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October 16, 2017 Issue

CEOCFO MAGAZINE

 

Q&A with Collin Thomas, President and CEO of Colmaric Analyticals and their Quality Control Testing Laboratory serving the Dietary Supplement, Nutraceutical, Cosmetic, Pharmaceutical and Food Industries

 

 

Collin Thomas

President and Chief Executive Officer

 

Colmaric Analyticals

www.colmaricanalyticals.com

 

Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published October 16, 2017

 

CEOCFO: Mr. Thomas, what is Colmaric Analyticals?

Mr. Thomas: We are primarily a quality control testing laboratory focused on serving the dietary supplements and food industries. We test raw material ingredients and finished products regardless of the matrix.

 

CEOCFO: Are there special challenges or concerns when you are testing these types of products?

Mr. Thomas: Yes. Whether these products are raw materials or finished products, a major concern is adulteration and contamination of the products tested. Another concern is the type of test method used. Is the test method used truly appropriate for the product and matrix tested? That is always a challenge, so you are always trying to make sure that you are doing the best and most appropriate test at each point.

 

CEOCFO: What might you understand at Colmaric that brings an extra level of testing of quality, of looking at something three times instead of twice so that you know you are coming up with a really accurate result and not missing anything?

Mr. Thomas: That depends on the actual product that you are testing. If it is a raw material, a validated analytical method may already be available that would give you an accurate result if you are following all of the test protocols.

 

The real challenge is in testing raw materials and finished products that may have been subjected to proprietary processes and where proprietary test methods were developed. In these cases, the use of existing test methods may not be appropriate. When customers make us aware of the proprietary nature of these products we can attempt to have proprietary methods transferred to our lab. Often, if this does not happen, we may use methods that we believe to be valid but may not be applicable for the material tested.

 

It is not so much double or triple testing the products that you are working with; it is knowing before you actually do the test, what you are working with so that you can either apply or develop a test that is appropriate.

 

CEOCFO: How do you encourage your customers to give you all of the information?

Mr. Thomas: That is sometimes a challenge and it depends on how experienced the customers are. For customer new to the industry, we spend time educating them on quality issues and testing procedures and guiding them on providing us with the appropriate information. The challenge is getting them to understand what they do not know. For the customer that is well versed in the industry, sometimes the challenge is they do not want to share what they consider to be private or proprietary information even to the independent testing lab. It is always a challenge, but my view is that it is in the customers best interest to make sure we are doing it correctly. We spend a lot of time when we need to, trying to convince a customer that they need to give us the appropriate information. Steadily we are seeing that our customers are beginning to see that it is in their best interest. It makes no sense for us to test a product and get a result that is not in line with what they expect because of faulty information at the beginning of the process.

 

CEOCFO: Are you responsible for what you come up with? If a product is bad and you have certified it, does that come back to you?

Yes. We are responsible for the accuracy of our data. However, we can perform a test accurately but it may give an inaccurate result because the analytical method may not have been appropriate. This ties into your previous question and this is why we spend as much time as possible trying to capture as much information as is possible before we begin testing. Sometimes a bad result actually serves a purpose in getting the customer to share the information that they should have shared the first time. Where the method was appropriate and the test result was inaccurate, the lab has to take responsibility. Fortunately for us, we have not been in that position.

 

CEOCFO: How do you attract customers?

Mr. Thomas: Currently, most of our new customers are acquired through customer referrals. This, I believe, is because we spend a lot of time with new customers educating them about the laboratory process. One of the comments that we hear all the time is that we are the first lab that took the time to explain the entire testing process from sending a sample to interpreting the final report. Along with customer referrals, we attend industry specific trade shows and conferences. For us, cold calling is still a vital part of how we acquire new customers.

 

CEOCFO: What is the geographic reach for your company today?

Mr. Thomas: Most of our customers are here within the United States but we have customers in China, India, The United Kingdom, and a few other countries.

 

CEOCFO: Is there newer technology or equipment that you are able to utilize and how do you keep up with some of the changes in testing?

Mr. Thomas: In many cases the basic analytical test principles have remained unchanged. What may have changed is the technology that governs how fast we can obtain test results and the limit of detection for various tests. The challenge is in keeping abreast of new formulations and devising new test methods that are appropriate for the new formulations using existing techniques or test equipment. We are not afraid to let a potential customer know that we are unfamiliar with a particular product or formulation. In those instances we are always willing to work with the customer in modifying an existing test method or developing and validating a test method suitable for their product.

 

CEOCFO: What is a simple test and what might be more complicated?

Mr. Thomas: In terms of an actual test, a pH test is a simple test. Often it does not require sample preparation if it is a liquid formulation and it can be completed in a few minutes. The more difficult tests may involve the use of multiple analytical techniques and more sophisticated equipment such as a High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) before usable data can be obtained. In terms of formulations, single ingredients products are generally easier to test than multi-ingredient formulations.

 

CEOCFO: What surprised you as Colmaric Analyticals has grown and evolved?

Mr. Thomas: Since we currently cater our services to the dietary supplement industry, my initial surprise was in the level of resistance to laboratory testing many companies displayed. I came from the pharmaceutical industry where quality control testing of raw materials, finished products, and containers were routinely tested for compliance. So it was surprising that manufactures were content with not verifying the identity and potency of their products. Having said that we now see an embrace of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) on the part of many companies as outlined by the FDA. My hope is that this continues.

 

CEOCFO: Why choose Colmaric Analyticals?

Mr. Thomas: You should choose Colmaric Analyticals because of the quality of the work we do. We know that people say that all the time but we really put an emphasis on service. For us, service begins with the initial contact. Our goal is to fully understand the customers needs and that may require follow-up conversations and clarifications. The fact is most labs perform the same tests and may have similar equipment to perform the various tests. What really separate one lab from another is the price and quality of service. We believe that we offer the best option on price and service. At Colmaric Analyticals we go beyond simply issuing you a report, we ensure you understand the data in your report.


 

What really separate one lab from another is the price and quality of service. We believe that we offer the best option on price and service. At Colmaric Analyticals we go beyond simply issuing you a report, we ensure you understand the data in your report.- Collin Thomas


 

Colmaric Analyticals

www.colmaricanalyticals.com

 

Contact:

Collin Thomas

615-239-8604

cthomas@colmaricanalyticals.com




 

 



 

 


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