Jochem Vancoillie is a Senior Quality Assurance Associate at our Nazareth, Belgium location! He currently leads a team of QA professionals working on our Medicines and Cosmetics categories! Below Jochem shares with us what it's like to work within Perrigo's central QA team!
Tell me a little about your background? How long have you been at Perrigo? I am a pharmacist and industrial pharmacist by education, and have held previous positions in Quality Control in both the pharmaceutical industry and the medical device industry. I made the move to Perrigo approximately two years ago
What attracted you to join Perrigo in the first place? Are you glad you made the move? Of course the job opening itself (QA associate – QP) was what jumped out to me at first, as did the international aspect of the job. That Perrigo’s portfolio mainly exists of self-care products, which need to be of the highest quality if you want to entice consumers into buying your product and to keep them loyal to your brand, made the job all the more interesting. Combine all this with the office being conveniently located and much closer to home than my previous functions (when not working from home due to Covid of course!), and I can say that I (and my family!) have not regretted the move for a second!
Can you tell me a little bit about the QA function at Perrigo? We ensure adherence to and compliance of processes and procedures both within the company and with our external partners, which we also qualify. We lead investigations in quality incidents, deviations and complaints, and will work together with our contract manufacturers to resolve these issues and prevent their reoccurrence. We also play an active role in the batch release of medicines, whether it be via QP certification of imported medicinal goods or through an administrative batch release. Management of change controls, CAPAs, audits, and SOPs are of course also part of our responsibility. We also are constantly supporting various projects! As you can tell, it is a function with a lot of variety!
Does Perrigo QA differ from your previous experience? If so, then how? Immensely. In my previous functions, we were closer to production than we are at Perrigo, which resulted in collaborations with functions mainly within the department or manufacturing site – with the odd interaction with another manufacturing site within the same company. At Perrigo, we work with a variety of contract manufacturers and companies located all over Europe and even beyond, allowing us to interact not only with different functions and organisations, but also different cultures and countries, with their own particularities. In each of my previous companies, the focus was also on one product class – either medicines or medical devices. At Perrigo, besides these two product classes, we also have cosmetics, biocides, food supplements and general consumer goods in our portfolio, presenting a huge variety in the daily work.
What is a typical workday like for you? Every day presents a combination of project related meetings in an international setting, more strategic-oriented work, supporting my team members, and the “standard” QA-related tasks I hinted at before. Due to the high amount of different people, teams, contract manufacturers and projects I interact with on a daily basis, I never know what the day will bring exactly, which makes my job diverse and surprising – which I love!
How would you describe the Team culture? Collaborative: each project team consists of a mix of skilled people from different backgrounds and countries, working from different locations. So teamwork, clear communication, ownership and accountability are important if we want to achieve our mutual goals.
Are there career development opportunities at Perrigo within the QA department? Definitely! Everybody has the opportunity for development through projects and trainings, both internally and externally. Personally, I have recently been promoted to Senior QA Associate within the central CSCI QA team. This means that I am now taking on team lead responsibilities of the central QA team working mainly on Medicines and Cosmetics. Other colleagues have also recently been able to venture into different product categories and projects, or have been given growth and development opportunities by allowing them to step into new roles. So, yes - I have witnessed first hand the opportunities to grow within the Perrigo QA department!
What has been your favourite work related highlight within Perrigo? Meeting the people I talk to via teleconference on a daily/weekly basis in person, either in Belgium or abroad. Each of those interactions are enriching both personally and professionally.
How would you describe the management style within QA? The management is very approachable and are open to go into discussion with everyone, regardless of their positions. They give us an opportunity to voice our opinions and concerns, trust us to make the right decisions independently but also support us when needed.
Would you recommend the central QA team as a great career opportunity? Why? I definitely would! You will become part of a very capable team with wonderful colleagues on whom you can rely, whilst working with a variety of different product classes simultaneously. It’s a great opportunity for growth, both skill-wise and on a personal level.
We are always looking for passionate, dedicated people to join our teams at Perrigo. Take your next career step today and check out our live vacancies!