Natural Products Insider

NOV-DEC 2018

INSIDER is the leading information source for marketers, manufacturers and formulators of dietary supplements, healthy foods and cosmeceuticals. Since 1997, INSIDER has been serving the needs of the global nutrition industry.

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58 INSIDER November/December 2018 Every time people take a supplement, they demonstrate their trust in the brand and the manufacturer behind that item to provide a safe product. In the same vein, the relationship between the brand and the contract manufacturer is one of trust, as well. One of the best ways to engender trust is to be open and honest with each other, which starts by being transparent. By increasing transparency in the supply chain, companies can connect with consumers to build trust in everyone involved, while also gaining the power to react more effi ciently and effectively, should any issues or problems arise. One of the common challenges regarding transparency in the supply chain pertains to global communication. The importance of understanding how different audiences ask or respond to questions and concerns cannot be understated. Such differences may cause ineffi ciencies. As such, when working in a global supply chain, the best operators know what is perceived to be the best approach for the audience with which they are trying to engage. By communicating effectively, individuals can coordinate and overcome issues that have global implications, particularly as it relates to issues around availability of the ingredients in a vitamin or supplement. Lack of availability can disrupt planning and cause delays. For instance, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (China's version of the EPA), has been pushing for cleaner manufacturing processes. As a consequence, it has shut down some facilities, either temporarily for refi tting or permanently. This can cause a restriction in supply and make it more diffi cult on a global level to procure supply of a particular ingredient. In a case like this, if the contract manufacturer is not stocked well in advance, the brands it serves and, subsequently, the end users, will be left without the resources they're seeking. Therefore, open communication as far in advance as possible from the Chinese supplier to the contract manufacturer helps everyone stay ahead with forecasting so production doesn't slow. Transparency in Forecasting Better visibility and more timely data sharing allow companies to collaborate effectively. Visibility also helps contract manufacturers manage orders, shipments and inventory and to plan and direct transportation. In order to plan and collaborate, it is important for suppliers, manufacturers and brands to be transparent about their forecasting. Suppliers should be transparent about issues that will impact the producers or farmers. This includes sharing information regarding timelines impacted by holidays, plant shutdowns for maintenance, weather patterns and other similar incidents. Brands should also be transparent about how much demand there is for their product. If they can provide correct data and reports to the contract manufacturers, accurate orders can be made to the suppliers, and farmers can plan accordingly. Transparency in Testing With the implementation of the 21 CFR Part 111 GMPs (good manufacturing practices), contract manufacturers are required to confi rm the identity, purity, strength and composition of dietary supplements. As a contract manufacturer, trust is nurtured through transparency of these results with its customers and, ultimately, the end users. A relevant example is when Amazon began selling its Amazon Elements brand of dietary supplements with complete disclosure and transparency. It provides easy-to-understand visual results of identity, purity, strength and composition. It also provides information about every ingredient in the product. This would not be possible without the transparency provided by a contract manufacturer's supply chain. This transparency builds the necessary trust from the consumer all the way back to the manufacturer and the supplier/producer of the ingredient. This transparency harbors trust throughout the industry. Transparency = Quality As an industry, the natural products community is raising its standards. Regulatory and consumer pressures are driving some fundamental and welcomed change, but most of it is happening because responsible companies feel the need to focus on quality. Consumers need to know what comprises the products (ingredients), as well as the data that supports the claims. Transparency is a quality issue. It is urgently important to share all information that impacts the formulation and manufacturing of a product from the farmer to the shelf. The best way to do this is through documentation and the open sharing of documents between the manufacturer and the brand. Furthermore, contract manufacturers should have an open-door policy when it comes to their customers touring and auditing their facilities. This is how trust is built between manufacturers and brands, and that trust can be passed on to consumers. Consumers are demanding to know exactly what is in their supplements. If the brand is able to accurately convey this information, trust will grow. A fundamental way for the industry to grow and improve is by being more transparent and honest with suppliers and consumers about information pertaining to ingredients. Thaddeus Roy is the director of supply chain at Biovation Labs (biovationlabs.com), a contract manufacturing, formulation, private label and supplier company within the natural products industry. The company works within the life science space, manufacturing products for supplement and nutraceutical companies worldwide. In January 2018, the company moved into a 104,000-sq.-ft. corporate headquarters in Salt Lake City, which houses a high-capacity manufacturing facility, serving the needs of both large and early-stage companies. Biovation Labs headquarters is an NSF-registered GMP facility. Transparency in the Supply Chain Helps Everyone See More Clearly by Thaddeus Roy Contract Manufacturing: Supply Chain Transparency

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