When you’re in the bidding or RFP process for a new contract manufacturer for your liquid cleaning products, it can be overwhelming. Even the most experienced product and engineering teams are often unclear on how to evaluate a contract manufacturing vendor.

All brands, no matter how large, need and deserve surety that you’re working with a partner that values your consumer and end-user relationships as much as you do. In order to pre-qualify a liquid contract manufacturer, here are some things you should look for when you’re touring a facility, meeting with staff, and vetting a new partner.

ONE: Quality Control Procedures

In the liquid manufacturing arena, standardizations and SOPs often signal to a client or brand a vendor is following best practices. For example, Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs) are standards used to control manufacturing inputs for processes and procedures in order to protect consumers from harm. Derived from the Public Health Safety Act, CGMPs were created to enact and protect drug safety. The FDA utilizes those standards to make sure pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities are following protocols to produce safe and effective drugs.

Those established standards signify a vendor can maintain product quality, create consistent products (so the end-user has the same experience every time they open a package), and control ingredients and inputs throughout their entire supply chain. 

Quality ecosystems should also include the evaluation of all incoming ingredients from reliable partners. A manufacturing vendor needs to manage ingredient quality by establishing collaborative quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) resources that produce consistent, measurable results every time.

Example of those processes: 

  • Evaluation of all incoming, raw materials
  • Chemists to analyze those materials
  • Repeatable testing methods (including ongoing testing and oversight of instrumentation)

TWO: Stable Supply Chain for Materials

When products are in high demand or raw materials in short supply, manufacturing vendors need to have a stable supply chain in place. Stable supply chains are critical to getting your products on your customers’ shelves on time.

Resilient supply chains also further provide price stability, making sure those consumers and end-users don’t end up paying a literal higher cost down the line. When a vendor has multiple, trusted sources for popular ingredients like hydrogen peroxide, your products aren’t compromised. Additionally, production workflows can continue unabated.  

In our history, PCI has created and managed stable relationships with global vendors to protect our clients’ profit margins and production schedules. Every customer is a price-sensitive customer, and our valuable vendor relationships retain quality and save our clients time in the process. 

THREE: Lot Control and Traceability 

A contract manufacturer worth its salt (and value!) will enshrine lot control and traceability into its workflows to protect each and every product as it makes its way to fished good. This process is painstaking, costly to establish, and requires deep expertise and knowledge of the bottling or packaging industry. 

Imagine the worst-case scenario: A product recall. Even in the unlikely case of one, production and manufacturing vendors should have fail-safe methods to trace every bottle or package back to a single lot. 

The end-to-end process should also be well-documented so any package is easily and quickly located within the supply inventory. By way of example, at PCI, our team inkjets bottles with relevant codes so we can identify every batch within which it was produced, shipped, and stored. In the (albeit unlikely) event of a recall, our team can then trace every bottle to a very specific batch.

Those lot controls always include the date and time, so we can identify the actions and investigations that need to happen right away. This includes pulling three bottles per production lot per shift daily. We also store samples in a temperature-controlled environment and retain them for up to three years.

FOUR: Experienced, Hands-On Chemists and Product Experts

Recruiting and hiring a new employee can cost thousands, and that doesn’t include the expense of finding highly specialized professionals like chemical engineers.

Brands often don’t have the workflow or facilities that justify those costs or have the human resources to recruit, hire, and manage adequate staffing for product manufacturing. By working with a vendor that already has those resources available, you get the benefit of the expertise without the burden of those responsibilities. That further ensures your product lines scale quickly without having to hire extra staff. 

FIVE: Work with a Liquid Contract Manufacturer That Can Collaborate with Your Team in Any Stage of the Process

Exclusivity agreements can be binding and often interfere with order volume. Companies and brands with prolific sales often need facilitation for particularly busy seasons or unexpected order peaks. A reliable and trustworthy contract manufacturer should be prepared to partner and work with other third parties to help you fulfill burst capacity during those times. 

Additionally, mistakes, no matter how rare, happen. When and if another vendor causes something like a labeling error, that could be potentially ruinous. By working with a manufacturer that has the correct workflows and trained machinists who can relabel and repackage those products, you can further prevent waste and protect profit margins. 

Have More Questions about Finding a Contract Manufacturing Vendor for Cleaning Products?

The team at PCI has extensive experience working with brands all over the country to produce cost-effective products on time. From raw ingredients to finished goods, we manage and maintain a global supply chain so your end-users enjoy consistent quality every time they use your products.
For more questions or to schedule a meeting, please contact PCI to learn more about our facilities, our experience, and how our hands-on team can work with you today.