Internal Newsletter

Bedrocan out of Canada

Bedrocan products are no longer available in Canada. Last year, the cooperation with the holding company Canopy Growth Corporation, which was allowed to grow and sell cannabis under the name Bedrocan Canada in that North-American country, was terminated.

There had been tensions between the management of Canopy Growth and the management of Bedrocan International for some time. These tensions were largely due to Canopy’s intentions to enter the recreational market in Canada. Since October 2018, recreational cannabis has been permitted alongside medicinal cannabis. Bedrocan did not want to have its reputation associated with this in any way, shape or form. Together with a firm of solicitors, our Legal Counsel Robert Rademaker conducted several intensive negotiations on this issue over the past year. “Bedrocan wanted to end the relationship with Canopy in Canada. Important legal proceedings that included clear agreements were played out behind the scenes.”

Licence

Bedrocan International had issued a licence to Bedrocan Canada, a subsidiary of Canopy. With this licence, Bedrocan Canada was able to serve the Canadian market and cultivate medicinal cannabis using the Bedrocan cultivation method. This licence has now been withdrawn and agreements for the future have been reached. A so-called moratorium, which is sort of penalty clause, stipulates that Bedrocan may not do business in Canada and South America for a specific period of time. By now all the agreements have been signed and the parties will split no later than on 31 December 2018.

Tjalling on Tour returns next year

Our CEO likes to maintain contact with the employees on the work floor. So next year, Tjalling Erkelens will inform personnel of the latest developments at special get-togethers. An English session will be set up for the English-speaking employees.

At the Tjalling on Tour meeting you can ask Tjalling all sorts of questions. The last session for this year is scheduled for Wednesday 19 December 2018.

English meeting

The English meetings are new to ensure that the Business Development Team and the other English-speaking colleagues are kept in the loop. You can listen in on a video link. The meetings in Emmeloord and Veendam are in Dutch. You will receive an official invitation with the times via Outlook. Employees in processing and cultivation will receive their invites from the Team Leaders.

 

Dates
Wednesday 20 March
Wednesday 19 June
Wednesday 25 September
Wednesday 18 December

What do you do when the fire alarm goes off?

Occasionally you can hear a fire alarm in Bedrocan. What should you do as employee? Do you stay put and wait for instructions or do you take a look to see what is going on?

According to Petra Amsinga, one of the First Responders in Bedrocan, it is all very simple. “As employee you immediately go outside and proceed to the designated assembly point. The same applies to personnel wearing special clothing. They don’t need to change first. Just go outside, in the suit.”

The assembly point is recognisable by a green sign with puppets and arrows. So far, it has always been a false alarm. According to Petra this is not always easy to assess for an employee. Particularly when you’re in processing. ”They don’t see and hear everything. Even in the office you don’t know what is happening behind or below.”

Some Bedrocan employees have had special training and may call themselves First Responders. In that role they are responsible for evacuating employees and visitors. They know how to deal with a starting fire and how to give first aid. Everyone, employees and visitors, is obliged to comply with the instructions from First Responders.

The following Bedrocan employees have been trained as First Responders.

A2 – Veendam A5 – Emmeloord

Petra Amsinga

Ilse Andringa

Gaby Arends

Lia van Es

Hilde Haveman

Peter Kort

Hedwig Wijkenga

Manon Kuiper
 

Boaz Kwakman

Stable foundation for Operations

The year 2018 is coming to an end, and it has been a turbulent year for Operations. “It has been a bumpy year”, summarises Plant Manager Willem Mink. But…we’ve managed to lay stable foundations. Willem looks back and looks ahead.

By Willem Mink

Jaap Erkelens took the reins at Operations Nederland this year. With support from Tjalling and the MT, the organisation in the Netherlands has been redesigned completely. Now we’re able to say that we have stable foundations.

Production is running at full speed and we improve day by day in terms of the quality and the quantity of our product. We are also improving in the GMP arena.

New QA Department

Naiem set up a completely new QA Department, and the entire QMS was given a make-over. So now we are working with new batch records, and all work instructions, forms and documents have been reviewed and amended where necessary. The quality employees are visible on the work floor on a regular basis in order to raise GMP awareness to even greater levels.

Gonneke has been appointed as Training Coordinator, and makes sure everyone is trained properly.

Good batches

Despite the unrest, good quality batches continued to be produced week in week out. All the employees in the nursery and in processing deserve a compliment for that feat. Together we put all hands to the pump to ensure we could produce and deliver.

As of 1 November, I’m at the helm of Bedrocan Nederland. Together with team leaders Ralph and Ilse we hope to return calm to Operations, because the next challenges are around the corner. The global demand for our products is growing and we need to, want to, grow to continue meeting that demand.

We’re looking forward to it, are you?

I would like to use this opportunity to wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year.

2019 – here we come!

Bedrocan introduces new jobs

As of 1 December, a number of Bedrocan Nederland employees have new responsibilities. That is accompanied by an appropriate job description of course. Here is an overview.

Team leaders Operations

Bedrocan Nederland has two Operations Team Leaders, and they are Ralph Steele and Ilse Andringa. Ralph is responsible for cultivation A5. He is also responsible for Facility* at all sites of Bedrocan Nederland. He is supported by Boaz Kwakman, who is Assistant Team Leader Facility. The job of Assistant Team Leader Cultivation A5 is still vacant at the time of writing.

