On PEI, Sekisui Diagnostics has a workforce of 155 full-time employees and 15 to 20 contract temporary employees.
The company produces the chemicals and reagents used in testing for and diagnosing diseases. It has been named one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers four years in a row and was also named as one of Atlantic Canada’s Top Employers for the past four years.
“Currently, we are going through an expansion project and we expect the creation of quite a few new roles and positions by the end of this year and in early 2021,” says Krishna Burugadda, Senior Human Resources Administrator.
Packaging Associates: These entry-level positions are a great opportunity for individuals who would like to work in a manufacturing facility. These employees work in groups that complete automated and manual packaging of goods.
Production Technicians: These positions have a diverse range of duties in laboratories and on the production floor. Candidates with a post-secondary education in science or previous production experience would be ideal for these roles.
“We recruit for a diverse range of opportunities with Sekisui Diagnostics, in various departments including Quality, Research & Development, Environmental Health & Safety, Regulatory Affairs, Supply Chain, Maintenance, Human Resources, Finance and Production. Positions range from entry-level to senior leadership roles.
“Due to our continued growth, we are always interested in speaking with professionals with manufacturing experience in the health science industry.”
“There are growth opportunities in science, business, and manufacturing,” says Krishna. “We offer progressive and career development opportunities to all employees who work with the company.
“We support growth opportunities through various programs. Our education reimbursement program offers a maximum of $5,250 annually to employees interested in professional development through formal education courses.
“We also have external and in-house training programs designed specifically to develop an employee’s skills to allow growth within their department. Each employee has the opportunity to attend training programs annually either in-house or externally.”
Sekisui Diagnostics employees can apply for an internal transfer across departments and sites in Canada, US, UK, and Germany for progressive opportunities.
Jobs are posted on the Careers page on the company website, and through job boards such as WorkPEI, Indeed, LinkedIn, and the PEI BioAlliance. “We encourage all applicants to ensure their applications are sent through the company website. Sometimes external job boards may advertise positions even after the closing date. If you are directed to the Sekisui Diagnostics Careers page, that means the job is still active and you can go ahead and apply.”
Soft skills and transferrable skills needed
“Soft skills such as teamwork, adaptability, interest in learning new things, reliability, and punctuality are essential for success with Sekisui Diagnostics. Transferrable skills include technical skills from your previous education background, communication, critical thinking, and multitasking.”
“We have a high level of employee engagement and a positive work culture. Sekisui Diagnostics cares about their employees’ growth and development and will provide all employees with opportunities for personal and professional improvement.”
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Sekisui Diagnostics PEI Inc. – Eugene Howatt, Site Director
October 19, 2020
The company has manufacturing and distribution locations worldwide. “On PEI, our 93,000 square foot facility has 150 staff members with educations ranging from PhD, Masters, college diploma to grade 12,” says Eugene Howatt. “We run a 7 am to 5 pm shift and can add additional shifts as required.
“Sekisui has been named one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers four years in a row, and was also named as one of Atlantic Canada’s Top Employers for the past four years.
“Our primary function is to manufacture in vitro diagnostic test reagents. A patient’s blood sample is mixed with our reagents and put in a clinical chemistry analyzer to produce quality patient results. We make enough reagents to perform 1.7 billion tests per year.”
“We have seen major growth in the last five years. There was 42 percent growth in our revenue, 33 percent growth in square footage and a 38 percent increase in our full-time employees at the site. We continue to grow, with $8 million in capital investment over the past five years and another $6 million in capital investment currently in progress.”
“Our employees on site are super heros. They safely worked through our COVID-19 processes and policies.
“Once a patient is diagnosed with COVID-19, a doctor is focused on managing the patient’s health and will order a test panel. In many countries, one of the most common panels used is called a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP). If a patient has severe COVID-19 and is hospitalized, these tests may be run multiple times. We produce many of these tests from our PEI site and this is why the continued supply of these products is essential.”
New initiatives lead to more hiring
“We are focusing on two main areas: reformulating our existing products to make them more environmentally friendly, and expanding into new markets. We are looking at another 20 full-time equivalent positions in our PEI facilities to support our continued growth.
“We are continuing our capital and facilities expansion and we are increasing lyophilizer capacity. We are also continuing to drive our Six Sigma and Lean training by hiring a dedicated continuous improvement manager to run that department.
“Through COVID-19, we have continued to work and to expand. We have got the steel and panels up and the floor poured on a new addition. Currently in progress is a multimillion-dollar capital project to purchase and install two new lyophilizers.”
