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The Path: Improving the process of improvement

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These days, more and more businesses seek to exploit an opportunity than fulfil a necessity. This is quite true in the case of pharma companies, where for a significant number of owners of pharma companies, ownership is all about investment. Experts have opined that the current pattern of rapid and unpredictable changes in business conditions as the ‘new normal’.

The Path: Leveraging Operations in a Complex and Chaotic World, a book authored by Shridhar Lolla, Coach – Operational Excellence, attempts to provide a business solution to one of the biggest social evils, i.e. sky-rocketing cost of medicines.

The book starts with the author meeting his school buddy on a flight when he gets to know how local pharma companies operate internally.

‘The Path’ is set in an operational war zone and it describes how teams are dealing with the ‘new normal,’ and emphasises that it is not about mastering an overwhelming number of improvement skill sets, but improving the process of improvement. It provides an outlook on how to achieve dramatic growth on an ongoing basis without taking costly trade-offs and burn-outs.

Title: The Path: Leveraging Operations in a complex and chaotic world
Author: Shridhar Lolla
Edited by: S Meera
Publisher: Productivity & Quality Publishing
Pre Press by: DSM Soft (P) Ltd, Chennai
Pages: 286
ISBN: 978-81-85984-58-2
Price: Rs 600

The book has been written in eight parts. Written in a subtle and lucid language, the author has provided several examples to put forth his arguments and communicate the right message. Written in a semi story-driven format, it comprises dialogues between operational players to illustrate the author’s point. Charts and graphs have been used to make it more readable where readers will be able to identify the issues and hence effectively assist in conveying the right message.

Divided into parts, the book has several invaluable insights on steps that should be undertaken and followed to achieve operational excellence.

The first part talks about the ‘Traditional Reaction,’ where it mentions about reacting to the competitive landscape, applying traditional tactics and meeting the thought leaders. part two is on ‘Chasing the Numbers,’ part three talks about ‘Preparing for the change,’ part four on ‘Installing the New Paradigm’, part five on ‘Nurturing the Right Behaviour’, ‘Reclaiming the Core’ is part six, while part seven is on Executing the Big Change’ and the last part talks about ‘Consolidating the Change.’

The book gives an in-depth analysis about how professionals can re-look at operational excellence from a very fundamental level and then build their own way of achieving quick and dramatic growth. It recognises the growing tension between drug manufacturers with the government, regulators, social media and patients. The book points out about the ineffective and inefficient ways of doing business as a core problem to the conflict.

One of the chapters also draws parallels with Mount Kilimanjaro. In ‘Tactics for Dealing with the Unknown’, a sub-chapter, the author has mentioned that it is similar to negotiating the way up to the mountain and can provide a few great lessons to any entrepreneur or manager in running a high octane business.

‘The Path’ has been co-created by 118 professionals from various industries, where insights to make their organisations more effective have been provided from their years of experience. In doing so, they have been able to provide directions to make quality medicines readily available and affordable to the world.

About the author

Shridhar Lolla is an engineer by qualification and holds a PhD degree from IIT Delhi, Masters from IT BHU Varanasi and Bachelors Degree from MANIT, Bhopal. He is a practitioner of Business Model Innovation, Focused Execution and Operational Excellence.

Lolla worked with well known firms like ABB, Kirloskar Electric, SIFY and Tecumseh and has extensive experience engineering, product development, R&D, IT services, software development and manufacturing industries.

He runs the online hub of operational excellence at and resides in Bangalore.

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