Editor’s Note: This blog is an updated version of this post from January 2018.
Remember the 1989 movie Field of Dreams?
In it, Ray Kinsella, a farmer in Iowa, had some serious cash flow problems. He was, literally, about to lose the farm. Ray began to hear voices telling him to bet the farm on baseball. He loved the game, but had no experience in the business - and, other than his unproductive cornfield, no resources. Instead of relying on sports managers or trusted advisors, Ray decided to rely on people he didn’t know, most of whom were already dead.
In true Hollywood style, it worked out great. Ray (Kevin Costner) looked like a marketing genius. The movie made lots of money at the box office, and 30 years later, the film’s classic line still lives in pop culture. Even so, it never made sense in the business world.
“If you build it, they will come” Is Bad Business Advice
Of course, if you don’t build it, they (customers) will never come. But why build something you’re not prepared to build or manage, when someone else already specializes in providing the facilities and resources you need?
That’s how a true turnkey solution for chemical manufacturing works.
When you have the recipe for a marketable product, you don’t have to build it yourself. The large, expensive pieces of the process, including inventory management, warehousing, production and distribution can be farmed out. (And Ray would be proud.)
As chemical manufacturing has evolved and specialties continue to emerge, industry leaders have realized that updating and streamlining business operations makes sense. From digitizing parts of the research and development process to relying on consultants to help navigate product registration complexities, there is value in specialized capabilities and relying on expert experience.
Specialists Prepare Your Team for Success
When you can depend on a contract manufacturer to produce reliably – and even ramp up production during peak season – then you can focus on the core aspects of your business and growth opportunities.
That may mean allocating more resources to research and development, market analysis, or customer relations, rather than giving those areas your divided attention while managing ongoing real estate, procurement, warehousing and distribution demands as well.
In addition, even if you have a valuable new formula, your window of opportunity to get that product to market doesn’t last forever. If your line goes down, you’ll need a back-up plan, which is where a contract manufacturer can be invaluable.
Depth, Experience Strengthens Your Team
In one memorable movie scene, legends of the game appear simply by walking out of the cornfield. Seeing them in full uniform, ready to play, a mystified Ray asks, “Where did all these baseball players come from?”
Of course, most of them were ghosts. They disappeared right after the game.
Staffing can feel like that sometimes.
Ramping up production for seasonal products, in particular, demands an increased focus on staffing and training – and let’s face it, hiring and retaining good employees is hard. Often, a new production schedule also requires investments in time and money to update equipment – further taxing your team.
Large contract manufacturers always have a full roster of manufacturing all-stars – and since their facilities are their primary business, ensuring their production lines are fully staffed and up and running is their responsibility, not yours.
Play to Your Strengths
Unlike Ray, you probably don’t have voices in your head telling you what to do, but you do know what’s best for your business.
By partnering with a full-service contract chemical manufacturing company, you can concentrate on the aspects of your organization that will best position it for long-term growth - whether that means expanding existing lines, developing custom formulations for preferred customers, or focusing on private labels.
Of course, selecting the right toll blender for your business is critical, with numerous criteria to consider beyond obvious attributes like the number of production facilities and the size and capabilities of each. We encourage our partners to ensure a good fit before signing with a contract manufacturer.
Some of the most important items in an initial consultation:
- Establishing that the toll blender has the available capacity and capabilities. Does the manufacturer have what it takes to keep up with your production? Aside from the right equipment, a toll blender with multiple, strategically located manufacturing facilities can assist here. Look for a partner able to provide key services like liquid and powder blending, packaging, warehousing, and unparalleled logistics services.
- Discussing inventory materials management issues up front. A good contract manufacturer lets you leverage its purchasing power to avoid overhead expenses related to procurement and warehousing raw materials.
- Ensuring that you and your contract manufacturer use the same playbook when it comes to safety and compliance. A true partner should treat your formulas with utmost care. Look for certifications, quality assurances and control processes as good signs.
- Determining that your formulas are safe. Protecting intellectual property isn’t a game. A good toll blender never competes with its customers.
When the relationship is right, you can trust your blender to manage all issues related to manufacturing, production, storage and distribution – improving your bottom line and reducing your liability throughout the entire process, season after season.
Dreaming about major league success? Our team can help you get there. Schedule a free, no-commitment consultation with the Royal Chemical team to determine if contract manufacturing is the right move for you.