Niels Van den Bergh is a Global Quality Associate within our Central Quality Assurance team based in Nazareth, Belgium. He shares his thoughts on the QA function and highlights why he loves what he does!
Tell me a little about your background? How long have you been at Perrigo? I have been diving deeper into the world of food and the chains connected to it for over 8 years. I began as a consultant in food safety and then for 6 years I had the chance to learn and develop at a major Belgian retailer and manufacturer. I then made the switch to Perrigo in July 2019 and I have been enjoying every minute!
What attracted you to join Perrigo in the first place? Are you glad you made the move? I was attracted by the international character and career opportunities. The position seemed like a real adventure and a unique opportunity to utilise my Food experience while transitioning into the pharmaceutical industry. The product portfolio was really appealing - products like these are the edge of the food production business and little about them is known within the circuit of general nutrition production. I’m very happy to have made the move as I'm constantly broadening my knowledge. Working in close contact with colleagues who specialise across a range of categories including cosmetics, medicines, medical devices and quality systems has awarded me the opportunity to learn new things and share my own knowledge. I was surprised by the synergies and differences between the products!
Can you tell me a little bit about the QA function at Perrigo? At Perrigo the QA department is a large team within the central organisation that has the platform and ability to do what is necessary. As part of the central QA team I have had the opportunity to manage a product category from the Perrigo range. It has been brilliant to work independently on the quality assurance of the products brought to the European market and beyond. I enjoy acting as QA project manager and point of contact for launches and reformulations in my product range. I have the opportunity to be front and centre as the QA department is integrated in every step of the chain. You are not just a 'number' but an active part of the project team and discussions, with a clear responsibility and veto on the quality of the products.
Does Perrigo QA differ from your previous experience? Yes, the integration of QA into the daily work and the project system is well established within Perrigo and there is still continuous improvement for more inclusion. As a member of the central QA team I’m not directly managing a production site or manufacturing team, this is very much a corporate function. You get to oversee the partners that Perrigo works with and collaborate with the internal manufacturing teams. You also get to benefit from their experience and knowledge. The chance to approve and audit suppliers and new partners across Europe is a nice bonus! An audit is hard work and the future success of products and projects depend on the outcome of those audits, but you also get to work with different cultures which I really enjoy!
What is a typical workday like for you? COVID-19 has changed the daily routine for most of us, and the central QA team continue to work safely from home. Prior to Covid part of my day would consist of project and team meetings and the work you need to do to advance those projects. The balance can switch a bit throughout the year, but you manage your own agenda and have to prioritise your workload. I find that in normal situations there is a good balance between meetings, active QA work, and being on the road. You can manage your own hours within some clear boundaries and working from home is an available option when necessary.
How would you describe the culture? The Perrigo Culture is one in full expansion and is based on some clear core values. I think the culture is clearly focused on employee wellbeing and has been improving continuously in the time I’ve been with Perrigo. This is evident in extra benefits, bonus holidays,… but also in tools and equipment to make life a bit easier! The central QA team is a close-knit team that will always help and support each other to achieve goals. During these challenging times being part of that team has definitely helped both in the face of work challenges and for personal wellbeing. I think being part of this team itself is the most valuable tool we could wish for!
Are there career & development opportunities within the QA department? There definitely are career opportunities for those willing. Perrigo is a big company and as such there is a lot of movement and expansion. Perrigo is also supportive of internal job rotations and new challenges!
What has been your standout work related highlight at Perrigo? It has to be when I had the opportunity to be the QA project lead for a new major brand in Europe. It was a project that presented various challenges and provided a true platform to learn even more about the company and this particular product type. Now, we are 1 year on and the first products are being manufactured as we speak! I will be proud to see them on sale in pharmacies and webshops!
How would you describe the management style within Perrigo QA? Open and trusting. I am awarded the opportunity to make decisions and carry the responsibility for those decisions. Personally, I have a lot of freedom regarding my work and frequently brief my manager on my progress. The open communication with my manager works really well and the clear, regular feedback means I can adjust and adapt my processes as needed.
Would you recommend the central QA team as a great career opportunity? Yes, I would. You get the chance to work alongside colleagues from all over the world, whilst improving and utilising your skillset! A massive bonus is the dynamic environment - you get exposure to multiple products and categories. You will end up in a supportive team, that pushes each other forward to succeed.
We are always looking for passionate, dedicated people to join our Belgian based teams at Perrigo. Take your next career step today and check out our live vacancies