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Building a Profitable Detergent Manufacturing Business: A Comprehensive How-To Guide

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Detergent Manufacturing Business

Detergent manufacturing is a growing industry, with the global market expected to reach $98,139.7 million by 2030. This presents a great opportunity for entrepreneurs who are interested in starting their own detergent manufacturing business. 

In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to start your own detergent manufacturing business and make it run successfully. We will cover everything from researching and planning to manufacturing, quality control, marketing, and sales. Whether you are a first-time entrepreneur or an experienced business owner looking to expand into the detergent manufacturing industry, this guide will provide you with valuable insights and actionable steps to help you succeed. 

In 2018, I led to set up a detergent manufacturing factory in Ethiopia called DAFA SOAP AND DETERGENT MANUFACTURING PLC. I did all the work from A to Z to set up this business, including the business plan and registration, product line planning, trademark (AZZY & SUPPOW) registration, factory site selection, manufacturing facility set up, team recruitment, trial production and mass production, etc. DAFA produces both powder and liquid detergents, and its brand AZZY is among the top 3 well-known brands in the home care sector in Ethiopia. It’s no doubt a successful business.

DAFA team gathering in powder detergen workshop
DAFA team for a celebration of Ethiopia New Year

I am writing this article based on my practical experience. So, let’s get started!

Research and Planning

Before starting your detergent manufacturing business, it’s important to conduct thorough research and planning to ensure that you have a solid foundation for success. Here are some key steps to take at the very beginning stage:

  • Conduct Market Research: The first step is to conduct market research to identify potential customers, competitors, and market trends. This includes understanding the demand for different types of detergents, as well as the pricing and positioning strategies of your competitors. After solid market research, you will have a clear plan for what detergent products to produce and the scale of your manufacturing line(s).

A Little Whispers

I remember I spent 2 weeks conducting the market survey with my team. We visited the country’s biggest bazaar called Mercato in Addis Ababa, and we traveled to Dire Dawa too. We talked to shop owners, and consumers, asking for prices, sales velocity, and user experience of different detergents available on the market. This helped us to identify gaps in the market.
After internal analysis and discussions, we decided to go with a 2-brand strategy, that is to have one brand, SUPPOW, for high-end consumption, competing with Ariel from P&G and OMO from Unilever, and the other, AZZY, for the mid-range mainstream consumption, competing with Sunlight, ROL, 555, and Crown.
And we decided to start with a Washing Powder Post-Tower Processing Plant with a capacity of 5 TPH, followed by a Liquid Detergent Production Line with a capacity of 3 TPH.

  • Write a Business Plan/ Feasibility Study Report: Once you have completed your market research, you should write a business plan, or a Feasibility Study Report that outlines your goals, strategies, and financial projections. This will help you to stay focused and on track as you start and run your business, and will be necessary if you plan to get funding from investors or lenders. A detailed and practical feasibility study can make your investors more confident and willing to contribute.
  • Get Funding: Depending on the scale of your business, you may need to secure funding from investors or lenders to cover the costs of equipment, materials, and other operating expenses. You can start by researching different funding options and putting together a detailed financial plan outlining how you will use the funds and how to generate revenue. 
  • Legal Requirements and Regulations: It’s crucial to understand the legal requirements and regulations for starting a detergent manufacturing business in your region. This includes obtaining the necessary licenses and permits, registering your business and trademarks, and complying with environmental and safety regulations. You may need to research and understand the specific requirements in your region, which may vary depending on factors such as the size of your business and the types of detergents you manufacture. It’s advisable to consult with legal and regulatory experts to ensure that you are fully compliant with all applicable laws and regulations.
SUPPOW AZZY on shelf
SUPPOW & AZZY washing powder on shelf

By completing these steps, you will have a strong foundation for starting your detergent manufacturing business and be well-positioned to succeed in the competitive industry.

Factory Location and Building Selection

The location and building of your factory are essential factors that can impact the success of your detergent manufacturing business. Here are some key considerations to take:

  • Location: Your factory should be located in a convenient and accessible area with good transport infrastructures. This will allow for easy and efficient transportation of raw materials and finished products and can help to reduce transportation costs. In addition, you should consider factors such as the availability of labor, utilities, and other resources in the area.
  • Building Size and Layout: The size and layout of your factory building will depend on the scale of your manufacturing operations and the type of equipment you plan to use. It’s important to work with professional equipment suppliers closely to ensure that your production line equipment can be properly accommodated within the workshop and to plan for efficient workflow and movement of materials and personnel throughout the building. You should also consider factors such as ventilation, lighting, and safety features to ensure your employees a safe and comfortable working environment.  A professional equipment supplier can help you with a Plant Design and Setup package. 

