Uncovering the Right Manufacturing Partner  with Technology Scouting

Companies across the food industry supply chain work with us to find new technology partners.  Sometimes the partner is a research laboratory or start-up company, and other times it is a co-manufacturer.   

Our clients seek co-manufacturing partners across innovation stages and product lifecycle. Sometimes when developing a product, our clients need a new process or packaging format that’s not available in their plants.

In other cases, our client’s product is mature and viable, but they need additional capacity, often because of seasonal demands.  And there are times our clients must move production to a new part of the country–or the world—due to ingredient availability or market access, or both.  



image of a food manufacturer

Starting With the Need 

Whether our clients manufacture retail products or industrial ingredients, we start by defining the need in the context of the production process.  With the specific process steps in mind, we work with the client to understand:  

  • where the challenge for co-manufacturing is most likely to be, and    
  • where there is:
    • an unusual handling step,
    • a tricky ingredient with short shelf-life, known allergens, tendency to stick to equipment, or likely to atomize,   
    • a process step that limits throughput,   
    • a new stabilization process that few companies have, or 
    • a package format or size that slows the production line.   

Next, we ask, ‘who have you contacted already, and why are they not an option for you?’.  It’s important to understand which partners have been considered, as this helps us know what success is or isn’t.  We also expand our search area to include potential and adjacent products and industries that are wellversed in the processing stepmost challenging for our client’s product.  

Narrowing Co-Manufacturer Options

Once we’ve defined the need, identified any challenges, and determined what success looks like, we consider potential co-manufacturers based on their equipment and capabilities. Doing so often can enable us to uncover partners who work beyond certain product types.  

At project completion, we deliver an extensive list of options our clients can consider immediately, or in the future. Because we have access to an extensive range of resources to identify co-manufacturers, we often can identify potential partners that meet both short-term and longer-term needs.  

During each technology scouting project where we search for co-manufacturersour client learns about potential co-manufacturers well before the final report.  When we have short timelines our client may reach out to a co-manufacturer while we are in the vetting process.  By the time we share the final report, the client has contacted high-potential partners and may have signed agreements to pursue manufacturing.  Sometimes the insight from the scouting effort is that the desired technology is not available at a co-manufacturer for a certain product type, or in a certain geography, or at the needed throughput.   

Using co-manufacturers as part of your innovation strategy will benefit your speed to market and ability to meet consumer demands quickly. 

If you’d like to know more about whether co-manufacturers should be a part of your innovation strategy, let’s discuss the possibilities. 

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