Question :
Hi Team. I’ve created a range of nutritionally boosted pet treats  Our signature product is a range of nutritionally boosted “bliss balls” (a first in the market ) for pets (chicken and pilchard, meat lovers , lamb and blueberry and a pet friendly Peanut butter “Pawnut butter” (Not for human consumption) Both packed with grass fed organs, flax , hemp , bone broth and more. Our products are all “Born and bred in NZ , trademarked Registered and recipe tested  Our products are all dehydrated, not freeze dried or oven baked. Dehydration means all the goodness of the ingredients are retained in the finished product .  Our biggest hurdle is finding a commercially viable dehydration facility to get us into the mass production phase. Before we go out to market (We already have sales via 2 pet stores) to start selling online and in stores , China Singapore ….we need to ensure we can meet demand once we go live. My first question is :We are wanting advice on whether we invest in the technology in house production or we find a partner in the industry …… Any advice is priceless. Thx so much. Aprilanne …..Malos mum 

Question submitted 17/05/20 @ 04:08pm
Industry: Start-ups
  • Kia Ora – inspiring to hear this, thank you for sharing. There is always a fine line at the beginning of starting something around production and tooling up. It is always good to do this off the back of strong demand, even with pre-orders so that you can invest the money for tooling up with that confidence and even cash in some cases. Without that confirmation, it can be daunting to spend the money when you don’t really know for certain if the orders will come in. So, I would just be cautious and really methodical before going out with bit commitments for manufacturing machinery. I am sure you have thought about whether you can lease facilities? So my big question, can you just do the product under contract manufacture for now until you know for sure there is demand?

    Wow! This sounds like exactly the sort of niche product that could really take off, with the right channels to market, and strong marketing support. Well done!
    I’d encourage your to consider whether you have the expertise / desire to learn how to run a manufacturing operation. I’m really leaning towards contract manufacturing for your product, especially as it sounds like your ingredients are all food-quality anyway, so that should make your options quite wide.
    I’d talk to other niche food producers (of human type foods, probably) who are using dehydration facilities. Also have you spoken to the team at the Food Bowl, which I understand has all the facilities to enable you to produce small batches as well?
    Good luck! Remember pet owners be CRAZY about treats for their beloved furbabies!

    Kia Ora,
    This sounds like a great product for all those folks that love their furbabies!
    I echo Andy Hamilton’s comments re: tooling up based on clear (and hopefully paid up) demand for the product.
    Some questions that came to mind;
    – Do you need to have mass production capability from day one when you ‘go live’? Or can you scale this as demand scales? If a key channel is online sales, and demand starts to sky rocket you can potentially push out delivery dates or make some products unavailable stating this is due to high demand – if the product is really good, I would say people will come back to you. If you can scale more slowly then that may increase your options for contract manufacturing.
    – Do you have mechanical capability within your team? Commercial machines for anything are usually big, requiring some mechanical aptitude to setup and get running and then keep them running. If you have that, this might allow you to lease or hire equipment (a quick internet search suggests equipment is available) as your orders grow until you get to the point where you can choose to invest heavily or know you are big enough for someone else to commit to manufacturing for you.
    If you don’t have that mechanical capability in the team, outsourcing the manufacture seems like the safest path – with a big focus then on building the relationship with the contract manufacturer.

    Wishing you all the best!

    Hi Andrew Debra and Sherif

    These comments and suggestions are exactly what I need thank you.
    My next steps
    ** I need to refine my business plan further.
    ** Increase my circle of influence further : Andrew : Take my product out to market (mail out samples and marketing ) Follow up with Zoom presentation
    ** Get the sales in push out timeline to launch (3 months )
    ** research Food bowl. Thank you Debra
    I agree. Human grade production will suit our product best and we can leverage off the “human grade” as a win
    **find a dehydration manufacturer is the key.
    ** Sherif we don’t any any manufacturing capability other than hands and dehydrators. We make everything in small batches so the small batch runs with a manufacturer sounds very appealing. I can build relationships in this way and also hire some equipment ( as an alternative) in one of the vacant local kitchens
    I forgot to mention that I’ve developed the recipes into 2 parts. Wet and dry. So if I was to outsource i can still keep my recipes secret by supplying the dry as a packaged product to be added to the wet ( similar to franchising system ).
    **Develop online systems for sales.
    *** I’ve just got to go for it

    Thank you all so much
    If I’ve missed anything please let me know

    Well done Aprilanne, Andy

    Hi Aprilanne – I know the founder and CEO of a NZ-based pet food manufacturing company that exports high quality pet food products around the world. He is happy to speak with you if that would be of help. Feel free to email me at Anthony.Mosse@gmail.com and I will connect you. Best, Anthony

    Hi Anthony
    I’m blown away by the generosity of this group.
    Thankyou So much
    I’ve emailed you :))

    Hey @aprilanne – you reached out and asked for help, and shared, that is Manaaki to us and we can but only be there to help, guide and support – awesome, Andy

    And can I just say that it is so rewarding to see the amazing advice, and then see someone picking it up and running with it. Well done @aprilanne

    Hi everyone

    I thought I’d let you know my next steps.

    It’s been so wonderful to have this forum
    Ive also had a wonderful exchange with Jerel from Addiction Dog Foods ( Thank you Anthony for the intro)
    I’m hearing the same types of feedback and suggestions from all of you
    It’s absolutely true “ great minds think alike”

    Today I’ve enquired about leasing a kitchen locally. Keeping my production close means I can actively control quality in this early stage.
    I’m going to actively market to 100 pet stores/ in the next 60 days.
    Visit call etc to build relationships.
    Aim for at least 10 units Per business In that time ( Concentrating on our core products)
    If I can I Will hire 1 part time/ casual to assist with food prep so that I can concentrate on marketing.
    Stay tuned xx
    Thank you so much
    I’m excited

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