Sterling Snapshot | James Rogers, EVP and Site Head at Dudley
29th Aug 2023
Executive Vice President and Site Head, James Rogers, has over 20 years of experience in pharmaceutical manufacturing, previously holding roles such as Vice President of Manufacturing and Supply Chain and Site Director. Read on to find out more about recent enhancements to our Dudley site and how our customers impact his day-to-day decision making.
Can you give us an overview of your career to date?
I was always interested in science at school and eventually I went on to study biologic sciences at the University of Birmingham. After university, I got a job as an Analyst at Abbott UK, before moving onto their graduate scheme. This provided me with various opportunities to move around departments, getting to know each business area. The experience I gained during this role was invaluable to my career development, acquiring skills in everything from chemistry to management.
In 2007, the site I worked at was purchased by Aesica. This provided me with a very different experience as I transitioned from working for a larger company to a smaller contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO) and so the work, dynamic and culture were all very different.
During my time at Aesica, I completed my master’s degree in Lean Operations at Cardiff University. This degree taught me the principles, tools and techniques of operational excellence and how to improve processes to meet customer needs which has greatly benefited me in my role today.
After my time at Aesica, I joined a company called BTG, which was an organisation originally to set-up to commercialise British intellectual property, but had moved to focus on healthcare, so I worked for them running a small site that manufactured sterile drug/ device combinations and medical devices, including a treatment for varicose veins.
I met Kevin Cook and Andrew Henderson for the first time when working at Aesica. I really resonated with Kevin’s values and liked where the business was heading, so when the opportunity arose to join them at Sterling I was very excited. I joined originally as Head of Manufacturing and Supply, and that title evolved as we began to acquire more global facilities, leading me on to become EVP and Site Head at our Dudley site.
It is my responsibility to ensure our site delivers for our customers, with a high degree of focus on health, safety, environment and quality. I want to ensure we meet, if not exceed, expectations in all these areas for our customers and our employees.
How has your previous experience supported you in your current role as EVP and Site Head?
Experience is incredibly important, as it helps guide your decision making and how you react to issues when they arise. I’ve been very lucky to work with great organisations and people, which has helped me develop a good understanding of what our customers expect from us and how we can support their projects.
Executive Vice President and Site Head, Dudley
MSc in Lean Operations, Cardiff University
BSc in Biologic Sciences, University of Birmingham
Can you discuss some of the recent enhancements to the Dudley site?
We’ve seen a large amount of investment into the site since our investors, GHO Healthcare, came on board in 2019. They’ve supported our facility’s growth by providing us with funding for various new plant capabilities, such as a dedicated Material Science Centre, as well as enhancing many of our existing capabilities and service offerings such as tadditional filter drying and blender drying capability and enhancements to our hydrogenation capabilities.
One enhancement at the site which we’re very proud of is our combined heat and power (CHP) plant. This takes gas and converts it to electricity to power our site. The heat generated from this process is then used to generate the site’s own electricity for its manufacturing, laboratory and office spaces, helping us avoid taking power from the grid, which is much more efficient. This is a key part of our environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives.
Another recent investment at the site is the introduction of our anaerobic digestion (AD) plant which adds to our existing wastewater treatment facilities. This plant allows us to treat higher strength waste via an anaerobic microbial reaction, which then generates biomethane. This gas is then cleaned of impurities and other compounds, compressed to match the grid’s pressure, and then is injected into the national gas grid as a renewable energy source. At full capacity, we estimate this will produce enough energy to power over 6,000 homes and reduce our CO2 emissions by 7,500 tonnes per year. The plant takes in our own waste from manufacturing processes at the Dudley site, and is also available commercially to treat other business’ waste.
How do you ensure we are meeting our customers requirements?
At Sterling, we very much take a partnership approach. This means understanding our customers’ needs and ensuring we meet our commitments to them. We aim to be flexible in order to help us meet our customers’ requirements, so we make sure to tailor our approach to how works best for our customers. Some customers want a high level of involvement whilst their project is with us, and other don’t want as frequent updates, so they can be as immersed in their project as they want to be.
We have a highly skilled team here at our Dudley site who possess a wealth of experience and who are continuously striving to provide the best service for our customers.”
What are some of your top priorities for the Dudley site?
Our main priority is safety. We always work to ensure that every action and interaction is done with the greatest amount of thought for the environment, health and safety (EHS) to ensure no harm comes to our people. I am accountable for the livelihood of over 600 people at the Dudley site, who look to myself and the Site Leadership Team to ensure that they are looked after and get home safely to their families.
Compliance is also always a top priority. We operate in a highly regulated environment for a reason, so we must ensure that we abide by these commitments by meeting and exceeding these obligations.
Delivery is also a key priority. We strive to deliver on our customers’ needs and ensure that everything we do benefits their project.
Beyond that, it’s about getting investments over the line to further support our customers and improve our own productivity and efficiency. We are always striving for continuous improvement.
What are some of the things that set Sterling’s Dudley site apart?
Capability wise, the Dudley site has a real speciality in hazardous chemistry. This experience and knowledge is a real asset to the site. We also have an incredibly robust new product introduction (NPI) process, which is tried and tested and based on teams of capable, empowered people.
Between 2022 and 2023 we put a new stage of chemistry onto plant every eight days. This is a huge achievement for our site and it was entirely down to the capability of our people and systems, and I am incredibly proud of our team here at Dudley.
Our people really are the thing that set our site, and Sterling as a whole, apart from other organisations. We have a highly skilled team here at our Dudley site who possess a wealth of experience and who are continuously striving to provide the best service for our customers.
What’s next for the Dudley site?
We want to continue to run a safe, environmentally conscious organisation, continue to be compliant, and continue to execute for our customers. We aim to continuously invest in our capabilities and capacity, to ensure we meet and exceed not only our customers’ needs, but their expectations.
It’s very important that we remember that the work we do impacts patients at the end of the line. It reminds us why we do what we do and brings a real sense of pride and achievement to our roles.