“Train­ing cus­tomer team is ab­so­lutely crit­i­cal”

T. Anil Ku­mar, Pres­i­dent, Wa­ters In­dia Pvt Ltd

BioSpectrum (India) - - BIO CONTENT - T. Anil Ku­mar, Pres­i­dent, Wa­ters In­dia Pvt Ltd

Founded by Jim Wa­ters in 1958, Wa­ters Cor­po­ra­tion serves life, ma­te­ri­als and food sciences through a con­nected port­fo­lio of chro­matog­ra­phy, mass spec­trom­e­try, and ther­mal anal­y­sis in­no­va­tions. Wa­ters Cor­po­ra­tion is the world’s lead­ing spe­cialty mea­sure­ment com­pany fo­cused on im­prov­ing hu­man health and well be­ing through the ap­pli­ca­tion of ad­vanced an­a­lyt­i­cal sci­ence tech­nolo­gies. Es­tab­lished in 1985, Wa­ters In­dia Pvt Ltd has made a name for it­self in the list of top ser­vice providers of Sci­en­tific In­stru­ments, in In­dia. Wa­ters In­dia has a huge rep­u­ta­tion for qual­ity prod­ucts. It is highly fo­cused or­gan­i­sa­tion in terms of top line and bot­tom line. Re­spected among peer com­pa­nies for set­ting high stan­dards in terms of busi­ness op­er­a­tions. Re­cently T. Anil Ku­mar took charge as the Pres­i­dent, from K V Venu­gopalan, who re­tired as Pres­i­dent and Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Wa­ters In­dia af­ter work­ing for the past 21 years. Venu­gopalan was re­spon­si­ble for the suc­cess and growth of the com­pany as well as its grow­ing num­ber of em­ploy­ees. BioSpec­trum spoke to Anil Ku­mar about his re­ac­tion af­ter be­ing named pres­i­dent of the com­pany and his plans for the com­pany. Edited ex­cerpts;

What was your first re­ac­tion af­ter be­ing named be­ing named as Pres­i­dent, Wa­ters In­dia?

Re­spon­si­bil­ity….it’s a huge re­spon­si­bil­ity of run­ning a very suc­cess­ful or­gan­i­sa­tion. When you step into shoes of an in­dus­try stal­wart as tall as K.V.Venu­gopalan, ex-Pres­i­dent, you re­alise shoes are too big to fill! On that day, Chris O’Con­nell, CEO, Wa­ters Cor­po­ra­tion told me to ‘stand up and de­liver’. As it was more than a year long search for new Pres­i­dent with internal and ex­ter­nal can­di­dates; it con­stantly re­minds you the re­spon­si­bil­ity en­trusted.

What is the cur­rent sta­tus of the com­pany in terms of staff, sales rev­enue, etc.?

Wa­ters is priv­i­leged to have high­est em­ployee loy­alty with a mid-sin­gle digit at­tri­tion. Cre­at­ing an en­vi­ron­ment of trans­parency, trust and fair­ness go a long way in fos­ter­ing in­trapreneurial cul­ture. Har­ness­ing in­trapreneurial spirit to cre­ate value for the or­gan­i­sa­tion re­quires con­certed ef­forts by both em­ploy­ees and man­agers. One of the strate­gic pri­or­i­ties of the com­pany is ‘peo­ple fo­cussed’. De­vel­op­ing lead­ers for the chal­lenges of the or­gan­i­sa­tion is the top pri­or­ity. With a CAGR of 17 per cent for last four years, we are one of the fastest grow­ing an­a­lyt­i­cal com­pa­nies in In­dia with 320+ em­ploy­ees and 2/3rds of them on cus­tomer support func­tion.

What is the po­si­tion of the com­pany in sup­plier busi­ness /mar­ket in In­dia?

We are po­si­tioned as spe­cialty Mea­sure­ment Com­pany de­liv­er­ing ben­e­fit through in­no­va­tion and peo­ple that en­able cus­tomer suc­cess in life, ma­te­rial and food sciences. For over 60 years, Wa­ters has de­vel­oped in­no­va­tive an­a­lyt­i­cal sci­ence solutions to support cus­tomers in op­er­a­tions, per­for­mance and reg­u­la­tory com­pli­ance. Wa­ters’ chro­matog­ra­phy and mass spec­trom­e­try in­stru­ments, soft­ware and con­sum­ables have rev­o­lu­tion­ized lab­o­ra­tory dependent or­gan­i­sa­tions by de­liv­er­ing prac­ti­cal and sus­tain­able op­er­a­tions. In a global, in­ter­con­nected world full of ques­tions, Wa­ters prod­uct de­liv­ers ‘con­fi­dence’.

What are your views on the cur­rent sta­tus of the life sciences (pharma/ biotech / med­i­cal tech/ di­ag­nos­tics) in­dus­try in In­dia?