Lyophilization is a process that removes moisture from a drug to make it chemically stable and allow longer shelf life.
“Our company is all about continuous improvement. We train and encourage our employees to look for ways to improve the sites. We have developed communication routes for employees to bring their ideas forward and be part of the improvement process. Employees are rewarded for ideas that improve any part of the operation.”
For more information about Sekisui, visit www.sekisuidiagnostics.com
Long-standing PEI bioscience company is growing and hiring
Sekisui Diagnostics is an international bioscience firm with locations in the US, UK, Germany, and in the West Royalty Industrial Park on PEI. The Charlottetown operation is one of its largest, and produces clinical chemistry reagents used in hospitals and clinics around the world.
“When patients get their blood tested, we make the clinical chemistry reagents that are mixed with the blood to determine such conditions as high cholesterol or high blood sugar,” says Rachel Miller, Senior Human Resources Business Partner. “In addition to making the reagents, we test, package, and ship them to customers.”
About the staff
There are 137 full-time permanent staff members, and 20 to 25 full-time temporary staff. Most people work during the day, but depending on customer demands, sometimes they run an evening shift from 4:30 pm to 12:30 am.
Staff members range from new hires to people who have worked for the company for up to 43 years. “A couple of people are retiring during the next couple of years, which is an opportunity to bring new people into the organization and for present staff to progress in their career,” says Rachel.
“Bilingualism is not required, but would certainly be a bonus. We are a Japanese company, and one woman in our purchasing department speaks Japanese. We also have a Japanese expat from Sekisui Japan who works at our site.”
“Most of our open positions are in Operations, Packaging, and Quality Control,” says Rachel. As of September 2019, 15 open positions were available:
- Associate Quality Compliance Specialist
- Associate Director of Quality Assurance
- Quality Compliance Specialist
- Regulatory Affairs Specialist
- IT Technical Support Analyst
- Packaging Associates (11 positions)
Other positions at Sekisui
- QC Technologists
- Process Technicians
- Shipping & Receiving Associates
- Research Associates
Wages and benefits
Sekisui offers a competitive compensation package including medical and dental benefits, life insurance, bonuses, and RRSPs.
Requirements for some technical jobs at Sekisui can require a Bachelors or Masters degree in Science (Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Medical Technology) or related discipline. Relevant industry experience is also needed, as well as good communication skills.
Other positions, such as Packaging, require a high school diploma.
“We have a volunteer time off policy which gives each employee 40 hours a year to volunteer at the organization of their choice.”
Sekisui has partnered with Island Nature Trust where staff has had the opportunity to do beach clean-ups and plant trees and Marram grass on the Island’s dunes. “We like to give our staff an opportunity to make the world a better place.”
Most difficult position to fill
“Scientific positions requiring a Bachelors or Masters degree are most difficult to fill. In addition, we are looking for work experience, and sometimes need to look off-Island for suitable candidates.
“I started working here four years ago, and recruitment was not as challenging as it is today, due to the economic growth on PEI.”
How do you attract, develop and retain staff?
“We work with Holland College to take on one or two OJT students from the Bioscience Technology program to work in our Quality Control department annually. Most of the time, we hire them full-time or in a temporary role.
“We try to invest in our people by providing training and development opportunities so that they will stay and grow with the company.”
Best way to get your foot in the door
“All our positions are posted on our website, which is the best form for applying,” says Rachel.
“I work closely with the PEI BioAlliance, who refers candidates from time to time. We also get a lot of employee referrals. If a person is hired and passes their probationary period, the employee who referred them will receive a cash bonus.”
All potential candidates should apply through the company website at www.sekisuidiagnostics.com.
“We contact applicants if we are interested in moving forward with them. We do a pre-screening phone call to discuss their background, their experience, and their salary expectations.”
Typical interview questions
- What do you know about our company? “Check our website to find out what we do.”
- Tell us about your past job experience that relates to the job you are applying for.
- What are your strengths and how do they relate to the job?
- Would you enjoy working in our fast-paced manufacturing site?
- Why should we hire you instead of someone else?
- What is your salary expectations?
When working for the company, what are the keys to successful employment?
“Successful employees are engaged and enjoy what they do, and enjoy making a difference. The company will invest in them and give them the opportunity to grow their career here. We would like everyone to stay long-term, and it is our job as a company to give them the opportunity.”
What will the work within your company look like in five years?
“The company continues to grow at an accelerated rate, demanding more resources to keep up with world demand.”
For more information, visit www.sekisuidiagnostics.com.
Check out this video on Sekisui Diagnostics: