H.Essers Brussels achieves GMP certification with flying colours

H.Essers Brussels achieves GMP certification with flying colours

Anyone who works for us or engages our services knows that H.Essers always strives for outstanding quality, in everything we do. As part of the annual World Quality Day, we are happy to give quality some extra attention with good news from our site in Zemst (Brussels). Linde Van Vlasselaer, Global Industry Lead Pharma, and Thomas Vandeurzen, Project Engineer, talk about the quality milestone we reached there.

The H.Essers Brussels site in Zemst has already been in the news with a large-scale expansion and convenient location for pharmaceutical customers. In order to provide these customers with the best possible service, our company earned a GDP certification (Good Distribution Practices). “However, H.Essers always wants to set the bar a little higher. We want to be more to our customers than just a logistics service provider,” says Linde Van Vlasselaer. “We want to be a partner who takes care of our customers in all aspects. That is exactly why we felt it was so important to get the GMP certificate (Good Manufacturing Practices, ed.) for our site in Brussels, and especially for the highly specialised pharmaceutical activities of our customer Kela.” This is a big step forward, because in addition to storage and distribution, this certificate also allows us to label and package products, as well as adapt labels and leaflets. “All this, of course, according to the highest quality standards,” Thomas Vandeurzen adds. “Our only goal is to strive for the best.”

Complex process

However, it does take quite some time to qualify for a GMP certificate, as both Linde and Thomas know. “We’ve been through it for our GMP warehouses in Genk and Monselice. The storage areas in question have to undergo a major metamorphosis,” says Linde. “Concretely, this means that we create a separate zone with access restrictions and additional security measures. We draw up the entire process together with the customer and carry out several inspection rounds. Then the license also has to be approved by the FAMHP. A lot of people are involved in this process, from government agencies to healthcare providers who entrust their samples and products to us. And of course more than twenty employees of our own Quality department.”

Thomas agrees. “It’s a special process, which requires close cooperation between the executive teams, H.Essers’ Quality employees and the external auditors. For me, it was the first time I had been involved in setting up and rolling out a GMP zone and I found it all very impressive. The audits, the details, the well-oiled Quality processes, the speed and correctness that the employees involved displayed… I think we can be very proud of the result.”

Currently, the Brussels site holds a GMP certificate for Kela, but in the future this will be possible for other customers as well. “We are in fact anticipating growth,” says Linde. “Both in terms of space and facilities. We have planned the site and permits in such a way that in the future we can also help customers with differing needs.” In Zemst, for example, we have our own Quality Officer available, an expert who can continuously monitor the quality of the pharmaceutical activities.

Thomas: “That same detailed monitoring is also available to other customers at our Brussels site. Because our people are committed to guaranteeing quality. Always.”