizing that the processes of proofing the design before it goes to print and proofing the printed design before it runs rarely happen overnight. Working with your manufacturer, the designer, and the printers to establish a realistic timeline for the project (including room for potential set-backs) is a great way to help you build enough time for label design into your business plan.
Factor #3: Tests and Certifications
Along with the mandatory panel of tests that have to be performed over the course of every dietary supplement production run, there are a number of additional tests and certifications that a product can obtain (like allergen-free, vegan, or kosher – just to name a few).
What many first-time brand owners fail to recognize, is the fact that not only is each additional certification likely to add to the total time for the production run, but that – for most manufacturers – many of these additional certifications come with a fee. Both of these factors being acknowledged, working with your manufacturer to accommodate the time and cost associated with a particular certification can absolutely be worthwhile. Depending on what type of product you’re trying to produce and the type of consumer its intended for – having an additional certification (or two) can make all the difference!
When it comes to certifications (or any aspect of the production process, really) establishing clear lines for communication with your manufacturer from the start of the production process makes all the difference.
Making the effort to communicate with your manufacturer – frequently and effectively – from the start of the production process has the potential to shape every step of the dietary supplement manufacturing process for the better. What’s more, building time into your business plan for some of the more common production delays has the potential to save your business time and money (along with sparing you from an unnecessary headache or two).