Pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus said “The only thing that is constant is change.” Applicable to nearly all walks of life, the consumer packaged goods market has come to embody this quote as the market welcomes a number of new products, brands and even categories. For example, the beverage market has seen the emergence of energy shots, liquid concentrates, single-cup coffee, coconut water and much more. However, it takes a lot of foresight and flexibility for contract manufacturers to be able to accommodate this evolving market, and that is just what Andover, N.J.-based NVE Pharmaceuticals is working to do.
“We take the position of flexibly, enabling us to grow and change with emerging trends and customers’ needs,” says Bob Occhifinto, president of NVE. “To be successful, you have to be flexible by adding or modifying equipment to grow with the market demand.”
NVE’s current facility encompasses just more than 250,000 square feet, with more than 40,000 square feet dedicated to its 8.4-ounce carbonated and cold-fill beverage line, which is capable of filling more than 800 cans a minute, Occhifinto explains. The plant also features four high-speed energy-shot-filling lines that are capable of producing more than 30 million bottles a month, he adds.
The company added its liquid manufacturing capabilities in 2004 and has been expanding those services during the past decade or so to accommodate the trends and growth across the market, Occhifinto says.
Currently, NVE is able to produce liquid functional shots in sizes ranging from 1.7- to 10-ounce bottles as well as capsules, tablets and powders in a range of bottle sizes, boxes and custom pouches. It also offers filling and packaging lines for carbonated 8.4-ounce cans. Its latest addition is state-of-the-art equipment for filling and sealing single-serve coffee and tea pods.
At the moment, NVE has 18-20 production lines, which aids in its ability to serve its customers as well as produce its own branded products. “Our lines stay very busy with private-label shots as well as our own energy-shot products,” Occhifinto says. “Having multiple lines for production cuts down on the changeover time and makes the process extremely efficient.”
To accommodate these production schedules, NVE’s facility typically operates on a one-shift format five days a week; however, it often will increase this schedule to three shifts seven days a week when it is necessary, Occhifinto adds.
In addition to its manufacturing capabilities, NVE features six blow-molding machines for PET bottles that are capable of producing 7.5 million bottles a week, Occhifinto says. This ensures that bottle supply will never be a problem for any of its private-label customers, he notes.
To keep its manufacturing and packaging operations running smoothly, Occhifinto explains that the company sees the value in investing in the equipment to achieve those goals. “We purposefully purchase, tool and retool equipment to keep everything running consistently, efficiently and smoothly,” he says. “Updating our state-of-the-art lines and equipment is one of our largest expenditures; however, it’s how we stay on the cutting edge of manufacturing technology.”
The company also ensures it has a staff that is able to support its manufacturing and packaging operations, keeping downtime to a minimum. “We employ a staff of five qualified research and development personnel as well as a team of six chemists and scientists in our three in-house laboratories supervised by a Ph. D. chemist,” Occhifinto says. “Our [good manufacturing practices] manufacturing facility also employs a staff of seven quality control personnel, supervised by an interim quality director. Our in-house engineering and machine shops are fully capable of design, tooling and retooling equipment to eliminate the potential for problems or down time.”
Although NVE has made the modifications and expansions to support the beverage market and its evolving product base, the company still sees untapped opportunities to serve the needs of its customers. “We are currently building another 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility to be devoted to the manufacturing of diet, energy and sports nutrition products,” Occhifinto says.
The new plant also will contain some features that the more than 250,000-square-foot facility does not have. The company’s current facility utilizes a traditional racking system, but Occhifinto notes that the new 100,000-sqaure-foot facility will have a more advanced storage system in place.
With NVE embracing the changing marketplace, one can see that the company has a commitment to its customers’ needs as well as the consumers that are driving those needs. “We have been a private-label manufacturing facility for over 35 years,” Occhifinto says. “We have successfully created, branded and globally marketed our own branded products, allowing us to understand the needs and requirements of other brand owners going to market.”