As your private label skin care line prepares to begin production, or as it grows past your current production capacity, you may reach the point where entering into a partnership with a contract manufacturer (CM) is the best choice for keeping your business profitable. The right private label manufacturer can put their industry expertise and established practices to work for your company, saving you the cost of operating facilities and hiring employees, increasing the speed with which you can bring your products to market, and freeing you to devote your time to marketing and customer relations.
However, finding success with a contract manufacturer involves more than just placing an order. Here we provide four tips for making your partnership as successful as possible.
1. Take the time to find the right match.
On the surface, many contract manufacturers seem to offer similar services, but there will be some that are significantly better for your brand than others.
- In addition to comparing quotes, find out if they are experienced with products similar to yours. You will also want to check if your production needs are too large for them to accommodate, or too small to meet their minimum order. Remember to include your projected growth over time in your figures.
- Ask about the Quality Management System (QMS) they employ both in their own facilities and in conjunction with their suppliers. How will the private label manufacturer assure a consistent, high-quality product?
- Finally, make an on-site audit, or at least speak in depth with the staff who will be working with you.
2. Treat your contract manufacturer as a respected partner.
Once you select a CM, you will achieve your best results when you treat them as a long-term member of your business.
- If you hop from one manufacturer to another in pursuit of the lowest quote, you will miss out on the expertise your CM can bring to your products as your line develops over time. In the same vein, a manufacturer may be reluctant to commit their best resources to your line if they think you will break off the relationship at your first chance.
- Bring them on board with your company vision and sales goals. Let your contract manufacturer feel that they have a share in both your risks and your successes. Strive to make your collaboration become a win-win situation for everyone.
3. Make communication a priority.
- If your CM is taking over production from your own company or another manufacturer, work together to develop a clear transition timetable so that no responsibilities are forgotten or duplicated.
- Establish a regular schedule for meetings. Some companies will meet annually, some quarterly, depending on their needs. Use this time to discuss sales, trends, and best practices. Listen to your CM’s input on any issues they foresee with sourcing or production. Remember that the staff members of a high-quality contract manufacturer will be industry experts in their fields, with specific knowledge of chemistry, marketing, packaging specifications, and more. Listen to their insights with an open mind.
- In addition to these structured meetings, agree to stay in-touch informally whenever any important issues arise. Help determine who should get to know each other in your company and theirs.
4. If you use more than one manufacturer, maintain transparency.
If may sometimes happen that you will need to use more than one CM to produce your line (for example, not every private label manufacturer will be an expert in every type of product you offer). When this happens, follow these best practices.
- Be completely up-front about all of the manufacturing relationships you have.
- Insist on only working with CMs who will be dedicated to creating consistent, high quality products with a cohesive brand identity, even when working with other CMs.
- Draw up clear areas of responsibility for each manufacturer, especially if they will work on the same products. Be sure all parties are familiar with the vision and goals you have for your private label skin care brand.
- Your best results will usually come when contract manufacturers can share their research, practices and QMSs freely, but some formulas may be proprietary and should not be shared. Don’t make your CMs guess which path to take. Let everyone know in clear terms which information can be shared and which shouldn’t.
To learn how PrivateLabelSk.in can help you create the skin care products you envision, call us at (877) 516-2200 or contact us here.