We aim to keep improving our service levels and we do so by getting the best out of ourselves and each other. Sébastien Remes is Team Lead Engineering Profiles at STAR in Belgium. “Our objective is to become the go-to supplier in the life sciences market.”
Sébastien explains how Star Belgium is exploring new avenues. “Since the latter part of 2020, we’ve become increasingly involved in the life sciences in this country, a large and growing sector to which our expertise can make a significant contribution.”
Life Sciences include industries such as (bio)pharmacy and medical technology. “Belgium is among the European leaders when it comes to pharmaceuticals,” explains Sébastien, “and all the big manufacturers have a presence here. But life sciences are also all about food and biotech.
“We aim to grow and become preferred supplier for the biggest players, but we also want to provide support and expertise to the smaller ones. To do that, we always develop close partnerships.
“Thanks to our reliability and transparency, people consider us to be true partners rather than mere suppliers: it’s not just about finding the right specialists for a particular job, but about cooperation in the long term.”
What makes work in this sector different from our work in the petrochemical industry? “In the petrochemical industry, we provide support for engineering and construction projects. We supply technical specialists with engineering qualifications and specialisms like electronics or process technology. We’re now extending the same service to the pharmaceuticals sector, which works according to the same requirements. And there’s also a great demand for people with a background in bio-engineering.
“There are two branches of chemistry, the study of processes and the study of molecular behaviour, and we now specialise in both. The latter is predominant in the biochemical industry, and we focus a lot of time and effort on sourcing staff to fill laboratory-testing and analysis positions, or to coordinate clinical trials. We work in close consultation with the client at all levels, including R&D, microbiology and production.
“The profiles are different, with different ways of working and a multitude of specialist jargons, but ultimately, it’s all about products that have a direct impact on people’s health. And that requires a different approach sometimes.
“Thanks to the excellent relationships we have with our specialists, we’re getting to know life sciences from the inside.”
“So, we’ve been through something of a steep learning curve,” says Sébastien, “which has taught us what the work entails and which specialisms it requires. I’ve been learning for four years now, and thanks to excellent cooperation with the specialists who pioneered our presence in the industry, STAR as a whole now has what it takes to make a real difference. They are invaluable when it comes to teaching us about the responsibilities of their positions and the standards and criteria that prevail. And we continue to learn from them.”
“We operate in many diverse sectors, and all those relationships are very interesting for our specialists, too. If they have an ambition or want a change, then a place on a project in a new sector is always well within reach. We feel it is vitally important that specialists feel at home with STAR, for only then can we effectively look ahead together and really be of value to their careers in the long term. That includes choosing the right courses and training programmes in the fields of Good Manufacturing Practices, for instance, or Quality Assurance and Quality Control. They stand you in good stead for a career in life sciences.”
New market, new story
What are STAR’s current ambitions in the field? “We’ve now got a dedicated team that devotes all its time to life sciences, and we envisage that it will grow. Our brand awareness needs a boost, so we’ll be working hard to achieve that, but for now it’s already quite satisfying to see that we’re making positive impact on the success of our clients.
“Basically, STAR is telling a new market a new story from scratch, and clients are learning from us just as we are learning from them. It’s great to see that they are happy with the specialists we put on their projects and that confidence is steadily growing.”