Custom Processing Services Blog

Get Answers Now! Let’s Address Your Top 5 Toll Processing Concerns

Justin Klinger, Jul 15, 2021 10:00:00 AM


A lot of attention goes to the top reasons manufacturers choose to contract with a toll processor and the advantages of toll manufacturing to a supply chain.

After all, many companies achieve high-impact efficiency improvements and cost savings when they outsource critical processes to a trusted third party. 

Not only that, but a relationship with a toll processor means on-demand access to state-of-the-art equipment and the technical expertise it takes to get optimal outcomes — without the need to worry about capital investment, personnel, expanding production floor footprints, permitting, or other roadblocks that can get in the way of timely processing and manufacturing to meet your market demand.

But what about all the nagging questions, concerns, or doubts that can stand in the way of working closely with a new toll processor?

In this article, we’ll answer some of the most common questions that can stand between you and the efficiency, cost savings, and innovative problem solving of a true expert in toll processing.

1. “Help me understand how your capabilities match our needs.”

You may not see a specific equipment type listed by brand name. It’s possible, even likely, that your toll processor has comparable equipment from another manufacturer. But it’s even more important to understand that a specialized tolling partner staffs experts in material science who may be able to meet your particle size or material specifications on other equipment.

And even if they don’t have the equipment or capabilities today, don’t write them off without a conversation. Depending on the scale and timeline of your project, some toll processors are ready to discuss acquiring the equipment you need — saving you the capital investment.

Worried that your job is too small for a toll processor that’s accustomed to larger quantities? Don’t assume it is. Just ask. Pilot and trial lines can make it possible to offer toll milling services, drying, blending, or other services to customers with smaller quantities, too.

2. “We don’t trust just anyone to handle and process our material.”

And you shouldn’t trust just anyone. Look for — and ask for — evidence. A toll processor you can trust should be able to give you in-depth assurances, including:

  • Permits, accreditations, and certifications needed for your products and/or industry
  • Equipment and demonstrated expertise handling similar products
  • Experience protecting sensitive materials and information
  • Quality management systems in place
  • Close relationships with equipment OEMs
  • Decades of financial stability
  • And more

A tolling partner that works closely with equipment OEMs may have amassed superior technical skill to deliver beyond manufacturer specifications for some processes. So if your particle size or morphology goals are specific and tough to achieve, it’s essential that you have a conversation with your toll processor’s technical teams. You may have access to more expertise than you realize.

3. “My company’s validation process for new vendor partners is … a lot. Is it worth the time and effort?”

An experienced tolling partner knows all about what it takes to be a great partner. That starts with a responsive attitude about onboarding paperwork, process visibility, accreditations, and more. As the relationship between customer and toll processor deepens over time, and your tolling team’s technical experts find ways to optimize processes, improve efficiencies, and control costs, you’ll see the due diligence and attention to detail pay off.

The more trust you place in your toll manufacturer, the greater your potential for return on that initial investment of vetting them.

4. “What’s your lead time?”

Hundreds of variables can impact lead times for many toll processing services, from market and industry trends to climate, and from global events to seasonality. Demand for a specific milling, drying, or extraction process, or for achieving a specific particle size of a singular ingredient, can spike without warning.

Does the project require a unique environment and certifications such as GMP for food or pharmaceuticals? Is your project a rush job? Is the deadline event-driven?

When lead times are a concern, the best first step you can take is to consult with your technical sales representative at your toll processor. Especially in cases of multi-process projects, toll processors are masters at discovering optimization opportunities. And depending on your specific need and the details of your project, you may be surprised at the mountains your technical team can move to help you meet your goals.

5. “Your quoted price is not what I expected.”

If your quoted price is higher than you expected, be sure to ask your technical sales rep why.

In many cases, a project’s first run with a toll processor brings a lot of uncertainty; it’s likely your estimate accounts for that. Uncertainty is replaced with data as your project is repeated on your tolling partner’s equipment, and process efficiencies are discovered and implemented. As time, labor, energy, and other resources are saved, your toll processor shares the savings with you, and costs have the potential to fall.

So, how can you help keep costs down from the start? Do all you can to reduce uncertainty. Share as much experiential process data and material knowledge as you can. The more you can bolster the technical team’s knowledge base, the more accurate they can make estimates, and the smoother and more efficient your project will be.

Invest in a Relationship, Reap the Benefits

When you build a close working relationship with a toll manufacturer, both parties will gain a deeper understanding of the most important factors that impact project work. From demanding timelines to tough material challenges, your technical team will come to anticipate your needs and provide better solutions and more responsive service.

You should be able to trust your toll processor to help you meet capacity demands and bridge gaps in capabilities with the same or better controls over quality and regulatory compliance as your in-house teams. Explore the key factors to consider when evaluating whether to take a process to a tolling partner with our guide, Comparing the Benefits of Toll Processing and In-House Manufacturing. Click the link below to get your copy.New call-to-action

Posted in:Toll Processing