Carefully considering the location and building of your factory, will ensure that your manufacturing processes are efficient, your products can be shipped quickly and easily, and your employees have a safe and comfortable working environment, which are all key factors of a successful manufacturing business.

Manufacturing Process and Equipment

Once you have completed your research and planning, it’s time to start setting up the manufacturing process and acquiring the necessary equipment. Here are some key steps to take:

  • Determine the type of detergent and manufacturing process: The first step is to determine the type of detergent you want to produce, such as washing powder or liquid detergents or specialized products like dishwashing liquid, hand soap liquid, toilet bowl cleaner, glass cleaner, multifunctional detergent. You should also decide on the manufacturing process you will use, which can include batch, continuous, or semi-continuous processes. Again, you can consult with a professional equipment supplier or an ingredient supplier who offers formulation consultation services. Both will likely give you the information you need in this step.
  • Select and install the necessary equipment: Depending on the type of detergent and manufacturing process you choose, you will need to acquire the necessary equipment, such as mixers, reactors, pumps, filling machines, and packaging machines. You can purchase new or used equipment, or lease equipment to reduce initial costs. You should also ensure that your facility has adequate space and infrastructure to support your equipment and manufacturing processes.
  • Ensure safety and quality: It’s essential to ensure that your manufacturing processes and equipment are safe and meet quality standards. This includes implementing safety procedures for handling and storing chemicals, providing proper training to workers, and using quality control measures to ensure that your products meet specifications.
  • Develop Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs): Developing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and training your staff to execute these SOPs can help you streamline your manufacturing processes and ensure production efficiency and quality consistency. SOPs should outline the steps involved in each process, from raw material handling to packaging and storage, and should include safety protocols and quality control procedures.

By following these steps, you will be ready to set up a successful manufacturing process for your detergent business. Remember to prioritize safety and quality throughout the process, and to stay flexible and adapt to changes in the market and customer demand.

DAFA AZZY glass cleaner stock
DAFA warehouse for various detergents

Raw Material Procurement

Procuring the right raw materials is essential to producing high-quality detergent products. Here are some key considerations for sourcing raw materials:

  • Identify suppliers: Research potential suppliers for the raw materials needed to manufacture your detergent products. Consider factors such as supplier reputation, pricing, and quality control measures. At the beginning of your business, it’s advisable to choose a dependable supplier who offers a one-stop-shop solution for your raw material demands. This can ensure you get all the raw materials needed for production fast and securely.
  • Negotiate pricing: Negotiate with suppliers to get the best possible price for your raw materials. Consider signing long-term contracts with suppliers to lock in favorable pricing and ensure a steady supply of materials.
  • Monitor quality: Regularly monitor the quality of raw materials to ensure that they meet your standards and are suitable for use in your manufacturing process. Work with suppliers to establish quality control measures and develop a system for tracking and monitoring the quality of incoming raw materials.
  • Manage inventory: Maintain an appropriate inventory of raw materials to ensure that you have enough on hand to meet production demands. Develop a system for tracking inventory levels and replenishing supplies as needed.

By following these best practices for raw material procurement, you can ensure that your detergent products meet high-quality standards and are competitive in the marketplace. Additionally, as a supplier of raw materials yourself, working closely with your customers to help them establish efficient and cost-effective procurement processes can help to build strong, long-lasting relationships that benefit both parties.

Quality Control and Testing

Quality control and testing are essential to ensure that your detergent products meet safety and quality standards, and maintain the trust and satisfaction of your customers. Here are some critical steps to take:

  • Set quality control standards: The first step is to establish quality control standards for your products. These standards should include specifications for product characteristics such as appearance, odor, pH, viscosity, active ingredient content, and other auxiliary ingredient content, as well as safety and regulatory compliance standards.
  • Implement quality control measures: Once your quality control standards are established, you should implement measures to ensure that your products consistently meet those standards. This can include routine testing of raw materials, in-process testing, testing of finished products, as well as verification of product labels and packaging.
  • Conduct stability testing: In addition to routine testing, you should also conduct long-term stability testing to ensure your products remain stable and effective over time. This can include testing for factors such as temperature, humidity, and exposure to light, as well as conducting shelf-life studies.
  • Address quality issues: If quality issues arise, it’s important to address them quickly and thoroughly. This can include identifying the root cause of the issue, taking corrective actions to prevent a recurrence, and implementing preventive measures to improve quality control processes.

By implementing quality control and testing measures, you can ensure that your detergent products are safe, effective, and of high quality consistently. This will help to build customer trust and loyalty, which will then lead to increased sales and profitability for your business.

