Reveal Hidden Revenue in Your Supply Chain


Reveal Hidden Revenue in Your Supply Chain

September 2010


Global cosmetics manufacturers can speed product-to-market time, ensure product quality standards and increase customer responsiveness using RMM.

In today’s competitive marketplace, best-in-class global cosmetics manufacturers rely on lean manufacturing practices to achieve operational excellence. But there remains a frequently overlooked opportunity.

By embracing next generation rapid microbiological testing methods (RMM), these manufacturing companies can uncover harder cost savings throughout the supply chain that lead directly to measurable financial performance. At the same time, manufacturers of beauty and personal care products can satisfy their global regulatory requirements to meet or exceed standards for product quality.

So how can this opportunity be realised and achieved? Before implementing RMM, global cosmetic manufacturing companies need to understand the common challenges that can hinder production performance and increase costs.

For example, manufacturers of cosmetic products are conflicted by the need to be more responsive to their customers while improving overall profitability. Most recognise that in order to increase customer satisfaction, they must reduce manufacturing lead times, shorten cycle times, decrease defects and accelerate order fulfillment. At the same time these manufacturing companies are faced with internal priorities. They are under pressure to reduce costs associated with excess inventory levels and safety stock, to keep working capital requirements to a bare minimum - in essence, ‘use less to create more’. This means cutting excess waste anywhere it can be found.

The Micro Hold Area
Within lean manufacturing one of the biggest culprits of waste is delay based on inefficient processes or movement of goods. C&T manufacturers have invested millions on supply chain software and other costly initiatives. But they can literally cut days out of their cycle times by moving to rapid methods because RMM enables manufacturers to quickly screen for microbiological contamination in raw materials, in-process and finished goods.

Reducing waste and streamlining efficiencies requires a closer look at the supply chain, and in particular one of the key areas – the micro department. The micro hold area is really the last great frontier for process time reduction. Cosmetic product manufacturers often put their inventory in quarantine for three, five, even seven days. Many typically run micro tests using less expensive, slower agar plates to save costs but the delays caused by lengthy micro hold times can cost a fortune in supply chain efficiency. Holding inventory for several days stymies customer responsiveness, creates waste on the production floor and ties up valuable resources that could otherwise be contributing to profitability. When inventory isn’t getting off the floor and out of the door fast enough, revenue is lost.

Consider how much manufacturers spend to relocate processes on the manufacturing floor to save just 15 minutes in the production cycle. What would it be worth to save three days? That’s where the benefit of RMM becomes clear.

RMM systems from companies such as Celsis Rapid Detection contain newer enzyme technology that compresses testing times to 18-24 hours compared with three to seven days with traditional methods. It’s even faster than other rapid methods. By greatly reducing the time required to test and release goods, global manufacturing companies can drive new efficiencies throughout the supply chain and realise significant cost savings. Such technology also supports efforts to achieve certification with ISO 9001 standards, CGMP compliance and other manufacturing best practices.

Advances in RMM
Compared to traditional detection systems using agar plates, new RMM technology can greatly enhance the reduction of manufacturing cycle times and throughput. With agar plates, manufacturers wait for results from incubations of three to seven days in the micro hold area. An ATP bioluminescence assay can cut this waiting time by half or more. The amplified ATP assay, Celsis AMPiScreen, saves another 25-50%, further shortening cycle times.

Both standard and amplified ATP methods of rapid detection have been validated on a wide range of raw materials, in-process and finished goods for the C&T industry. Common examples include foundation make-up, moisturisers, lip balms and glosses, lotions and creams, facial scrubs, hair care and styling products, cleansing wipes and even the blackest of mascaras and eyeliners.

Virtually anything that can be tested the traditional way can be tested with rapid methods – it’s just that some systems are more flexible than others. When evaluating rapid systems, look for one that can test the widest range of your materials, including filterable and non-filterable samples. Ask if the system has been used to test similar products. Since most systems can readily detect the presence of a known contaminant, be sure you assess its value in absence screening, especially for slow-growing moulds; very few can ensure the absence of mould in 24 hours. Ideally, select a method where the test is non-destructive. This ensures you can re-test any sample that comes up positive. For high volume facilities, consider the system’s throughput. If samples must incubate in the testing unit for many hours then the unit will be unavailable for testing a good portion of the time, and you may need to purchase additional units. Examine carefully the protocol itself. How simple and familiar will it be to your testing staff? Is it easy enough to be used by nonscientists? How much space does the system consume? If necessary, is the instrument robust enough to be run on the factory floor? And does the company provide ongoing technical, scientific and regulatory support worldwide?

ATP Technology - Bioluminescence is best known from the glow of a firefly tail. It occurs when luciferase and luciferin come into contact with the molecule ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is present in all living organisms. Rapid microbial screening systems use ATP bioluminescence and sensitive light instruments called luminometers to reveal the presence of microbes (which contain ATP) in product samples. The result is an emission of light that is directly proportionate to the amount of ATP present in the sample. RMM results using ATP are typically available within 24- 48 hours compared with three to seven days using agar plates.

Amplified ATP Technology - The latest development in the field of bioluminescence is the use of proprietary enzymes and protocols to speed time to results. This exclusive amplified ATP technology (Celsis AMPiScreen) makes it possible to get test results in 18-24 hours, which is 25%-50% faster than current ATP-based screening methods that can take up to 48 hours. By compressing the time required for micro testing at various stages of production, manufacturers can significantly streamline cycle times. The cumulative effect of these cycle time savings is substantial.

Containing Contamination
Put simply, the results of microbial testing with new RMM technology are now available to cosmetics manufacturers in just hours, not days. This represents a new best practice for today’s global manufacturing companies whose livelihood depends on cycle time speed and supply chain efficiency.

For example, earlier identification of contamination helps manufacturers to release quarantined stock or batch releases much sooner. RMM also enables companies to bring new cosmetic and beauty products to market faster, which presents a critical competitive benefit. And of course the sooner a contamination event is identified, the sooner it can be contained. Manufacturers using RMM can initiate faster corrective action, reduce production recovery time and provide for more rapid release of replacement product. In the end, quicker response time minimises the overall economic impact of discarded or reprocessed goods, saving companies not only money but also reputation.

Measurable Benefits
Today’s advanced rapid detection methods provide C&T manufacturers with quantifiable value. Decreases in total microbiological testing time drives reduced working capital requirements, a streamlined supply chain, improved manufacturing efficiencies and faster recovery from contamination events. Such improvements translate to cost savings that are measurable.

To quantify the value of implementing rapid methods, a global consumer products company, in conjunction with Arthur D Little management consultants and Celsis, developed a financial model that estimates the payback period and five year net present value using the company’s specific manufacturing and testing data. While results will vary based on company specifics, such as cost of capital and average daily output of finished goods, the typical single plant operation will achieve payback in six to nine months and realise a net present value of €500,000-€750,000. Faced with ever increasing pressures to drive costs out of product fulfillment while meeting customer demands, best-in-class cosmetics manufacturers can deploy next generation RMM solutions that speed product to market time while ensuring product quality and safety standards are met. Companies that incorporate value-added RMM technology into their micro departments will benefit from manufacturing and supply chain efficiencies. These translate to direct and measurable cost savings as well as a competitive advantage in today’s global marketplace.

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