There are plenty of reasons why companies are outsourcing their soft drinks manufacturer. For example, they do not have enough resources to launch new filling lines. Some of the factories decide to focus only on one type of product while they outsource the production of secondary products elsewhere. Entrepreneurs do not have enough resources to build a filling line, so they outsource the production while focusing only on marketing and sales. Different companies – different reasons. Each of these companies face the same problem: How effectively outsource soft drinks manufacturing?
Our work experience shows that each beverage manufacturer has different working rules. We have worked with ~300 drink manufacturers across Europe and Asia. So, we compiled a list of main questions.
1. What kind of beverages they can bottle? Energy drinks, functional drinks, juices, water, alco drinks? Usually manufacturers focus on few types of beverages. Before choosing a manufacturer you have to know your requirements.
2. What type of packaging they can use? PET, aluminum cans, tetra-pack?
3. What is the packaging volume? 0,25l, 0,5l, 1l, 1,5l? What is their policy to unique mold development?
4. Do they have aseptic filling (It is a process by which a sterile product is packaged in a sterile container in a way that maintains sterility)?
1.What is the minimum order quantity? It should be also specified. In case you want to bottle a drink with your unique formula MOQ will be bigger, however, usually factories can offer their standard formula which they are using for other products or private label.
2. What are their payment terms? It is important in case you want to get a payment delay. However, usually for new clients factories do not give any payment delays and it is totally understandable.
3. If you are buying a larger quantity, is manufacturer willing to sign an agreement? It is crucial not to forget the paper work. You have to determine whether manufacturer is a long term thinker or short term trader.
4. How do they plan their bottling? What is their policy and how do they work? For example, you are bottling 0,5l aluminum cans, however, manufacturer is bottling this packaging type only once per 2 months. In case you have an unplanned order and you do not have a product on stock you have to make a quick order at the factory. However, they will be bottling only after one month. And here you have a very big problem..
5. What is their attitude towards entrepreneurs or low quantities? Some factories are focusing only on large scale orders while some of them are also working with smaller ones. In case you are willing to buy a small order you have to find out whether factory is interested in it.
1. Customers service quality. Are they replying emails daily or weekly? How do they react to problems? Are they fast or slow? Usually this turns out only when we start working with the factory. However, we usually transfer bottling elsewhere, if we see low quality customer services. Sometimes it is worthwhile paying more.
2. Client list. Check out what kind of products they are already producing. Try to contact those companies and ask whether they are happy about their services. You can get a lot of useful information!
3. Do manufacturer attend international exhibitions? It is worthwile to ask just because it will be comfortable for you to visit exhibition and talk with them. Additionaly, it shows that they are investing in their brand and communication with their clients.
4. Where are they based? You are planning to sell you drink in UK, but the manufacturer is based in Bulgaria? Is it worth it to bottle it over there? Logistic cost will be >20% of your total product cost. Sometimes it is worth it, sometimes it is not. You have to evaluate this.
5. Last but not least: What is their pricing? There are different types of projects. Some of them focus only on price. We do not focus on it. Our two main concerns are the quality of customers service and the capabilities of manufacturer.
We have listed only few of the questions we have to answer before choosing the best factory for our clients. Each project is unique so each time it is different. Before choosing a factory you have to make an analysis. Do not be afraid and ask dumb questions. It is for your own good! In case you will choose a bad partner for your product bottling you have a big chance of failing. Do not do this mistake.