Pharmaceutical automation had its start right here in Central Louisiana. And Manchac Technologies in downtown Alexandria is carrying on the tradition of revolutionizing the industry.
The company has developed its own pharmacy workflow solution, the DOSIS Systems, dispensing towers that work like vending machines, and created the software that operates them. Manchac makes these towers specifically for closed-door pharmacies like those in nursing homes, corrections facilities or hospitals which are their primary customers.
These towers help staff at those facilities distribute blister-card medication in an accurate and timely manner to patients. Blister cards are the packets in which pills are individually packaged.
All the work from the development of the high tech hardware, software, design work, assembly work and support work takes place right here in Alexandria. The finished products are distributed to about 300 closed-door pharmacies across the country.
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Formed in 2006 by its president Monroe Milton, Manchac Technologies currently employs about 80 workers in production, product support, account managers, sales, on-site trainers and service engineers.
Manchac has openings for a customer-support technician, on-site product specialist field technician, on-site services dispatcher, software engineer, manufacturing technician and a shipping and receiving clerk. You can learn more about the jobs at manchac.com
What do applicants need to apply for a job?
Manchac recruits people they feel have aptitude, said Kris Hickman in the company's human resources department. Applicants do have to meet some requirements but the business likes to be opened minded as well. Being "too stuck in a box" makes it hard to recruit, she said.
Jay Palin, chief operating officer. said there is a training module for each position that each employee has to go through.
"Obviously our tower is very specific so we would be training on what we do," Palin said.
Not all applicants need a college degree but it depends on the job for which they are applying. Engineers, said Palin, would need degrees whereas someone working in shipping and receiving would not.
Manufacturing technicians who build and assemble the internal units of the DOSIS machine only need a high school diploma but would need mechanical or electrical training. A background in automation or robotics would be helpful.
"Any kind of manufacturing-type skills because we want people that aren't afraid to turn a wrench," said Palin.
Since they service closed-door pharmacies, Palin said it is helpful if some applicants have experience as a pharmacy technician.
"We've had several of those here who have been very successful," he said.
With the support desk personnel, they would like them to have some mechanical or software engineering.
"And not necessarily a degree, just some experience in it," said Palin
What they are looking for are applicants who are computer literate or mechanically inclined with a willingness to be trained.
Lauren Seawood of Natchitoches has worked as a product support specialist for two years. She graduated in 2019 from Northwestern State University with a degree in business administration.
She has basic computer knowledge such as Microsoft Systems and knows how to navigate a computer.
Her days consist of answering phone calls, documenting customer issues and resolving them through the ticketing system SUITE.
"I troubleshoot dispensing issues with the DOSIS machines," she explained.
There are many aspects she likes about her job but one in particular stands out.
"The education part of it is really my favorite part because after I'm educated, I'm able to educate the customer on what I know," said Seawood.
She also likes the DOSIS machine because of the hardware, software and engineering that goes into it.
Her hours are 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
"I'm a Saturday person —willingly," she said.
Her co-worker Levi Malone, customer support, has been working at Manchac for over a year now. He is a 2012 graduate of Pineville High School.
He started his career in shipping and receiving.
"They pulled me from down there and put me in customer support," said Malone. He said he's a fast learner who knows how to talk with people.
In customer support, he answers calls from customers and assists them online as well with issues they have with the machines.
"We can log into the machine and make adjustments to it and basically just resolve the issue the machine or the customer is having - things of that nature," he said.
What he likes about working at Manchac is the atmosphere and the environment.
"It's a really relaxed work environment but efficient," said Malone.
Military people with the right type of experience are encouraged to apply.
"We have several veterans here," said Jay. They have about 20 who have some military experience.
Those who are interested in learning more about Manchac Technologies can visit their website, manchac.com
This article originally appeared on Alexandria Town Talk: Manchac Technologies looks for applicants willing to learn