What is Product Formulation Software?


Product formulation software gives teams immediate access to the product data required to develop products quickly, safely and cost-effectively. Formulation software hosts accurate, relevant and up-to-date information regarding raw materials, costs, previous formulation, R&D documentation, regulatory text, manufacturing processes and more.

Effective formulation management is key to efficient and successful product development. Using the data generated by product formulation software gives producers and manufacturers the opportunity to improve their formulation processes, ensure regulatory compliance, provide full raw material traceability, generate healthier margins and drive faster, more efficient product innovation.

Teams responsible for formulation management use product formulation software to optimize raw materials, control costs, launch new product variations and speed time-to-market.

Now we know what product formulation software is, let’s dig a little deeper into how it powers a more sustainable product formulation process and increases innovation.

What is a Formulated Product?

Formulated products are all around us from the cafes and restaurants we dine in, to the beauticians and hospitals we visit. According to the European Formulation Network, ‘a formulated product is composed of at least two ingredients which are selected, processed and combined in a specific way to obtain well-defined target properties’.

Food & Beverage, Cosmetics & Personal Care, Cleaning companies, to name a few, are the types of industries that develop formulated products based on specific industry targets. Taking food as an example, these targets might be nutritional, usage of certain ingredients and adherence to specific origin, organic, allergen, religious or sustainability claims.
While the products we use every day such as mayonnaise or a bottle of soda may seem very simple, each product started its life as a brief from a business to a product formulation team bringing a new formulated product to market.

This leads on to product formulation…

Product formulation is the development phase or bringing a formulated product to market. Product formulation teams are tasked with getting the formulation of the new product right so that it meets the product targets as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Product formulation is a critical step in new product development with teams required to understand how raw materials and different processing techniques behave and interact to deliver the properties required by the product brief.
If a formulation is not understood proficiently and small changes are needed in the raw materials, the formulating process or processing environment can have a negative impact on the quality and performance of the product.

Which Industries use Product Formulation Management?

Industries such as Home, Cosmetics & Personal Care, Agricultural Technologies, Chemicals, Food & beverage all have one thing in common…They all use product formulation management to power the successful development of new and innovative products.

From the matte lipstick that doesn’t smudge to the laundry detergent that washes whiter at lower temperatures. Every new formulated product needs to be carefully managed from conception to retail.

Read more to take a deeper dive into a few industries that use product formulation management and why.

Top 3 Industries That Use Product Formulation Management:

Beauty Product Formulation

Moving at the same hectic pace as the fashion industry, manufacturers of formulated beauty product brands cannot afford a misstep with their products so quality and safety are their number one priority.

Any beauty product, especially skincare products that cannot back up its claims or causes an adverse reaction will be exposed on social media. Leaving product development and marketing spend wasted and hard-earned brand reputation in tatters.

Discover more about beauty product formulation software.

Food and Beverage Formulation

As with any product created for human consumption, food and beverage products are sold into one of the most heavily regulated industries in the world. So it is no surprise that compliance and safety are of the highest importance to food and beverage companies worldwide.

Adding to this, the food and beverage industry has one of the most complex supply chains in the world. This means ensuring every new item is up to scratch is a logistical challenge to say the least. Formulation software gives food and beverage formulators a raft of essential and invaluable data to inform rapid, safe and successful new product development.

Read more about how food formulation software helps food and beverage companies achieve their compliance and safety goals.

Fragrance Formulation

Fragrance chemistry and formulation is highly specialized. In-depth knowledge of the various substances used and how they interact is required to produce the desired scent. Fragrance formulators must consider strength of smell, compatibility of ingredients, the effects of light and heat on product stability, and even how the product reacts with the proposed packaging.

As a scent is applied to the skin, it is critical to understand how this can impact the formulation of the required scent profile. Different elements of a scent react differently on exposed skin. Some evaporate rapidly while others linger for longer. Understanding the relationship of these properties is critical to successful fragrance formulation.

Facing similar challenges to formulators of food and cosmetic products, in terms of safety and compliance, the fragrance sector is also increasingly driven to create fragrances from natural ingredients to respond to consumer demand for sustainable products.

The International Fragrance Association provides government-approved standards that guide its members in the creation of safe and enjoyable fragrance. Effective formulation software for this sector will seamlessly plug into these standards, providing fragrance formulators with immediate access to a vast database of safe and approved fragrance ingredients.

Many factors contribute to the genesis of a rising status for formulated cosmetics and personal care products. Two, however, are of the utmost importance; product quality and brand reputation. Product quality is key. No amount of marketing can cover up an ineffective formula or substandard product. Brand reputation is paramount and consistently delivering quality, along with strategic marketing and PR, helps a brand stand the test of time.

Makers of formulated products in the cosmetics and personal care industry have their work cut out for them. This industry operates at the frenetic pace set by fashion players. A product or brand can catapult to cult status in a flash and just as quickly become irrelevant. The stakes are also higher creating formulated products for consumption, such as vitamins and supplements, as well as with products that are applied to the skin.

How do makers of formulated products in the cosmetics and personal care industry offer high quality products, at speed, that meet market needs and consumer preference, while elevating their brand reputation? Formulation management.

