Frequently Asked Questions
Alpha Tekniko’s credentials, background and business policies
Because of the nature of the custom product/private label manufacturing relationship, we keep our customers’ names confidential. We’ll try to address any concerns or questions you may have as directly and honestly as possible.
Some of our customers ask us to drop-ship single items to their end users, while others need us to produce hundreds of units to ship into inventory. The negotiated ship dates are different depending on the client’s needs. For one distributor with whom we built a quick-ship program for a limited number of products, our on-time rate on over 3,000 shipments per year is 99.9%.
Companies can be green in the products they manufacture, as well as in how they handle the waste products created by their processes. Alpha Tekniko is responsive to the demand of the healthcare industry for “healthier” products, and currently is able to obtain raw materials without added flame retardants, antimicrobials, latex, PVCs and other controversial substances, as required by our customers’ projects. Additionally, we have major recycling efforts underway for foam, corrugated and plastic products from our factory operations.
Typically we don’t lead field evaluations of the custom products we make. Those are initiated and conducted by our customers, as the evaluations are of specific products we have made for them and involve their own end users. We do assist customers in structuring product assessments and analyzing results.
Alpha Tekniko is an FDA-approved manufacturing facility and we are fully compliant with all of their GMP standards, as well as the standards set by ISO 13485 for medical manufacturing. We are in the process of updating our ISO 9001 compliance to the 2015 change in requirements. Part of our contract obligation with most customers is to allow their own quality auditors full and free access to our factory, and over the years we have made continuous upgrades as a result of their input.
All Alpha Tekniko products are warrantied against defects in materials or manufacturing. Across all of our customers, the percentage of annual returns for such defects is less than .2% (two tenths of one percent).
Aside from the obvious advantages like language, time zone, IP protection and costs of border tariffs and shipping, dealing with Alpha Tekniko is far easier for customers who are true believers in the idea of continuous improvement. Multiple design iterations, performance testing and prototype creation are fast and simple. As a nimble manufacturer with many “boutique” products in our portfolio, we can produce for launches in small quantities – or for rollouts in very large numbers. That flexibility is a better fit for many customers whose volumes don’t meet the requirements of offshore production.
Sometimes this happens in a de facto fashion, as customers’ changing volumes (up or down) prompt them to look at other sources of manufacturing. Our first preference is always to produce what we design, but we are happy to evaluate your standalone design project to see if it makes sense for us to work together. We’ll give you a quote based on the services you desire, e.g. initial consulting; specifying materials; creating a bill of materials; producing the first prototype; various types of testing; packaging and care recommendations, etc.
Not at the present time. If a distributor customer gives us permission, we will refer end users to their website to purchase products.
Yes! The products described here are representative of what we make for most of our custom accounts, but we have many other designs in our portfolio. Ask us for what you need. And please be sure to see the Other Products page under the Resource Center tab on this website.
Many of the best-performing healthcare fabrics are currently being made in Europe and Asia, and we will stock/use whatever our customers require. In addition, some air pumps and internal connectors for more complex surface designs are also made in Asia. Everything else in your product, including all manufacturing operations and assembly, will be USA-based.
We’ve been manufacturing as Alpha Tekniko for healthcare since 2008. However, several key employees (including the owners) have significantly more experience in the medical marketplace from previous company affiliations. Our production, customer care and R & D personnel have a combined 130 years’ service within the healthcare industry!
How to get started on a contract manufacturing project
Because each custom project is unique, it’s better that we not try to use a cookie-cutter form to capture all of your information. Please see the Contact Us section for various ways to get in touch. We can talk through your product needs and determine the best way to proceed.
Standard RFPs can be submitted to any of the contacts shown on this site. We likely won’t quote a job without significant conversation first.
Yes – the form is mutual, so your business is protected as well as ours!
Alpha Tekniko has accepted one-off production jobs based on a simple purchase order. But in most cases, the complexity of the project dictates that all terms and conditions be spelled out in writing. When we are handling your IP, your branding, and your quality requirements, a signed contract assures both parties that these very important facets of your product will be dealt with carefully and correctly.
Alpha Tekniko is not in the marketplace with products sold under our own name, so we don’t publish catalogs or price lists per se. When we start discussing your custom product manufacturing project, we’ll talk about specifications for the item you want us to produce. Those will be incorporated into the price quotation we prepare for you.
