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Case Study: The Keys to Manufacturing Success

By: Mac Smith
Posted: February 6, 2013, from the March 2013 issue of GCI Magazine.

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However, the transition to this new company was more challenging than the original start-up because we had developed a viable and growing business with major trading partners in the prestige beauty industry. Brazilian Peel had launched in Sephora, and gained attention and earned awards, meaning we weren’t in the same boat as we were before. This new business partnership, again, was developed through the relationship of a branding colleague, so a connection was established. But the transfer to the new operation had to be seamless to prevent a gap in the supply chain to our customers, and there were also additional wrinkles to consider. For example, Brazilian Peel was featured on talk shows The Dr. Oz Show and The Doctors on the same day during this transition phase.

Advanced Home Actives specified and built our own package tooling and filling equipment, so we controlled the key specialized manufacturing steps, provided detailed and disciplined training to the staff of the new company, and furnished comprehensive product and process specifications. We also had to purchase and transfer raw materials and other inventory elements from the previous manufacturer to the new contract operation at 220 Laboratories, ensuring quality and shelf life certifications were intact.

In support of this move, I relocated from our corporate offices in Florida to California to oversee all aspects of the exercise. Through a lot of work, coordination and collaboration between us and members of the old contract manufacturer and the new contract manufacturer, the equipment started up in two weeks. Also, to ensure smooth sailing, we purchased and transferred additional material inventory to 220 Laboratories to cover the six-month period before we commissioned new tooling.

Steps Forward

To date, the move has been successful, but not without issues. Starting up the new client-owned manufacturing equipment had the typical learning curve associated with this type of commercial process. We also, unfortunately, were not able to capture some of the unquantifiable expertise from the previous operation that surfaced as quality and efficiency issues in the start-up at the new facility. Being at the new facility as the brand representative with a significant history of experience of new product and process start-ups was critical to minimizing the impact of these issues. But the relationships between the key personnel at the old and new manufacturers really helped troubleshoot the problems, making the transition as painless as possible.

As our new contract manufacturer, 220 Laboratories also has additional capabilities we are leveraging. A well-established beauty formulator, it has experience in specific ingredients and benchmark products in the prestige beauty market, and we are partnering to develop new products efficiently and quickly. 220 Laboratories also brings new supply partners to the table and has connections with potential new customer accounts and distribution channels. I have come to know, respect and like the operations and overall management team there, and together we have a commitment to continue to deliver high-quality beauty products as we grow the business and the brand.

Overall, Brazilian Peel’s success has been about developing strong relationships built on trust, dedication, determination and best practices in the industry. And these principles, as well as the ability to be flexible and hard-working, has served Brazilian Peel and Advanced Home Actives well, and will continue to in the future.

As a chemical engineer, Mac Smith has spent three decades solving problems put before him across multiple industries for international corporations. From space shuttles to capacitors, batteries to contact lenses, he employed his expertise to arrive at countless solutions. His combination of rigorous conceptual thinking and formal engineering training allows him to think outside the box, question the rules and develop innovative products. In creating a two-step glycolic peel, he examined parallel problems in a conceptual way to extrapolate a solution, and utilizing his understanding of how the body neutralizes stomach acid without causing imbalance, he developed Brazilian Peel, a single-step version of a professional skin care treatment for at-home use. Learn more at advancedhomeactives.com.