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Case Study: Timing Can Be Everything in Product Development Testing

By: Jay LeCoque
Posted: October 31, 2013, from the November 2013 issue of GCI Magazine.

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For those customers who needed their products faster to take advantage of a market opportunity or a slotting space that opened up, CoValence’s adoption of the Celsis Rapid Detection system was a welcome change.

Nonetheless, the contract manufacturer had a number of obstacles it knew it would face in bringing the system in house. For example, to bring in the Celsis system, CoValence had to build a micro lab from the ground up. Fortunately, the small footprint of the Celsis instrument did not require much space.

Once that was done, two additional staffers were hired for the lab. Neither had any experience with rapid methods, but the system was designed to be easy to learn and operate. A Celsis representative was on site for installation, system qualification (IQ/OQ), and for staff training. The representative also worked with the lab staff to jump-start validation, a process that, for CoValence, took longer than expected due to the extreme number of customized formulations.

While products are often grouped for validation purposes, CoValence’s produce-on-demand manufacturing model meant it did not necessarily have “like” products available for validation testing at the same time.

“We have so much customized work that we constantly had to change formulations and each had to be validated,” says Vlcek. “I didn’t comprehend how much work would go into validation and the cost of running both side by side. Now that’s come way down, and we’re seeing the benefit.”

Results

With its new operations in place, CoValence was able to reduce the quarantine wait time on finished goods from six days to one day without sacrificing quality or safety. This allowed the contract manufacturer to ship faster to its clients, enabling them to hit the market faster. This also enabled CoValence to invoice earlier. And, while before the Celsis implementation CoValence had a lot of product waiting in bays to pass micro testing, now it uses less labor to keep up with lead times while continuing to advance its skin care products.

“Once CoValence started releasing product with Celsis, they realized the immediate benefit of freeing up warehouse space that was previously dedicated to quarantined inventory. Equally important, and as a great selling tool for them, they were delivering faster turnaround to their clients,” says Christine Kreitzer, home and beauty industry director with Celsis International Ltd.

In a competitive marketplace such as global beauty and cosmetics, process manufacturers will have to implement more efficient means to ensure timely and accurate production to meet growing market demands. Rapid product release systems such as Celsis Rapid Detection will continue to gain adherents as they provide greater product velocity through faster time-to-market releases.

Jay LeCoque is CEO of Celsis International Ltd., a position he has held since 2000. LeCoque joined the company in 1995 as director of global business development. Before joining Celsis, LeCoque worked for Baxter International Corporation in global marketing and product management positions. He has also worked for Aptar Group in various sales and marketing positions in the U.S., England and France.