As a custom manufacturer, we don’t have ready-made products sitting in our warehouse. “Sampling” usually takes on a new meaning for private label customers, as we will of course produce a prototype or first article for your approval before full-scale production begins.
One of the trickiest parts of starting up a new manufacturing relationship is trying to determine what your volumes will be. Especially if you are launching a new product or re-introducing an old one, forecasting can be challenging. As your project comes together, we’ll work with you on likely annual volume and pricing scenarios.
You know from your own business that economies of scale only happen at certain volume levels that remain consistent over time. Alpha Tekniko will build certain assumptions into your pricing that may include rebates, container-load discounts, and other ways to save you money on your project.
Absolutely – any customer is welcome at any time! We would expect you would want to visit multiple times, especially during product development and testing, to make sure things are being done the way you want them to be.
Generally we don’t require a specific MOQ, although you know that the lower the production quantity, the higher the price. When we work out the terms of our relationship together, we may suggest a stocking or consignment program (based on your open PO) that allows us to apply the benefits of scale and allows you to ship small quantities as your business demands.
This is one of those “TBD” questions, based on the type of manufacturing agreement we make with you. Sometimes we bill for the services a la carte; sometimes they are part of an overall support package agreed to when you issue your purchase order for a specific volume. Every customer needs a different level of support in these areas, so we will work with you to put together a program that makes sense for you.
We certainly can, if that becomes part of our manufacturing contract with you. Any supplier’s service is only as good as the information he gets from his client, so SLAs require a lot of sales forecasting, trend-spotting and overall communications to work correctly.
The easiest (although least satisfying) answer is, “It depends.” If your custom product requires a very specific manufacturing process that can’t be used for any of our other customers, then it’s likely some kind of cost-sharing program would be required. You may even have a certain type of tool you want us to buy, or a certain vendor from whom we should buy it. Those circumstances would all be discussed during the execution of our manufacturing agreement with you, so that there are no surprises as full production begins.
Yes, based on receipt of a sales forecast and a purchase order for the number of units to be stocked. The typical arrangement is that we bill you as we ship your goods, with stock replenishment occurring as needed. These agreements are monitored carefully by both Alpha Tekniko and our clients, with frequent adjustments made to assure products don’t sit in inventory too long.
Yes, depending on how much of the product you want to be user-serviceable. For example, we regularly provide replacement cover programs for various clients. As your custom product is designed, any feasible replacement parts can be identified and discussed as elements of such a program.
How Alpha Tekniko approaches product design and engineering
Absolutely! Even if a true “proof of concept” unit isn’t needed, we still want to make sure the product incorporates all the desired features and functions. Most importantly, we (and you) will need to try it on the bed, stretcher or wheelchair for which it has been designed, to make sure there are no fit, entrapment or patient comfort issues that have not been addressed.
My product design isn't currently being produced. How long will it take from concept to market? How long will regular production take?
Another question where the best answer is “TBD.” Some customers approach Alpha Tekniko with a fully detailed statement of work, and the lead-up to production goes very quickly. In other cases all you have is a sketch on a cocktail napkin – which is fine with us, by the way – and a lot of pre-planning and design needs to take place.
If you have a fixed idea of when you’d like to get to market, we’ll let you know if it’s feasible or not; then, if you choose to go forward with us, we’ll work with you to plan and schedule the project on a timetable that works for both parties.
What if my product idea requires a production process that Alpha doesn't currently perform, or a tool that you don't have?
The cost aspect of this question is addressed in How to get started on a contract manufacturing project > Do I pay tooling or setup charges when you start production of my product? above. In terms of how we work with you to make this happen, you’ll be fully familiar with our equipment and capabilities as we quote your custom manufacturing job. Anything we need to manufacture your product will be identified and costed well before we ask you to sign a contract. That way you’ll be able to determine if we are the correct fit for your product, or if you should be looking for a different vendor.
There are multiple places where your logo, brand name, tag line or other proprietary information can be displayed: sewn-on tags or labels; via screen printing on the top cover (a minimum quantity and additional charge is required); or with specially printed cartons, sealing tapes, inner bags or labels. Your end user market, as well as your own marketing strategy and budget, will help determine what is best for your product.
