Top Tips for
Kim Overstreet is the Director of the PMMI Media Group Emerging Brands Alliance and is currently curating educational content for the Emerging Brands Summit at PACK EXPO on Oct. 23rdin Chicago. PMMI is a sponsor of Startup CPG.
One special element of the Emerging Brands Summit, a one-day event designed for growing brands seeking to scale their manufacturing operations, is the opportunity to meet one-on-one with expert advisors with decades of CPG experience from companies like P&G, Kraft Heinz, Del Monte, Nestle, and more, who will be available to answer attendee questions and discuss their operations. (Startup CPG Members receive $50 off registration with comp code STARTUPCPG)
I asked our advisors to tell me about a tip or a common concern they hear from brands who are scaling up, and this is what they had to say:
Diane has had a long career in CPG, the bulk of it at Kraft Foods, where she held several Director and VP roles, overseeing at various times engineering, operations, global supply chain, and global safety and sustainability.
Diane’s pro tip is to WRITE IT DOWN and Develop SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures) to ensure consistency.
“When working with startup companies, I’ve learned that when the owners and principles are hands on, they can oversee the SOPs and ensure a consistent high-quality product. As more employees are hired and manufacturing may move to multiple shifts and/or multiple locations, SOPs become critical.
Included in SOP’s should be step by step instructions for:
- Sanitation/Quality Requirements
- Recipes, Raw & Pack Materials
- Set-up/ Start-up
- Process Steps
- Packaging Steps
Allowing current employees to train new employees without written SOP’s is a recipe for product failures, errors, and frustration. Take the time to write it down!”
Jamie Valenti-Jordan is the CEO of Catapult Commercialization Services, a group of 75 experienced food industry professionals that focus on helping small and emerging brands get started and scale.
Jamie’s advice is to plan ahead: First productions never go according to plan, but a good plan can keep them from failing entirely.
“Even the best scale up attempts have something go wrong 95% of the time, so have your technical and operational response teams on hand to minimize wasted time.”
Scott has worked at both Nestle and Del Monte, where he had a 20-year career, most recently VP R&D, Quality & Operations Services. He is currently the President of LeanFoodBiz, LLC.
Scott suggests brands check regulatory requirements for product/process.
“Many people who plan to introduce a new food or supplement do not fully appreciate all of the regulatory requirements that their product must meet. Requirements can vary by food type, (human or pet), protein content (FDA/USDA), distribution mode and production location (USA, Foreign, even State). Emerging Brands should seek expert advice on the regulatory environment for the products, processes, and packaging types that they plan to use to avoid costly issues when the product enters the marketplace.”
Mark has over 40 years of experience as a proven leader in fast-paced manufacturing, engineering, and quality assurance environments. He is currently President of Mark Green & Associates (MGA).
Mark said a common concern he hears about is about automating on a budget.
“Since many of the clients are on a limited budget, they commonly ask “what aspect(s) of my process would I gain the highest return on investment by automating or scaling-up?”
Mark is now helping food and beverage companies with equipment and automation recommendations, project planning, and commissioning, among other things, after leading global engineering at Abbott Labs.
The Marketplace suppliers at the Emerging Brands Summit are eager to work with emerging brands, and attendees to the Summit have full access to PACK EXPO where they can speak with equipment and automation experts at the show after getting input from our expert advisor team.
Tony is the Retired Director of Supply Chain Engineering, PepsiCo Beverages North America, and brings a 40 year-career working with Frito-Lay, Ocean Spray Cranberries, Diageo, Dannon, and PepsiCo.
Tony’s advice: Complete the research needed to provide realistic volume for the new product launch and growth projections.
“Too often I was approached by Marketing/Sales/R&D looking to use existing process/packaging manufacturing capacity to launch a new product. But the capacity of the existing process/packaging systems was too large to economically handle the limited new product volume. The cost to modify the existing process/packaging systems was too expensive to justify the new product launch mainly because the volume projections were low requiring limited run hours and high change over costs. The alternative was to look into co-manufacturing opportunities or designing a small-scale process/packaging line specifically to handle the new product’s realistic volume, providing sufficient time to determine if the new product would take-off in the market and then scale up.”
Eric Greenberg is an attorney with a practice in food and drug law, packaging law and commercial litigation, and is adjunct faculty at Chicago-Kent College of Law and Cal Poly and is also a legal columnist for Packaging World.
Eric’s tip? Seek legal advice early on.
“Scaling up a new brand or product is of course a multifaceted effort,” said Eric. “Legal considerations of various kinds are an essential part of that effort, and if there is one bit of advice to offer anyone undertaking such an adventure, it is to get legal advice early in the process. Few things are worse that investing time and money in a new venture, only to learn late in the game that there are legal hurdles – regulatory compliance, trademark/copyright/patent issues, contractual restrictions – that force a significant delay or change in or even abandonment of your plans. So, involve the lawyers early.”
Who Are We?
The Emerging Brands Alliance will provide year-round education, community support, and growth opportunities to new brands looking to scale their manufacturing operations.
Drawing on the vast editorial knowledge of PMMI Media Group, and expert advisors, as well as other partner organizations, the Emerging Brands Alliance will be a source for helpful information to those seeking to boost brand operations.
We’re giving away three $20,000 grants.
Everyone has a growth project that $20K could help with, don’t they? We want to hear about yours! Applications are open through September 15, and grants will be awarded at the Emerging Brands Summit in October. More info here.