This past month has been a whirlwind. I traveled for 29 days to 8 different cities. All of the travel was for projects at work – some of which I have been on since I joined the company and one that was introduced to me in mid-March.
In product development, when we have a manufacturing facility produce a product that we have designed, we call that co-manufacturing or co-packing. The vast majority of my work involves development of products for co-manufacturing.
It takes seeking out a company that can do what we’re planning to create, becoming familiar with the capabilities of that manufacturing site, and developing or customizing formulas for the available equipment and labor skills. Intense collaboration is needed between my R&D team and the manufacturing company’s R&D team and production plant operators. After multiple benchtop tests and confirmation from the manufacturing facility’s team, we agree to test it on the production equipment itself.
This is often the first time we get to see how well the product formula can be scaled up to a very large batch – often hundreds of pounds and dozens of gallons. There are several elements that can change in a scale-up process, and it’s vital that the benchtop formula be as precise as possible.
Most of the time, I have had lots of success with the scale up processes. Often, this is because the manufacturing facility R&D and operations team have vetted the formulas, suggesting alterations and doing their own confirmation tests. It is ideal when they test the formulas separately from our tests and compare their versions to the versions we’ve sent them – the “gold standards.”
Sometimes the process of scale up doesn’t go very well. More on that next time.