“Training customer team is absolutely critical”
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.