Restructuring Fragile Cosmetic Manufacturing Supply Chains

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Restructuring Fragile Cosmetic Manufacturing Supply Chains

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the fragility of most, if not all, modern supply chains. The supply chains required to bring a cosmetic product to market are extremely complex, with multiple stakeholders involved in purchasing, manufacturing and distribution. Although this pandemic is an extreme event, it has highlighted the need for brands to review their supply chain risk management and, ultimately, their resilience.

Organisations with single source supply and ‘just in time’ ordering, especially where suppliers are from China and India, felt the effects almost immediately. Likewise, those brands which were almost exclusively sold through bricks and mortar stores were dramatically affected by the sudden closure of those outlets.

For many years, the leadership at Jarvis have ensured multiple suppliers of identical raw materials were laboratory approved and widely distributed. This has helped us to maintain production of many items during this challenging time. For example, we were able meet the sudden upsurge in demand for effective hand sanitisers and washes, to get them to where they were needed, at very short notice.

One thing that became clear as the pandemic took hold was that local suppliers were easier to communicate with, much more flexible and were able to get materials delivered at short notice.

As we review our supply chains, we suggest that the benefits of sourcing suppliers of packaging and hero ingredients within the UK should be considered. Here, we explore just a few general ideas around the ingredients used in cosmetic manufacture.

What Benefits Could Locally Sourced Ingredients Bring to Cosmetic Manufacture and Brands?

Supporting Local Producers and Creating a Story That Resonates With Consumers

By sourcing ingredients from producers within the UK, you are supporting the UK economy. When focusing on small suppliers, you can build very close relationships and understand the story behind the production of the ingredients.

The ‘Made in Britain’ mark is a strong selling point for brands, especially when accompanied by a compelling story – This UK provenance is sought after in many world markets. There is also no doubt that the new generation of consumers have a strong desire to understand exactly where the ingredients within the products they use, come from.

Additionally, we would be contributing to the rebuilding of our local manufacturing capability and benefiting the overall economy by retaining profits within the country.

On the whole, being able to proclaim, ‘Made in Britain, from British ingredients’ is something that may add significant value to your brand.

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint & Encouraging Sustainability

The logistics behind using locally sourced ingredients can deliver some of the most significant benefits. As a UK cosmetic manufacturer using local ingredients, as well as those that are imported, we know just how much easier good local suppliers can be to deal with. Quicker reaction times, contributing to shortened lead times and reduced stock holdings are obvious financial benefits.

By using a locally produced ingredient you are likely to be significantly reducing your carbon footprint. You will also be able to engage with the suppliers about their sustainability and environmental credentials.

We do need to point out though that local supply does not always mean sustainable. It is very important to look at the big picture and take a balanced view when considering the sustainability of an ingredient. Simply reducing the distance an ingredient must travel or having it grown or produced locally is no guarantee that it is sustainable or ‘better’ that something sourced overseas.

For example, something produced in a greenhouse in the UK may in fact have a higher carbon footprint that the same produced in its natural climate zone under the sun, even if air miles are involved in getting it to where it is needed.

Creating True Partnerships

By engaging directly with local producers, you can build important partnerships and enjoy the benefits of being able to identify opportunities for savings, efficiencies, and product improvements. Local suppliers are operating in the same environment and are often a very useful source of market intelligence.

Greater Control

Monitoring ingredient quality becomes so much easier for us as cosmetic manufacturers. Supplier audits are obviously simple to arrange and only involve a car or train journey rather than expensive international travel.

Maintaining Ethical and Environmental Integrity

Many of the countries that can provide cheap materials may not have ethical standards that match yours. This is always a difficult area to oversee from a distance. Having a close relationship with suppliers in the local environment makes it much easier to monitor and maintain the standards that your brand sets.

Great PR Opportunities

Being able to tell the stories behind your ingredients is important and adding the fact that you support local business enhances the message. Generating an emotional connection with your target market will help support your pricing as well as help create brand loyalty.

How Can Jarvis Help?

Our chemists, research and buying teams work closely with growers, producers, and distributors all over the world; we understand supply chains as well as being expert cosmetic manufacturers. We already work hard to ensure multiple sources of supply and actively seek out ingredients with engaging stories allowing provenance claims for the niche brands we serve. Of course, local is not always better but that is where we like to start when investigating new ingredients.

At Jarvis Cosmetic Developments, we always strive to develop more environmentally friendly and sustainable methods and processes in our cosmetic manufacturing. Using the deep knowledge built up by years of experience, we can help clients get the most out of their ingredients and support their environmental, ethical and commercial objectives.

Contact us today if you have any questions, suggestions and especially if you have a new project we can assist you with.


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