Should you outsource production?

Charles Rolls
MD, Fever-Tree

“We outsource our production because I didn't want to go down the route of having to do it myself. I knew my way around the drinks industry from my previous job, so I knew people who had the experience to do the job really well.

We are looking for someone to handle our production in the US at the moment, though this is proving much harder. The reason we outsource is because production is not my area of expertise. I am not cut out to be an engineer, but I am good at understanding what people want and putting it in a format they will buy. I feel comfortable with doing that and I don't want to be a jack of all trades.

People really need to be sure of what they are doing and have the correct skills if they are going to take on production themselves. The food and drink industry is just too competitive to take on something if you don't have the correct expertise.”

Susie Willis
MD, babyfood maker Plum

“We outsource production because we think it is more cost-effective. There are a plethora of manufacturers out there that can help small companies develop the recipes and work with you so you can still stay close to your product.

You don't necessarily sacrifice the integrity of your brand if you get a manufacturer to make your product, but you have to be very careful about who you choose. You've got to trust them and it can take time to find the right one for you.

It's all very well making a product in your kitchen at home, but to meet the volumes required, get the required shelf life of the product and ensure it's safe, you have to look elsewhere. And this is where the expertise of a manufacturer is invaluable.”