Formulation management is one of the most critical aspects of cosmetics and personal care product development. It gives brands, retailers, and manufacturers comprehensive, real-time data that drives formulation perfection. With product formulation software, safety, quality, regulatory compliance and complete raw material traceability is ensured all in one place. This critical data empowers cosmetics and personal care companies to optimize formulations, launch variations of bestselling products and introduce safe, on-trend, quality products to market quickly.

Along with being a central data hub for product information, Centric Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) for Cosmetics and Personal Care has robust formulation management capabilities. This gives all teams involved with product development 100% visibility into real-time data, instantaneous communication and streamlined collaboration so they can bring safe, bestselling formulated cosmetics and personal care products to savvy consumers.

Read on to discover the top six benefits of formulation management with Centric PLM.

1. Ensures Safety and Compliance

In 2019, Dance Moms alum and YouTuber, JoJo Siwa, had her Claire’s makeup kit recalled after it tested positive for asbestos. This news was covered by multiple media outlets and all products formulated and even non-formulated were pulled from shelves. Safety and compliance are two of the most fundamental aspects of product development for the cosmetics and personal care sector. Brands, retailers and manufacturers are wise to employ formulation and management technology to reduce safety and compliance risks across the supply chain.

With Centric PLM for Cosmetics and Personal Care, users gain full visibility into all product-related data to easily track and implement compliance changes, identify affected products and make quick decisions to comply with regulations. Quality compliance checks are streamlined with built-in process management and connected directly to databases of blacklisted ingredients, banned ingredients and ingredient watchlists.

Centric PLM also delivers real-time communication and closed loop integration to share formulation data between marketing, R&D, quality and regulatory teams. If a formula needs modification, Centric PLM will automatically adjust existing management processes to ensure product compliance, accurate labeling, and authentic documentation.

2. Streamlines Traceability

The power to track and trace raw materials to their origin and to the granular detail level, including where they were sourced, how they were processed and if suppliers followed compliant practices, is one of the most important features of PLM.

Because Centric PLM seamlessly integrates with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, product manufacturers have immediate access to the precise details they need to detect products that may have been impacted by a contaminated or non-compliant ingredient. Furthermore, they have an immediate view into where that product sits in the cycle, be it, in production, in transit, or on shelves. Being able to react quickly and avoid pulling products off of the shelf protects brand integrity.

3. Improves Quality Management

Safety and compliance are fundamental aspects of quality which is handled across the various departments who play a role in product development. One misstep by R&D could be catastrophic. Even if the proof of a label gets botched, the brand stands to lose. It is for this reason, that many companies have dedicated quality assurance experts to give the final christening to a formulated cosmetics and personal care product destined for the marketplace.

PLM provides another level of quality assurance that is worth investing in. Centric PLM unites all quality management data within the system and every product development team member has access to real-time data at their fingertips from any time zone.

The quality management magic doesn’t stop there. Because Centric PLM pulls quality data directly from formulation specification templates, users are enabled to enforce quality regulations throughout the product development chain. Quality management is easy to manage, accessible and consistently monitored with PLM.

4. Boosts Transparency and Accuracy of Claims and Label Information

Brands and producers must tread carefully when attesting to the formulation and benefits of products and ensure 100% accuracy in labeling. If they fail to be transparent, ensure accurate information, and have validated claims and label information on product packaging, their reputation and business are at risk.

Centric PLM’s centralized data platform ensures packaging reflects true and accurate claims. The formulation and labeling features empower users to automatically create product labels. If a product formulation is changed, or a new product developed, Centric PLM will automatically pull data from these product specification templates and generate placeholders for attributes like ingredient listings, weight, images and country of origin. For cosmetics and personal care companies operating in multiple markets and regions, no problem. Centric PLM provides data on local regulatory requirements making regional-specific labeling in multiple languages simple.

5. Manages Complex Product Portfolios

Cosmetics and personal care brands, retailers and manufacturers are expected to continuously update product assortments at speed. This industry is driven by trends and seasons, so how do you concurrently focus on consumer-driven trends, quality and sustainability? PLM’s formulation management feature is the answer.

Because all product-related information is centralized in PLM, R&D teams, product engineers, and external suppliers can access and rapidly analyze product-related information. Armed with this easy to access, real-time information, product performance is clarified and decisions to re-order or re-formulate are clear. If a product needs tweaking to meet targets, Centric PLM pulls formula information seamlessly and updates are made across the board.

6. Superpowers Innovation

Digital transformation with the right PLM solution can be the quickest path to product and business innovation. The cosmetics and personal care industry is highly competitive so companies must constantly be innovating products and business processes.

Developing the greatest product formulation and spot-on branding will take you places. You must continue to resource R&D, market research and streamline operations to maximize product margins and invest where the dividends will pay off.

Centric PLM is the technology to optimize product development, streamline business operations and empower teams by providing a single source of actionable truth from anywhere. With Centric PLM, cosmetics and personal care brands, retailers and manufacturers have the competitive edge to ensure product quality and safety, respond to market demands and set the trends.