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Supply Chain: Collaboration Vital In Applying Technologies

By: Ted E. Goodwin
Posted: February 4, 2009, from the February 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

It’s no surprise that cosmetics is a multibillion dollar industry. The search for attractive solutions to very specific personal care and beauty concerns is constant. On a daily basis, droves of consumers visit their local drug stores, retailers or salons of choice seeking the right answers to their beauty needs.

But for companies to compete successfully for that ever-discriminating consumer’s dollar, products need to offer a strong value proposition. Whether the product offers 30% more hydrating conditioners or a shade that lasts five hours longer, cosmetic chemists must create and marketers must offer products that pass muster and break through the clutter of competition.

The pressure to deliver these solutions can be intense. Yet, anyone who has worked with cosmetic chemists knows they are a naturally curious group of experts who are constantly asking questions and developing theories. Following these paths ultimately leads to discovering new and better products that will attract consumers and help improve the company’s bottom line.

However, these chemists needn’t do it all alone. Technology collaboration with a trusted partner can be an efficient way to discover smart solutions that add value to the final product. Microencapsulation technology—the process by which solid or liquid core materials are encased in tiny shells or capsules one micron to several hundred microns in diameter—is an apt example. While the technology isn’t new to the cosmetic industry, it plays an important and growing role in product development. Cosmetic chemists have come to know microencapsulation as a way to protect unstable, sensitive materials while improving the ability of those materials to be processed as well as an ideal carrier system for active ingredients.

When presented with questions about microencapsulation in the past, cosmetic chemists would normally consult with private providers of microcapsules to determine their options and outsource small production projects. To meet increasing demand for truly unique solutions, however, the paradigm may be shifting toward fully collaborative partnerships.

Encapsulating Partnership and Innovation