Moving on up: how to scale in the manufacturing process

You have a new product and want to start marketing it – great, but the next question is how to start manufacturing it to get it to market. Building up a business can be scary, which is why starting small and scaling up is the safest bet. But where to begin?

The key to scaling is to do it in a way that makes sense for your business. Typically, new product development starts as a tabletop version or lab scale with batch production of 5L to 20L. Batch size is incredibly important when scaling up in production. You want to make enough product to get your feet wet, but not too much that you can’t sell what you have, or get overwhelmed and overspend. The answer to how big of a batch size you want to start with typically depends on marketing plans, annual product forecast and your projected launch quantities. Scaling correctly is even more crucial when producing regulated products, such as pharmaceuticals, and is further complicated by the need to produce products in an equivalent way, meaning quantities and ingredients are properly proportioned.

Once a small batch is produced, the next step is typically a pilot plant with an increase of 10x to 50L – 200L batch capacity. The mid-point in scaling up is incredibly important, because adequate production time is needed to build a reliable, efficient and quality production capacity. Proper financing also needs to be acquired and cash flow managed. With each successful batch, process ranges are also developed, and of course, we develop a scale-up plan that is documented and approved before any work is started.

larger scale brewery

Once demand is confirmed, production is scaled up by another 10x to 500L – 2000L, using either batch or continuous production depending on the characteristics of the product. With beer in particular, when scaling up, understanding that the recipe might also need to change is very important, to ensure that quality is never compromised. As well, one of the best reasons to scale up in beer making is the limited time you can dedicate to brewing. By scaling up, you can produce larger quantities in less time, and streamline the whole process.

 

For those that have a lot of demand, scaling up could mean more than 10x, but this is more risky. You always want to proceed with caution when deciding how big to go. The motto “go big or go home” doesn’t apply here; as it is not only your time and money you are investing, but your brand and name. Putting thought and consideration into your choices will ensure that you don’t take on more than you can handle.

At Cemcorp, the best part of working with small businesses is getting to know them, and seeing them grow and flourish. We are here to help with all stages of development. Our consulting services are extensive, and we can work on a staged development process to manage risk, schedule and costs. The scaling process can always be adjusted depending on your product and timeline.

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