Under the supervision of the plant manager, Ralph is also responsible for the systems of both production sites.

Assistant Team Leaders

Ilse is responsible for processing A5 and Operations (cultivation and processing) at A2. In Veendam she is supported by Assistant Team Leader Operations Gaby Arends. An Assistant Team Leader Processing A5 has been found and will be announced in the next newsletter.

Training Coordinator

This year, a training programme was started to keep the knowledge level of employees up to date. This programme was coordinated by Gonneke Hulshof, who has been appointed officially as Training Coordinator as of 1 December.

More changes in Veendam

In Veendam, Hilde Haveman and Hedwig Wijkenga divide their time between the Processing A2 and Facility departments. Finally, Helmi de Boer made the move from Processing A2 to Cultivation A2.

*According to Wikipedia, Ralph, Boaz, Hilde and Hedwig will work on ‘managing and controlling the supporting activities for the benefit of the primary process of an organisation and for the other supporting activities’. For Bedrocan Nederland ‘Facility’ means for example purchasing, stock management, maintaining contacts and contracts with external companies, telephone service, receiving and supporting visitors, cleaning and maintaining public areas (canteens and expedition).

Name Job Title

Ilse Andringa

Team Leader Processing A5 & A2 + Cultivation A2

Gaby Arends Assistant Team Leader Operations

Helmi de Boer

Cultivation A2

Hilde Haveman

Processing A2 and Facility
Gonneke Hulshof

Training Coordinator

Boaz Kwakman

Assistant Team Leader Facility

Ralph Steele

Team Leader Cultivation A5 & Team Leader Facility A5 & A2

Hedwig Wijkenga

Processing A2 and Facility

Vacant

Assistant Team Leader Processing A5

Vacant

Assistant Team Leader Cultivation A5

QA full steam ahead

“We’ve taken major steps over the past few months”

‘Smooth’, is how Naiem Hakiemi, who has a dual role as QA Manager and QA Director, describes the current situation of quality assurance and GMP. “Since we put our foot on the GMP pedal last summer, we’ve done a lot of good work and now we’ve entered calmer waters”, he concluded.

“We paid attention to two areas. First of all the daily production activities of Operations. We started with a new team in order to support the production employees in safety and quality matters in the best possible way. We have noticed that this is working; there are fewer incidents and fewer non-conformities. At the same time we have implemented changes, such as the formula of the plant feed, and Gonneke Hulshof set up a training programme. It just went smoothly! Validating the equipment consumed a lot of time and energy. A team of people, including Dolf and Johan Erkelens, Nino Rakic, Frane Šunjic, Tom Wilson, Marc Meulenberg, Sjoerd Loonstra and Bob Vos, worked really hard on that.”

Expansion A5

The expansion of A5 was another area of attention, as the right-hand side of the site will be commissioned to plan in 2019. We prepared a draft plan and, in contrast to previous new-build projects, QA was involved from the beginning. “We learned lessons from the previous new-build projects”, says Naiem. “QA plays its own role in the process; we express our view right from the beginning. It means you end up with a detailed plan that works in terms of functionality, ICT and finance, but also for quality and safety. Some parts of the new facility will look quite different, such as the water and air-treatment system (HVAC). It reduces the risk of the kind of subsequent improvement actions we had to deal with last year.”

QA team

The QA team has gained shape in the meantime. Earlier this year, Quality Officer Petra Amsinga and quality employees Monique Jager, Cassandra Weerman and Alwayn Bacas were given temporary appointments. After a trial period, where both sides looked whether this worked or not, they have been included permanently in the QA team. Naiem is really pleased with it all. “In the past we struggled to find the right people. Last summer we decided to recruit them from our own ranks and to train them on the job. These are people who already know Bedrocan’s processes and who are motivated to make their contribution to quality assurance in all production processes. Over the past few months the team has done a lot of work and they have done well. All sorts of improvements have been implemented and we already experience more calm on the work floor. Now we can start working on continuous improvement and in principle we are ready for any audit of any kind.”

GMP audit

The organisation is still waiting for the audit by the Health and Youth Care Inspectorate (IGJ), the government body that grants or withdraws our GMP certificate. This audit has been postponed until further order, but Naiem says that should make no difference. “We need to be good enough for an audit at any time; that is our duty to patients and healthcare professionals. In principle, the IGJ can decide to let an audit loose on us at any time, just like pharmaceutical companies who purchase raw materials from us via the OMC. That shouldn’t make us nervous any more, as long as we keep our affairs in order. We’ve taken major steps over the past few months.”

Another Christmas bonus!

The Bedrocan Board will be paying a Christmas bonus to all employees this year. It amounts to € 75 net and will be paid together with the salaries of Bedrocan Nederland in period 12. For employees of Bedrocan International it will be paid in December 2018.

Monday 24 December – ugly Christmas jumper day

You are sure to have one in your wardrobe somewhere, one of those ugly Christmas jumpers with a reindeer. To get into the spirit on Christmas Eve, facility employee Boaz Kwakman is asking everyone to wear an ugly Christmas jumper on Monday the 24th.

“It would be great if everyone joined in. Otherwise I’d be the only idiot in a daft jumper”, explained Boaz. He can be recognised by a blue jumper with a broken gingerbread man. If you don’t have a Christmas jumper, Boaz tells they are available from Primark for next to nothing. If you’re looking for a luxury version, check out superfout.nl.

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