The Importance of Fast Capsule Supply Lead Times

Picture this: Through what feels like a miracle, your procurement department has overcome today’s ongoing supply-chain challenges to secure a reliable supply of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for your pharmaceutical products. It looks like you’ll be able to meet your product delivery commitments in full.   

However, there’s just one problem… nobody thought about the capsules. Procurement was so laser-focused on the APIs that they didn’t realize the supply chain for capsules has also been facing challenges. Now you’ve got all your product’s ingredients but nothing to encapsulate them in!  

With lead times being a significant bottleneck currently being faced by pharmaceutical companies, it may be time to do a risk assessment on your capsule supply chain. As you do so, here are some important questions to ask your capsule supplier… 

Can you deliver capsules when we need them? 

As the above scenario illustrates, fast and dependable lead times are just as important for your capsule supply as they are for all the other components of your pharmaceutical products. You need to know that your capsule supplier will be able to deliver what you need when you need it.  

While some capsule manufacturers are struggling to meet their clients’ needs amidst global supply/demand imbalances in the markets for gelatin and other raw ingredients, others are not. Ask what lead times they’re currently quoting, and then, to gauge how supply-chain problems are affecting them, ask how this differs from their pre-pandemic lead times. 

CapsCanada, for example, has both G-CAPS® gelatin two-piece capsules and K-CAPS® HPMC two-piece capsules in stock in all sizes, ready for immediate shipping—and this has been the case for the past 30+ years. With warehouses in North America, quick turnarounds and same/next-day delivery are the norm. 

Can you handle custom orders? 

Here you want to ensure that the supplier offers the customization options that are important to you and can deliver these custom orders quickly. 

With CapsCanada you can customize your product by choosing from a variety of sizes, colors (including your brand’s Pantone colors), finishes, flexible printing options and even flavors. 

The lead time for custom printed capsules is about two to five weeks. If you need capsules in custom colors developed specifically for your needs, these can be delivered with fast turnarounds as well.  

Working with a supplier that offers fast and reliable lead times—including fast and reliable lead time for custom orders—eliminates production headaches for you. 

Where are you located? 

Nearshoring makes super-fast lead times possible. If you need it now, you want your supplier to be located on the same side of the world that you are, with a fully stocked warehouse near you.  

Is your capsule supply reliable? 

A key question you should ask your capsule supplier is whether they have sufficient ability and capacity to provide fast lead times and a continuous quantity of the capsules you need.  

As the pandemic has taught us, an important consideration is where the capsule manufacturer gets their raw ingredients. CapsCanada, for example, is the only capsule manufacturer that owns the entire supply chain for its gelatin capsules, which are made from high-grade bovine hide. This insulates us from the ongoing shortages in the global gelatin market, gives us full control over these capsules’ ingredients, and reduces both quality and supply chain risks for you. 

Can you serve as our secondary capsule supplier? 

To avoid overreliance on single-sourced materials, always build redundancy into your supply chain. The best time to fully vet a secondary capsule supplier, of course, is long before you need it! You’ll want to ask the same questions regarding product quality, customer service, lead times, etc., that you would ask of a primary supplier.  

When vetting secondary suppliers, you should also determine if their capsules are consistent in composition and appearance with the capsules you used when you received product approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  

Do you offer any time-saving value-added services? 

Supplying capsules quickly and reliably is not the only way that your capsule supplier can help you work at speed. Technical services can also play a vital role. 

When a capsule-related issue arises during the filling process, will your capsule supplier be there to help you quickly identify and address the issue? Will they proactively train your technicians and optimize your processes to increase your yields? What services do they offer to help you achieve greater productivity and profitability?  

CapsCanada’s customers often think of our technical services team as their “secret weapon” in the pharmaceutical marketplace. With deep expertise on all the major filling machines as well as both common and uncommon encapsulation situations, they can provide technical support that boosts your bottom line. 


Fast and dependable capsule supply lead times are essential for pharmaceutical companies to meet their product delivery commitments. With ongoing supply chain challenges, it’s important to do a risk assessment on your capsule supply chain and ask your supplier important questions such as whether they can deliver capsules when needed, handle custom orders, and offer time-saving value-added services. CapsCanada is an example of a supplier that offers fast and reliable lead times, customization options, and technical services to help increase productivity and profitability. With redundancy built into your supply chain and a reliable capsule supplier, pharmaceutical companies can avoid production headaches and meet their delivery commitments. 

For further information, contact CapsCanada at