This is a hot issue in the medical community right now, and one for which we don’t have an easy answer. Generally the types of foams used inside most healthcare mattresses would withstand three to five years of normal wear and tear, i.e. 365 days of patient use, if patients fall within the weight guidelines specified. Most of the time, however, the mattress cover’s lifespan is compromised by such things as needle sticks; tears from bed frames for which the product is not designed; failure to follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions; ripped handles from trying to move mattresses with patients on them, etc.
There are materials and processes Alpha Tekniko can recommend to help extend the life of your custom mattress, given how and where it is likely to be used. We can also create a replacement cover program for your customers; as long as the interior foams have not been damaged by fluid ingress, a new cover will add months or years to the mattress’s life.
Can I purchase just product components or sub-assemblies from you, i.e. not completely finished goods?
Yes, although our preference (as explained in Alpha Tekniko’s credentials, background and business policies > Will you design a product for me that I can have produced at another manufacturer? above) is to produce a fully finished support surface in which both of our companies can take pride. Once the components leave our facility, any issues with the finished product become harder to resolve due to assembly and handling by other parties. But with a full array of manufacturing capabilities and a factory staff with deep and broad experience, we can take on as much of your project as you are willing to outsource.
This is a situation we encounter frequently, since we have manufactured so many different kinds of support surfaces over the years. In the design phase of your project we will jointly determine whether something in our portfolio needs to be added to your product; how we go about accomplishing that; and how we share the IP in the finished product.
Yes – another fairly normal part of setting up a custom manufacturing relationship. Depending on the type and quantity of the materials in question, we may be able to arrange releases from your vendors to be shipped directly to Alpha Tekniko as we need them. We’ll work with you on the most economical and efficient use of your supply chain.
Alpha Tekniko uses an FDA-required system of Design Project Requests (DPRs) and Engineering Change Requests (ECRs). The system is paper-based, to make sure we all have actual signed copies within our QC files. Any changes that need to be made to the first prototype will be documented in this fashion so that the Design History File, whether on your premises or ours, is always up-to-date.
Paperwork aside, you are able to request as many generations of design changes as are necessary to make your custom product exactly the way you want it. If customer-initiated changes fall outside of the original product specifications, or if they occur after final design verification is done, additional charges may apply.
Design verification is the process by which Alpha Tekniko makes sure that a custom product meets all required specifications as provided by our customer. Design validation is usually a field-based process wherein a customer puts their custom product, on the equipment for which it was designed, in front of end users to confirm that the product functions in the correct manner with no unforeseen complications.
Not really! In support surfaces we can produce up to king sized (typically 76″ x 80″ or 72″ x 84″). Most medical mattresses fall well below that size, although we make several models that are more than 85″ long.
With our knowledge of raw materials, medical mattress functions and the overall competitive picture, we can advise you on options for construction and features that will give you a strong selling story and an even stronger product performance. Customization options include cover fabrics; foams; sculpting design; type of external power controller; alternating pressure, low air loss and microclimate control modes; specific designs for unique bed frames, etc. Your success in the marketplace is of paramount importance; we try to contribute by giving you a high-performing product that offers your customers the right combination of functionality, price and value.
Packaging, logistics and fulfillment services
Alpha Tekniko’s shipping department will work with you on the best way to ship your products. You also have the option of sending in your own carriers, if you have existing freight contracts. We regularly obtain freight quotes for customers, so that they can decide which way they want to proceed.
Depending on the quantity we are shipping – and we can accommodate anything from single mattresses to full truckload or containerload shipments – we will make a recommendation as to whether to ship your custom support surfaces flat in bags; folded or rolled and compressed in boxes; loose vs. palletized, etc. Because of the size and relatively light weight of medical mattresses, shipping rates can vary greatly. It pays to let us help you with the logistics for your orders.
Can I provide you with custom printed labels, product inserts, sealing tape or cartons, for use with my product?
Yes – we add these items to the bill of materials for your product, so that they are used consistently and correctly.
In the same fashion as any other shipment you’d make, the end user (final recipient) would file a claim with the carrier in question. If it’s a carrier we have selected, we can help with the claims process. If it’s a carrier our customer has specified, then they provide the help. The ultimate goal is to make your end user happy, so we will work with you on getting replacement products made as promptly as possible.