DJA aims to cover all the pharmaceutical industry’s equipment needs, sourcing machines largely from India and Japan. The company has been built-up by Rusty Nelson, who isn’t your stereotypical general manager and vice-president.

“We’re like the Walmart of pharmaceutical,” Rusty explains “We’ve got everything and support everything.

“It’s all serviced in one place. You’ve got one place that you call, you don’t have to run around from vendor to vendor. You’ve got one spare parts source, you’ve got one service parts source. If you need more equipment, you’ve got one source. And we bring in quality machines with a low price. I won’t sell machines unless they’re high-quality.”

“We have a huge history of plant builds,” says Rusty. “Starting with Elomatic for concept design, I start putting the pieces together with Tapasya granulation suites, Snowbell sterile filling packaging machines, with Thermolab Stability Chambers, Accurate Machines blister packing, Parle bottle packaging, Propak multi-mixing vessels, and Maharshi labelling and printing.

“I’ve even got Pratham Technologies that does the paper folding for all the inserts and the outserts. I’ve added Electrolab Pharmaceuticals for the testing equipment and Komal process water systems. So I’m putting together an all-star team here, chiefly machines that are high-quality.”

A practical approach to machine sales

Unlike vice-presidents of many companies, Rusty is not strictly confined to a suit and the boardroom. He takes a more hands-on approach, regularly rolling up his sleeves to provide servicing and maintenance for the machines he sells.

“I sell machines and I still install them,” he says. “I take the service calls. I will always be a machine person.”

Doing it the right way

Around 20 years ago, Rusty was trying to sell visual tablet inspection machines in the US, but found there to be very little interest or demand for these systems. With sales proving a struggle, he opted to expand his business and offer multiple machines to the American market.

“I decided I’m going to do it the right way and I’m going to find very good vendors that have low prices and provide those here in the United States,” he says

“So I went to a number of vendors that I knew and had heard of and started talking about being a distributor for them. I started off with the Parle brand and packaging for tablet printing machines. Since then, I’ve added a number of vendors. I designed websites for them and started marketing their material.

“My objective is to be able to cover from concept design of a new factory or expansion, all the way through providing the equipment necessary for that factory and to also provide the services needed for that factory. To be a true one-stop-shop for the manufacturing of facilities and for CMOs and other pharmaceutical companies that don’t have the time, resources, and knowledge to be able to go out and seek all the equipment and  get them installed, validated and serviced.”

Paying for quality

Rusty warns that the current culture of spending the minimum amount possible on a product or service often comes back to haunt decision makers.

Although costs may be minimised in the short-term, higher expenditure is almost inevitable in the long-term. A failure to properly invest often results in machines breaking down, or running less efficiently than expected. As a result, it costs more money to maintain.

With DJA, Rusty says that the machines may cost a little more than a Chinese machine initially, but offer a greater return on investment over the longer term.

“We are an honest company and service is our number one objective,” he says. “The quality of the products we sell is guaranteed by me.”