Companies are always looking for ways to reduce costs. For many, that means streamlining resources and outsourcing certain business aspects to those organizations with specialized skills. While this may often be support groups like accounting or human resources, it is not unusual for companies to outsource manufacturing and packaging. In fact, there are real cost savings to be had for outsourcing all or part of your manufacturing processes. Because of this, toll blending and packaging have become popular for liquid product companies as a means to free up resources and reduce their total costs. Before you choose a toll blending and packaging partner, there are five key questions you should ask yourself. First though, we’ll explain toll blending vs. turnkey contract manufacturing.
Toll Blending and Packaging Explained
Toll blending is when an outsourced blending specialist mixes and processes your unique chemical formulations for a fee or “toll.” You provide the raw materials and formula, and the toll blender provides the equipment, warehouse space, and workforce. This allows you to control your own inventory costs. It differs slightly from turnkey contract manufacturing, although the terms are often used interchangeably. A turnkey contract manufacturer will provide the raw materials and logistics in addition to equipment, warehouse space, and workforce.
Toll blending and packaging is ideal for companies that:
• Are looking to streamline operations by outsourcing chemical processing and packaging, allowing them to focus more heavily on R&D
• Are branching out into new product line and aren’t ready to commit to additional or new equipment purchases
• Are experiencing sudden spikes in demand that can’t support the expansion of current lines
• Are frequently pivoting and can’t afford to have resources tied up in equipment that may not be needed in the future
• Have an established packaging and raw material supply chain and receive good prices on those items, particularly if those raws and packaging are unique to their products. Think a customer formed bottle.
The benefits of toll blending — less upfront costs and production flexibility, to name a few — have made it an attractive option for many chemical companies, from large conglomerates to small specialty chemical suppliers.
Questions to Ask a Potential Partner
Having your toll blending and packaging done with the right partner will provide you access to state-of-the-art equipment and the technical expertise it takes to get optimal results. The toll blender will have many questions about your product and goals. This should be a two-way conversation. So before working with a toll blender, there are questions you should ask to ensure you are reducing your risk and receiving the service you expect.
Is My Formula Secure?
You have invested resources into your formulation, so protecting your intellectual property is essential. The company you work with should welcome a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) and protect your formula. A reputable toll blender will protect your investment.
Can You Assist with the Formula, if Needed?
With toll blending, it is often the case that the customer will supply the formula. However, if you are working with an experienced toll blender and packager, they may know of changes that can be made to make manufacturing easier, for example, changing the order of ingredient addition. This may improve efficiency without compromising quality. Additionally, if you need a formula, your toll blender may offer a turnkey contract blending and packaging solution that may better fit your needs.
Do You Have Production Capacity or Room for Expansion?
If your current blender doesn’t have the capacity you need or you are moving your product from in-house to an outside production, you don’t want to come up against the same issue when your volume increases and your product grows. Find out their blending, storage, packaging line capacity, shipping capabilities, and shift capacity. If the company has demonstrated its desire to invest in its processes and has room for expansion, you will be in a good position if you expect continued growth.
Do You Have a Quality System in Place?
Quality should be a given today, but unfortunately, many companies fall short. Look for companies that have a formal quality process in place. This documentation will ensure your formula is blended and packaged exactly as expected. Testing will ensure the product hasn’t fallen out of spec because of viscosity or pH outcomes.
Also, ensure that potential contract packagers have the proper credentials. For example, if your product is a disinfectant, the toll blender must be an EPA-registered facility. Also, ask if they follow good manufacturing practices.
How Will My Product Be Packaged?
Your product should be packaged however you want it to be packaged. A quality toll blender and packager will have pails, drums, totes, and bottle-filling capabilities. However, not all toll blenders have a filling and packaging capabilities for multiple bottle sizes, so be sure to ask. Also, your experienced contract packager should be able to offer you guidance on packaging capabilities and production nuances.
Feel Confident in Your Choice with Crystal Packaging
Crystal Packaging wants you to feel confident about allowing us to do your toll blending and packaging. We look forward to having an open dialogue and answering any questions you may have. Some of the expertise, experience, and resources we bring to the table include the following:
• Experience with oil, glycol, and water-based blends
• Blending tanks ranging in size up to 12,000 gallons for petroleum blending
• Blending tanks from 1,400 to 10,000 gallons for glycol blending
• Poly blending tanks ranging from 200 to 3,000 gallons for non-flammable blending
• Five truck bays, rail access for up to eight rail cars, more than two million gallons of storage tank space
• 70,000-square-foot facility with room for expansion
• In-house testing lab to verify formulas and blending performance
• Formulations available
• Multiple filling lines with in-line fillers, cappers, labelers, and tape case sealers
• Ability to handle a broad range of viscosities
• Containers from 2 oz. to 2 gallons, pails from 2 to 5 gallons, drums, and totes
• UL cGMP certification, ECO-Cert certification for consumer products, EPA registered facility, Safer Choice Label Standard compliance
Let’s get the conversation started! Contact us today.