· 4 min read
If you’re a supplement manufacturer, this situation may sound familiar to you. After signing a multi-year contract with a new mega-client to manufacture soft gels and capsules, your quality manager resigns for a higher-paying position in another state. None of the handful of candidates who have applied is qualified.
There is also pressure from the new client, as they are requiring the company to achieve GMP Certification for the facility. You are in a difficult situation, not knowing how to pursue the certification without a fully trained quality manager on board.
To complicate matters even more, later in the week, the Night Shift Operations Manager quits, too. He was the backbone of the night shift, and the remaining Team Lead is a relatively new employee who has been on the job for a mere three months.
These are real-life critical staffing shortages that many manufacturers are facing today as they navigate the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s always been a challenge to find quality management employees who understand the complexities of manufacturing supplements in compliance with 21 CFR 111, as well as how to efficiently produce at a large scale. Today, the situation is even more critical.
Staffing shortages can be seen in many industries, even though overall unemployment rates for non-farm workers dropped back to 3.60% as of Friday, June 3, 2022.1 Since the dietary supplement industry is required to employ specific skill positions with documented training and/or industry experience by 21 CFR 111, it is only natural that the industry would be hit harder.
Concurrently, the industry experienced a massive increase in sales in the overall market in the last three years. According to New Hope Network’s 2021 Supplement Business Report, there was a 14.5% increase in dietary supplement sales, from $48.67 billion in 2019 to $55.75 billion in 2020. Market demand increased an additional 5.4% from 2020 to 2021 and is expected to continue growing.2 The increase in sector sales has been attributed to consumers looking to use supplements as a preventative boost to their immune system and overall health.
So, what strategies can manufacturers utilize to help ensure their ability to meet market demand while hiring and retaining quality employees?
Alleviate staffing shortages and keep up with contracts by tapping into NSF’s expert consultants, who can immediately step in to assist. Our experts can develop new programs and procedures that allow your company to scale with industry growth. NSF’s consultants have a minimum of seven years of work experience in an FDA-regulated environment and a minimum of three years of auditor experience. They also must complete ethics and security training. Our consultants offer subject matter expertise in a variety of areas, such as quality management, shelf stability studies, label compliance, marketing claims, and manufacturing operations.
Despite staffing shortages, manufacturers don’t want to cut production shifts. The rigorous training requirements under 21 CFR 111 mean it can be difficult to put temporary employees on the production line or in skilled positions. Doing so to take advantage of all available staff requires dedicating team resources for in-house training. A “plug and play” training program can help you to utilize temporary employees and train new recruits quickly without putting too much pressure on remaining quality staff. NSF offers robust annual training programs that are virtual and always accessible for employees. NSF’s on-site, virtual, and on-demand prerecorded training sessions can be customized to your organization.
NSF offers a wide variety of training and education programs, including GMP training for 21 CFR 111, supplier qualifications, FSMA, sustainability, SQF, ISO standards, analytical testing, and more. These training programs can quickly educate temporary or permanent employees on the requirements dictated by 21 CFR 111. All NSF courses provide a Certificate of Attendance that serves as documentation of the training for regulatory purposes. NSF trainers have years of industry experience and help to ensure the training materials are easy to understand, making an immediate impact on staff knowledge and productivity. Working with NSF means manufacturers can hire less experienced staff and quickly train them to become star performers.
NSF’s Health Science division also offers gap audits for companies seeking GMP certification to the NSF 455-2 GMP Standard for Dietary Supplements. Audit consultations not only help to identify gaps in regulatory compliance, but also provide guidance on how to close the gaps using best industry practices. Although a gap audit doesn’t guarantee certification, it does position the company well to meet NSF 455-2 and achieve regulatory compliance to 21 CFR 111.
NSF works with manufacturers every day to create a long-term strategic path to success. We’ll give you the necessary tools to meet today’s labor challenges, keep your company operational, make it profitable, and strongly position you for future growth and success.
1 U.S. Bureau of labor Statistics www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm