Quality from start to finish
Manufacturing dietary supplements and other natural products is an involved and complicated process with many steps to be completed along the way. NOW® goes to great lengths to ensure that quality is prioritized throughout the manufacturing process.
Purchasing is where it all begins
Quality products require quality ingredients. Our manufacturing process actually begins long before any ingredients are in-process for production. NOW purchasing agents have the daunting but rewarding task of finding the best source for hundreds of ingredients on a continual basis.
Due to the highly variable nature of natural ingredients, supply chains are constantly changing for many different reasons, so our purchasing agents are always looking for new sources and comparing raw material quality to ensure we’re always obtaining the best materials currently available.
Receiving of raw materials
Once our purchasing agents have secured the highest quality raw materials and ingredients from our trusted suppliers, these materials are shipped to our manufacturing facilities, where our Receiving department takes over. Receiving performs a number of critical steps that ensure only the best ingredients make it through the door:
- They physically inspect truck trailers, which can help give an early indication that a shipment might not meet our stringent quality standards
- Receiving performs a physical black-light scan of the shipment and the truck trailer, which can help detect adulterants and contaminants that may not be evident to the naked eye.
- Receiving matches records from Purchasing to shipping manifests to ensure that we’re receiving the right raw materials at the appropriate quantities from the correct supplier
- Receiving notifies our Quality Assurance technicians, who will then sample incoming raw materials for the purpose of performing specific scientific analyses to confirm attributes such as identity, purity, and strength.
Manufacturing location and country of origin
With increasingly complex global supply chains, it’s more important than ever to be able to trace an ingredient or processing aid back to its original source.
At NOW we document not only an ingredient’s country of origin, but the location where the ingredient was processed and/or manufactured as well. At NOW we understand the importance of traceability, and we take the necessary steps to document both the manufacturing location and the country of origin for all ingredients used in our products.
Initial analysis and testing
Once the raw ingredients are received, our quality team begins testing to verify their identity and purity in our state-of-the-art, in-house analytical laboratories. In addition, NOW employs quality assurance technicians who utilize mobile testing platforms to perform initial analyses right on the receiving dock. Together with the physical inspections our Receiving team performs, these analyses help us to quickly determine if an ingredient will be received into our facilities, or rejected.
In-depth screening and analyses
Once an ingredient has been received, inspected, and accepted, samples make their way to our in-house laboratories for more thorough testing and analysis.
Very few companies have the facilities, instrumentation, and staff to test their ingredients and finished products in-house. At NOW we perform approximately 16,000 tests on a monthly basis, all of them in our own labs using our own cutting-edge instrumentation and performed by our own trained scientists. The tests they perform include screening to ensure the absence of adulterants and contaminants, and analyses to verify identity and potency.
Maintaining our own in-house laboratories, instrumentation and staff allows us to test and analyze faster, be more responsive and adaptive, and provide fresher products at reduced costs due to faster turnaround of finished products.
The outside contract laboratories used by many other manufacturers are becoming harder and harder to find, and their lead times for analyses are becoming longer, which increases their costs, much of which is passed along to retailers and consumers in the form of higher pricing. NOW’s in-house laboratories position us for continued growth while protecting the quality and value consumers have come to expect from NOW. We control the manufacturing from start to finish, ensuring that every step of the product journey meets our stringent standard
Superior Manufacturing Practices
After all the testing, screening and analyses are complete, our ingredients are finally ready for the actual manufacturing process. Ingredients are verified by production staff in conjunction with quality assurance staff and then matched to the production ticket. Once everything has been checked and double-checked, production staff initiate the production run, which is monitored from start to finish.
With so many different raw ingredients and variables involved in the production of dietary supplements and natural products, establishing and maintaining consistent, reproducible manufacturing processes is a must.
Once the final products have been inspected and approved by quality control, they’re released into inventory and added to the appropriate stocking bay in our state-of-the-art distribution facilities. The inventory level for the product is updated, and the finished products are now available for purchase.
The manufacturing process isn’t complete once the finished products are produced. Once the finished goods have moved out of manufacturing, our production staff thoroughly cleans the room and equipment to prevent any cross-contamination with the next production run. Many of our production rooms are individually contained environments, so the entire room, including ceiling, walls, and floors, can be thoroughly cleansed and sanitized.
Manufacturing equipment is disassembled, cleaned, and then reassembled. Depending on the next production run, adjustments may be needed to accommodate for a different size capsule or tablet, or a raw material with a different density. Everything is logged and documented, so we can go back and review processes and procedures, not only when an issue occurs, but also for the purpose of training and improving both individual and team skills and knowledge.
At NOW we put a lot of time, effort and resources into the manufacturing of our premium natural products, and we take the necessary steps to ensure quality at every step of the production process.