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What’s the difference between a t-shirt and a bag of chips? Besides one being able to satisfy hunger cravings, their requirements for inventory storage are quite different.
The ecommerce supply chain for products that are to be consumed, applied on skin, etc. rightfully have more regulations than those that don’t have as much risk in harming the public.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a government agency responsible for the safety of the following products sold or manufactured in the United States:
- Dietary supplements
- Human drugs
- Blood products
- Medical devices
- Radiation-emitting electronics
- Veterinarian products
- Tobacco products
The FDA inspects and enforces regulations related to these industries, including ensuring that the warehouses that store these products meet FDA regulations. The passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in 2011 introduced new standards for food storage, processing, and manufacturing for this wide range of products.
Brands that sell goods directly to consumers — especially packaged food products, vitamins and dietary supplements, beverages, medical products, and cosmetics — must make sure they use an FDA-certified warehouse.
What is an FDA approved warehouse?
An FDA-certified warehouse is a storage location, food facility, or fulfillment center that is registered with the FDA to store food, dietary supplements, drugs (prescription/medication), and other goods that are regulated by the FDA.
While the FDA only approves certain products (i.e., drugs, additives, etc.) and not companies, laboratories, buildings, or manufacturers, they do have the authority to inspect regulated facilities to verify that they comply with applicable good manufacturing practice regulations.
Why should your warehouse be FDA certified?
Owners and operators of domestic or foreign food, drug, and most device facilities must register their facilities with the FDA, unless an exemption applies.
In other words, having an FDA-certified warehouse is required if your ecommerce business sells anything from face creams and shampoos, to first aid kits and chocolate.
How to register your warehouse with the FDA
In order to become an FDA-certified warehouse, you must register your facilities with the FDA. By registering with the FDA, you agree to be inspected every three years. As long as you pass your inspections, your warehouse is considered to be approved by the FDA. View the FDA Registration and Listing page for more information.
ShipBob is a 3PL that’s FDA certified
A benefit of outsourcing fulfillment is working with a third-party logistics (3PL) company that already holds a Certificate of FDA Registration. ShipBob’s warehouses are FDA-certified, and you can utilize several of our FDA-registered fulfillment centers to reduce shipping costs and transit times.
ShipBob can help ship your products
ShipBob is a 3PL best-suited for products that don’t require approval by the FDA but are regulated by the FDA (e.g., cosmetics, dietary supplements, packaged and non-perishable food products, etc.). Here are some examples of brands we’ve worked with to handle order fulfillment for their products in our FDA-certified warehouses.
Tom Brady’s wellness brand TB12 sells dietary supplements, protein powders, and other nutrition products to help customers achieve peak performance. They partner with ShipBob to store inventory and fulfill orders. By working with ShipBob, TB12 has managed to save on shipping costs while improving transit times.
“We need to deliver quickly and inexpensively. Since switching to ShipBob from our previous 3PL, our fulfillment cost on comparable orders went down by 25%.”
Michael Peters, VP of E-Commerce Operations at TB12
Read more dietary supplement brand case studies from ShipBob:
- Learn how supplement brand EnduroSport partnered with ShipBob to launch their brand and started shipping in just nine days here.
- Learn how fast-growing health and wellness brand Synchro managed unprecedented order volume working with ShipBob to fulfill their dietary supplements here.
Packaged food products
When it comes to food grade storage, I Heart Keenwah chose ShipBob. Outsourcing retail fulfillment of their delicious quinoa-based snacks has helped them free up more time for other areas of their business while increasing sales.
“ShipBob can process things more quickly than we could in-house and at scale. These time savings translate into cost savings as well.”
Sarah Chalos, Co-Founder and President, I Heart Keenwah
Read more food product case studies from ShipBob:
- Learn how meal replacement and nutrition company Ample Foods uses ShipBob’s warehouses, software, and fulfillment services to save money, bring 2-day shipping to more customers here.
- Learn how fast-growing health foods brand Synchro partnered with ShipBob to fulfill their powerfoods, nut butters, and other keto-friendly food products here.
- Learn how coffee creamer brand Prymal switched 3PLs to ShipBob and experienced 4x growth and $8,000 saved on shipping costs per month here.
Open Water sells water in aluminum cans to reduce the impact plastic bottles have on the environment. ShipBob fulfills all of Open Water’s orders, including Amazon orders. They tried fulfillment using FBA, but ShipBob did a better job of packing it correctly (their water comes in aluminum cans, which dent easily), had better rates, and Amazon was putting too much plastic in their orders, which doesn’t align well with their sustainable brand.
“We like having direct contacts on the ShipBob team. We now have better service and reduced lead times.”
Fernanda Gomez Ocejo, Director of Supply Chain at Open Water
MDacne offers personalized acne treatments. They chose to partner with ShipBob to handle ecommerce fulfillment while they focus on increasing sales and delivering more value to customers.
Their business is almost all subscriptions, and ShipBob helps them offer reliable, affordable shipping that shows up at the same time each month. MDacne offers a free one-month supply as part of their initial three-month personalized acne treatment kit from their app. They also sell other products that can be purchased on their website like their Dark Spot Remover or Sunscreen, both formulated for acne-prone skin.
“Because ShipBob has a lot of people to handle our orders and additional warehouses we can expand into, we can scale up with ease as we continue to grow quickly. If we ran our own ecommerce warehouse, it would be much harder to hire people and we’d inevitably outgrow the space.”
Oded Harth, CEO & Co-Founder of MDacne
Additionally, learn how CLIPPERPRO sells their quality and precision surgical instruments direct to patients with ShipBob’s fulfillment services here.
One Drop provides on-demand personalized support and supplies for diabetes (such as glucose meters), without any of the hassles. No prescriptions or insurance required!
“When we were launching our diabetes subscription service, we knew we needed a fulfillment partner who offered a tight Shopify Plus website integration. Unlike most 3PLs that lack sophisticated, intuitive tools, ShipBob’s technology is modern. Their software even makes it easy to bundle products made up of multiple SKUs from our inventory, so it is packaged exactly as the customer ordered it.”
Doug Kern, VP, Ecommerce of One Drop
Safety as a #1 priority
Food safety is incredibly important as it can affect peoples’ lives. Issues with food safety have led to product recalls, outbreaks, and other negative consequences. At ShipBob, we take food safety compliance seriously in the following ways:
ShipBob offers lot management to better track expiration dates in the event of a recall. A lot number is an identification number assigned to a particular quantity of material from a single manufacturer. The lot number enables tracing of the constituent parts or ingredients as well as labor and equipment records involved in the manufacturing of a product.
ShipBob’s lot feature allows you to separate items based on their lot numbers. When you send us a lot item, we will not store it with other non-lot items, or other lots of the same item. Our software’s logic is designed to always ship items with the closest expiration lot date.
ShipBob employs state-of-the-art security at all facilities, keeping your ecommerce inventory as safe as possible. Our fulfillment centers have 24/7 security and are designed to store products safely. Additionally, our inventory management software helps you know exact inventory counts at each location.
Gain a logistics partner, not just a warehouse
Ecommerce businesses work with ShipBob because we make fulfillment easier. Instead of managing your own FDA-certified warehouse, ShipBob can take many inbound and outbound logistics tasks off your plate. By storing your inventory in our FDA-registered warehouses, you can save time and focus on other areas of your business.
To learn more about how ShipBob can help you manage fulfillment, click the button below to request a quote.