Mitul Shah, CEO, LabGuard India, in an interaction with Express Pharma talks about LabGuard’s future growth prospects
Labguard India is in the market since the last 30+ years. How has the journey been so far?
Prakash Sansare took voluntary retirement from Mazagon Docks to fulfill his dream of addressing the engineering industry’s most challenging problems. The journey has been nothing short of an adventure. What started as an opportunity to design and make import substitute has now become an industry in itself.
Prakash Sansare was joined by his elder son Salil after graduation (VJTI Production) and contributed towards establishing market reach as well as customer interface. The younger son Swapnil, an electronics engineer soon joined with the focus on automation and product design. Soon thereafter, Ajay Kanekar joined to lead the overall operations as the business was growing. Salil and Swapnil eventually moved on to pursue their own career aspirations in respective areas of interests.
The current leadership team has been with the organisation in thick and thin for almost a decade. I joined eight months back as the CEO after spending 13 years with organisations like Aditya Birla Group and Prince Piping System. It was a home coming for me as I had started my professional career as the Production Engineer at this organisation after passing out from VJTI and then moved on to pursue higher studies (MBA from JBIMS). Sans family has been my local guardian during engineering and MBA days.
Today, LabGuard has metamorphosed into a force to reckon with and has built an enviable national and global reputation. Prakash Sansare has been the driving force behind the tremendous equity for product quality and LabGuard’s reputation built over the years.
Tell us about your new product launches. How are the products unique from your competitors?
Research and development is always a work in process for ever evolving target audience that we cater to. Continuous engagement with research fraternity, end users and others in the ecosystem gives us insights into product design. It is our endeavour to offer new designs and work concepts to the end user keeping safety, functionality and productivity in mind all the time. During the last two years, we have successfully launched and scaled up some key products.
- Adventa helps optimise space and aids ease of maintenance of the fume hood.
- PP storage cabinets not only add to performance but increase aesthetics of the workspace.
- Custom made furniture to suit individual lab and end user culture has been our specialisation and therefore, each solution is unique in itself.
Customers today want one stop shop for their needs and we have successfully completed lab sets ups for prestigious clients.
We are always on the lookout for adopting technological advances to meet latent customer needs; adopting auto fire-extinguishers, auto work area in fume hood closures as well as maximising flexibility in furniture with available and easy to maintain technology has been our contribution for the Indian industry.
Who are your major pharma clients?
Difficult to choose a few in this limited space. Suffice to say that all major pharma companies have been our clients. Not just pharma companies, we also service industries such as chemical (petroleum, speciality, agro, etc), FMCG, Flavours & fragrances, paints and dyestuff, engineering, energy, manufacturing, mines and minerals, healthcare (hospitals). We also provide service to leading research institutes, educational institutes, standards and certification agencies.
What will be your growth strategy in the next three years?
Growth will be driven by targeting non-traditional markets/ end user applications and embedding more technology in our products for safer and more productive work environments. Investment would be in sourcing technology and augmenting manufacturing capability.
Investment is not just about creating physical assets;
- We are targeting to create brand loyalty through actively engaging with key stakeholders to offer solutions for day-to-day problems through product design, servicing and offering one-stop solution for establishing labs like civil interior, MEP and design and consulting services.
- We are investing in our future users by conducting free sessions at various universities, schools for good lab practices.
- Investing in human capital by skill building and employee engagement are our focus areas. It is noteworthy that workmen that we employ at our factory are from local farming community who have been trained in their respective trades
- Investment does not stop at internal stakeholders alone. We go extra mile to support community around us and have set up labs in schools in Aadivasi cluster through social organisations as part of our social responsibility. We take pride in supporting clients for their social commitments in their respective neighbourhoods for setting up labs for schools and colleges.
Do you plan to launch new facilities?
We have already commissioned new assembly shops and are working on enhancing sheet metal processing capacity at existing facility. We have launched modern training- cum-conference facility at our factory for our staff as well as customers. For further facility expansion, we are going for hybrid model in the short term; wherein we have tied up with partners for optimising supply chain and improving lead time as we scale up operations across geographies.
Are there any plans to venture into foreign shores?
We are already present across geographies and our products have been our brand ambassadors as most orders have been through referrals. However, we are looking at forging collaborations and tie-ups with local representatives in target markets. We are very conscious about compatibility of culture while exploring such collaborations.