Marketing and Sales

Once you have established your manufacturing process and ensured that your detergent products meet quality and safety standards, it’s time to focus on marketing and sales. Here are some key steps to take:

  • Develop a marketing strategy: The first step is to develop a marketing strategy that targets your ideal customers and differentiates your detergent products from your competitors. This can include defining your unique selling proposition (USP), identifying your target market, developing a pricing strategy, and determining the most effective marketing channels for reaching your audience.
  • Build your brand: A strong brand can help to build customer trust and loyalty, and differentiate your detergent products in a crowded market. This can include creating a memorable brand name, developing a distinctive visual identity, and crafting a compelling brand story that connects with your customers.
  • Find and build relationships with customers: Finding and building relationships with potential customers is vital to driving sales for your detergent products. This can include attending industry events, reaching out to potential customers via email or social media, and offering free samples or demos to encourage customers to try your products.
  • Implement sales strategies: In addition to marketing, it’s important to implement effective sales strategies to drive revenue for your business. This can include hiring experienced sales representatives, offering discounts or promotions to new customers, and implementing a customer referral program to encourage existing customers to refer new businesses.

By implementing a solid marketing and sales strategy, you can effectively promote your detergent products and drive revenue for your business. It’s important to stay up-to-date with market trends and customer preferences, and to stay flexible and adaptable to changes in the market and customer demand.

AZZY detergents on TV commercial in Ethiopia

Business Growth and Expansion

Once your detergent manufacturing business is up and running, it’s time to consider growth and expansion to increase your customer base, scale revenue, and stay competitive. Here are some  effective strategies to consider:

  • Expand product lines: One way to drive growth is to expand your product lines to include new and complementary detergent products. This can help to increase revenue from existing customers and attract new customers interested in your expanded offerings. By offering a diverse range of products, you can also provide a one-stop-shop solution for your customers’ detergent needs, reducing their overall procurement and logistics costs.
  • Enter new markets: Another way to drive growth is to enter new markets, whether through expanding your geographic reach or targeting new customer segments. This can involve developing new marketing strategies and adapting your products to meet the needs of these new markets.
  • Invest in research and development: Investing in research and development can help you to stay ahead of the competition and develop innovative new products that meet emerging customer needs. This can involve working with universities, research organizations, or other industry partners to develop new technologies and formulations.
  • Implement operational efficiencies: Improving operational efficiencies can help reduce costs and increase profits, freeing up resources to invest in growth and expansion. This can involve adopting new manufacturing equipment, streamlining manufacturing processes, and implementing lean manufacturing principles.

By implementing these growth strategies, you can position your detergent manufacturing business for long-term success and increased profitability. Remember to stay focused on your core values and commitment to quality, and to adapt to changes in the market and customer demand to remain competitive.

Final Takeaways 

Starting a detergent manufacturing business can be a challenging but rewarding adventure. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can establish a solid foundation for success and position your business for long-term growth. 

Here are some key takeaways to remember:

  • Research and planning are essential to setting up a successful detergent manufacturing business. Conduct thorough market research, write a business plan, and secure funding to ensure that you have a strong foundation for success.
  • Setting up a manufacturing process and acquiring the necessary equipment requires careful consideration of the type of detergent and manufacturing process, the equipment needed, and safety and quality considerations.
  • Quality control and testing are essential to ensuring that your detergent products meet safety and quality standards and maintain customer trust and loyalty.
  • Effective marketing and sales strategies can help you to build your brand, find and build relationships with customers, and drive revenue for your business.
  • To achieve long-term growth and profitability, consider expanding your product lines, entering new markets, investing in research and development, and implementing operational efficiencies.
  • Starting a detergent business can be tough, but with Yeser Chemicals’ comprehensive turnkey solutions, it’s a lot easier. You’ll get a roadmap that comes from real experience setting up a detergent company, and guidance on market research, planning, and funding.

    Find a good spot for your factory and pick the right machinery. Figure out what detergents you want to make, get the equipment, and set up strong processes for making consistent products.

    Work with solid suppliers, keep an eye on your raw material quality, and have a good stock management system. Yeser Chemicals offers complete services for setting up your production line, which you can check out for support and to simplify the process.

    Pair this with a smart marketing plan and effective sales and your detergent business is set to grow. Yeser Chemicals can help you make it happen, from A to Z.

    Written by:
    Bryant Chen
    Bryant Chen
    Bryant is the Head of Sales & Marketing at Yeser Chemicals. He is responsible for promoting the company's products and services globally and leading the sales team to expand our market worldwide. Bryant has outstanding English communication skills, rich international trade experience, and a great passion for helping customers.

    Yeser Chemicals is a leading producer of CAPBCDEACMEAEGDS, and other various Coconut-derived surfactants.

    By self-manufacturing and 3rd-party toll-manufacturing, we provide a long list of safe ingredients, including surfactants, conditioners, thickeners, etc.,  used in Home & Fabric Care, Personal Care, and Cosmetics.

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