In­dian pharma in­dus­try has grown leaps and bounds in the last three decades. In­dia is largest pro­ducer of generic drugs glob­ally. Also, In­dia sup­plies 50 per cent of global de­mand for var­i­ous vac­cines. In 2017, In­dian phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try is val­ued at $33 bil­lion and is ex­pected to reach

$55 bil­lion by 2020. In­dian phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal ex­ports stood at $17.3 bil­lion. This trans­lates to 40 per cent generic de­mand in US and 25 per cent of all medicines in UK. In­dian pharma will get boost as branded drugs worth $55 bil­lion will go off-patent dur­ing 2017-19.

How do you see the life sciences (pharma/ biotech / med­i­cal tech/ di­ag­nos­tics) in­dus­try in In­dia in the com­ing years? Medicine spend­ing in In­dia is ex­pected to in­crease at 9-12 per cent CAGR be­tween 2018 and 22 to $26-30 bil­lion, driven by in­creas­ing con­sumer spend­ing, rapid ur­ban­i­sa­tion, and rais­ing health­care in­sur­ance among oth­ers.

Go­ing for­ward, bet­ter growth in do­mes­tic sales would also de­pend on the abil­ity of com­pa­nies to align their prod­uct port­fo­lio to­wards chronic ther­a­pies for dis­eases such as such as car­dio­vas­cu­lar, anti-di­a­betes, anti-de­pres­sants and anti-can­cers that are on the rise. In­dia’s biotech­nol­ogy in­dus­try com­pris­ing bio-phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, bio-ser­vices, bio-agri­cul­ture, bio-in­dus­try and bioin­for­mat­ics is ex­pected grow at an av­er­age growth rate of around 30 per cent a year and reach $100 bil­lion by 2025.

What are the chal­lenges be­fore the com­pany in these in­dus­tries?

Chal­lenges are dif­fer­ent in each in­dus­try seg­ment. One com­mon chal­lenge is train­ing. Whether it is hard­ware or soft­ware, train­ing cus­tomer team is ab­so­lutely crit­i­cal to put the in­stru­ments to best use. With Em­power soft­ware which is in­dus­try stan­dard for al­most two decades, it is eas­ier to train peo­ple as some amount of fa­mil­iar­ity al­ready ex­ists in the in­dus­tries. There must be at least 50,000 chemists who are cur­rently using Em­power in the in­dus­try which is very unique in the in­dus­try.

How do you see com­pe­ti­tion in the mar­ket? How are you plan­ning to dis­tin­guish your com­pany’s prod­ucts / brand with oth­ers’ brand for your cus­tomers?

We are known by longevity of the in­stru­ments life span. Our in­stru­ments de­liver re­sults day af­ter day, year af­ter year. It is not an ex­ag­ger­a­tion, decade af­ter decade our cus­tomer gets re­pro­ducible re­sults with the same in­stru­ment which is ab­so­lutely es­sen­tial for the in­dus­try we are op­er­at­ing in. Though, we con­stantly fo­cus on prod­uct de­vel­op­ment and im­prove qual­ity of our in­stru­ment time to time but gen­er­ally we don’t dis­con­tinue the prod­ucts that eas­ily. This shows true man­u­fac­tur­ing and QC ca­pa­bil­ity of Wa­ters. For eg, Wa­ters —Bon­da­pak columns are pro­duced even to­day whereas it was launched more than 25 years ago. Our Em­power soft­ware is more than two decades. Our Al­liance HPLC is the gold stan­dard and our cus­tomers vouch on Al­liance for decades now, for first time right re­sults. Mea­sure sys­tems vari­abil­ity is very high in the in­dus­try but from Wa­ters end, we make it con­stant at one end so that trou­ble shoot­ing be­comes eas­ier. It is very apt to say, the more we change, the more we re­main the same. Our peo­ple, whether it is support en­gi­neer or ap­pli­ca­tion spe­cial­ist will un­dergo con­stant train­ing for at least 30-45 days a year to en­sure what I call a True Knowl­edge Part­ner to bench chemist. Our cus­tomers throw chal­lenges at our ap­pli­ca­tion teams and they come out suc­cess­ful al­most ev­ery time.

Rich his­tory of fo­cus, in­no­va­tion and growth. Wa­ters’ his­tory goes back to 1958 when Jim

Wa­ters set out to de­velop made-to-or­der spe­cialty in­stru­ments. His first break­throughs were made work­ing along­side chem­i­cal gi­ants like Dow, DuPont and Goodrich. The word in­no­va­tion is syn­ony­mous with Wa­ters. Our track record is re­ally a se­ries of in­no­va­tion firsts that cre­ated new stan­dards of mea­sure­ment in mak­ing the world a bet­ter, safer, and cleaner place.

What are your plans to take the com­pany to next level?

As far as In­dia is con­cerned, our in­vest­ment is in our peo­ple. It may sur­prise you that only 40 per cent of our busi­ness is thru’ in­stru­ment sale and rest is, ap­plied tech­nolo­gies of in­for­mat­ics, chemistries and ex­pert ser­vice. Our plan is to en­hance this cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence so that our cus­tomers take full ad­van­tage of the in­no­va­tive prod­ucts we bring into mar­ket.

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