A success story from Morocco - SOTHEMA
SOTHEMA is a fast growing pharmaceutical company based in the region of Casablanca, Morocco. The very beginning of SOTHEMA project started in 1976 with the production of a toothpaste and mouthwash as main activity. The portfolio of the laboratory consisted in only two references and the number of employees didn’t exceed 10 people.
In 1980, SOTHEMA built its first real factory of 2600 m² covered area in the industrial zone of Bouskoura, located about 20 km from Casablanca. Alongside this investment, SOTHEMA recruited new partner laboratories leaders in scientific research. Thanks to these partnerships, SOTHEMA managed to launch new types of drugs on the Moroccan market and has built a specialist position in several activities. Indeed, SOTHEMA started in 1983 the production of insulin. A few years later, SOTHEMA began the production of serum in flexible pouches and eye-drops. Its industrial site has undergone numerous extensions to reach the covered surface of 65,000 m² with 5 production units like the unit of cephalosporins and another one for injected drugs. Thanks to technologies, know-how of its employees and manufacturing quality recognized by the major international laboratories, SOTHEMA is now the leading Moroccan laboratory in shaping for 33 foreign clients and a leader in export. In the future, the company will make more value added biotechnology products such as vaccines and anti-hepatic. Today SOTHEMA is a company with strong values and assets. Its IPO in 2005 made it the first Moroccan pharmaceutical laboratory listed on the stock exchange. This will give SOTHEMA access to larger financing possibilities for the future expansion of the group in Morocco and abroad.
Export and opening factories abroad
A large and growing part of the company’s production is destined to exportation, mainly to the north and west of Africa but also to Europe, and Persian Gulf. One of the company’s ambitions is to expand in the future on American and European markets thanks to free trade agreements signed by Morocco. To stimulate its foreign development on the African continent, SOTHEMA decided to set up a subsidiary in Senegal. That’s how WEST AFRIC PHARMA opened recently a 4000 m² factory - fully equipped with the highest quality standards of the pharmaceutical industry - which is dedicated to the production of generic drugs for the west African markets. This huge project which will help Senegal to be self-sufficient in the drug production was launched a few years ago but the industrial production just started at the end of 2010.
The main strength of the company: the quality
According to SOTHEMA’s CEO Omar TAZI, the reputation of the company and its products is the first priority: « At SOTHEMA, we know what really count is not what we say about ourselves but rather what is said about us and what we do. » Sothema’s production is submitted to a series of controls implemented internally and by principal laboratories and external organisms. They are determining since they allow SOTHEMA to guarantee the conformity of its fabrication with the most recognized standards of quality in the pharmaceutical field. This recognition binds the moral responsibility of the enterprise regarding its partners. Besides the accreditations by the European agencies such as the AFSSAP and INFARMED, SOTHEMA is certified in conformity with the pharmaceutical norms GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices). From a commercial point of view, SOTHEMA is also certified in conformity with the ISO 9001 version 2000 standard. Thanks to these international recognitions of its high quality standards, SOTHEMA has the confidence of several major companies of the sector which entrust a part of their production to SOTHEMA’s factories.
A company proud of its people
As a technological company, SOTHEMA’s main resource is its staff which reach today more than 850 people including 100 managers. With its particular philosophy concerning the human resources management, SOTHEMA makes of the employee its top priority. It also endeavors to maintain the respect and the rigorous implementation of the procedures as well as their simplification. Objective: to facilitate the implementation of tasks and humanize the relations between the Sothemians. The human resources policy of SOTHEMA is based on strong values of respect for employees, trust and demand. The stages of HR process are : recruitment, training, career management, etc. The integration of new employees in SOTHEMA is made according to their training, experience and also their human potential. For the common interest, the employees can choose their mission. Coaching is a variable that cannot be dissociated from the SOTHEMA’s HR policy. Indeed, the managers are close to their teams in order to help them in the accomplishment of their tasks. They regularly and rigorously follow the process of the mission of each member. As Mr. Omar Tazi says the personal involvement of SOTHEMA’s employees is very important : «With the Sothemians, we form a real family that really believes in our motto “Energies for life”. »
An environment friendly company
SOTHEMA has established a system for environmental and industrial security in conformity with the international norms in terms of protection of the environment and industrial security. The existence of a HES department (Health Environment & Security) is a proof that the company has adopted the culture of security. A real warning, this department works in synergy with all the elements composing the organization of SOTHEMA. It works to maintain security for all the employees, reduce the risk of industrial accidents, clean and treat toxic waste resulting from the production stage. Bouskoura’s wadi was in danger because of the industrial zone but SOTHEMA built a waste water treatment plant in order to preserve the nature. For the same reasons, SOTHEMA decided that a large part of its 6 hectares land in Bouskoura will remain unbuilt to let some free space for nature. SOTHEMA also created the Omar TAZI’s foundation (from the name of its president and founder) which will promote and finance charity projects in area of health, culture and micro-finance.
SOTHEMA and European market
At the European level, the dynamic of the concentrations of pharmaceutical companies is still ongoing. The European laboratories are involved in more and more R & D and neglect the industry. For a laboratory like SOTHEMA, this represents an opportunity to grab as they introduce itself as a major industrial partner for these companies. According to SOTHEMA, European pharmaceutical companies have much to gain by working with it for production contracts and promotion in Morocco and Africa where it has an outstanding presence.