We have seen a lot of entrepreneurs trailblazing through their values and intrinsic approach towards business. It is not easy to drive value with not just profits but with ingenuity and a passion to serve others like it is a responsibility that can never fade. Times are changing and the behaviors of businessmen need to adapt with the reality that customers are no longer just a money supplying conduit. They are the life-blood of a running business and should be treated with genuine consideration to their well-being.
All the customers in this dynamic business condition need to be treated with honesty and sincerity. If a business or an entrepreneur is not transparent with its own clientele, it really shrinks the capacity of growth for that business. In terms of customer satisfaction and post-sales services, the business has gone beyond the customer delight process. Customer retention is only possible when they are humbled and given a sense of solidarity through reliable and dependable service.
Janak Sheth, Managing Director of Century Pharmaceuticals is driving excellence throughout his business with a similar approach to scale the ladder of success. The company manufactures active pharmaceutical ingredients and supply products to the pharmaceutical companies who make finished products. It caters to its clientele with tailor-made products so as to attain absolute satisfaction amongst its customers.
Its focus is on making products that are of far better in quality than its competitors while being cost effective. Century Pharma constantly upgrades its product range based on customer feedback and recommendations. This helps the company in cross selling and growing faster. It selects high value new products which are used by a lot of companies in the market.
“I always push our marketing team to generate new customers. This helps us in continually increasing our plant’s capacity as we have the ability to retain most of our existing customers”
Story of Century Pharmaceuticals
Century Pharmaceuticals was established in 1980 to manufacture active pharmaceutical ingredients with two products. Over the years, it has expanded its product range with increased capacity to more than 40 products. The firm started exports of its products in 1988 and now it is exporting to more than 60 countries around the world. The company has made its mark in exports which constitute more than 50% of its revenue and growing rapidly.
As many other companies, Century Pharma also underwent a lot of challenges in its initial days. Having limited resources, availability of finance to scale the business was a big problem. Fortunately, the government at that time was encouraging setting up small scale industries by technical people and the company managed to avail good credit line including seed capital loan. Thereafter, the company encountered challenges of production and marketing one after the other which they resolved soon.
After the initial hiccups were taken care of, Century Pharma started expanding its customer base. The profits generated were ploughed back into the company. It decided to expand the production capacity using its own capital which further strengthened the company. “We have been investing and expanding our capacity every few years,” states Mr. Janak. “We have been a steady performer and growing consistently,” he further adds.
Leadership qualities in Century Pharmaceuticals
Before starting the business, Mr. Janak was working for a multinational company. He was involved right from concept, design of the plant, procurement of the equipment and later involved in installation of the machinery and also production. This helped him in getting well trained and experienced to start his own business. “Many of the mistakes made in my professional career helped me to succeed in our business,” shares Mr. Janak.
Mr. Janak ensures that there is a system of transparency as he hates politics or grapewine in his own organization or loose talk. According to him, this helps in focusing on the work and avoids avoidable gossip. Based on the company’s approach, they have been able to retain most of the people who in turn have helped in building consistency and higher efficiency.
Mr. Janak’s philosophy insinuates that anticipating problems and thinking ahead can help growing the company. As an entrepreneur one has to be a little more than just a CEO. He is supposed to drive the company’s growth by opening up new products and services and introducing new market segments. He feels utmost grateful for his accomplishment of setting up a business and helping it to grow to size. “Now we are at a stage when we can grow beyond the critical size at a much faster-paced timeline,” says Mr. Janak. If you dream – you can achieve. This is the mantra for Mr. Janak and it shows in his leadership qualities as well. He feels that if you consider that you there because of the company and not vice versa helps in strengthening the company especially during the down turn in the economy like today.
Dynamics of Century Pharmaceuticals
Century Pharmaceuticals is also engaged in pioneering research. The company has two main research projects – one is a novel recombinant protein for the treatment and cure for Asthma and Allergies. It is currently in preclinical study and have established the proof of concept. The other project is on stem cells as a rejuvenation and a futuristic therapy for many lifestyle diseases. As the population has a longer life span, we may need this therapy to improve our quality of life in the later years. “It is important to contribute and work towards some payback to mankind” remarked Janak when asked how come Century Pharma, a medim sized company was also involved with pioneering research.
Mr. Janak does not believe in the concept of vigilance. Century Pharma’s team and its work culture of its honest intentions are clear and pure which helps in bringing about and maintaining a lot of transparency amongst its people in the company. Most entrepreneurs who are not very honest in their business dealings need a lot of vigilance amongst its employees as they might like to follow the path of the leader.
The main reason for the growth of the company was honesty and sincerity in serving its customers. This has helped in retaining the clientele developed till now. The strategy of ploughing back its profits in the business has helped in strengthening the company. Initially this helped it to reduce and settle all the debt Century Pharma had. “Now this has helped us to invest in building our production capacity further as we expand our business,” shares its team.
There was a special incident that helped Century Pharma in maintaining and promoting its reputation with its clients. In the initial years, building strong relationships with suppliers and customers was difficult with limited resources. According to Mr. Janak, a supplier gave him a credit and owing to mismatch in funds received, they could not pay the supplier in time. “He asked us another date when we could pay him. We realised that if we fail this time, we will lose the credit completely. We established credibility of our company by paying the supplier a few days before the committed date. Thereafter we have maintained that discipline,” shares Mr. Janak.
As far as customers go, one customer decided to buy in bulk from Century Pharma and hence gave an annual order with the strict condition that Mr. Janak would not go back to him for a price rise throughout the year. After 2 months of the start of the supplies under this order, Mr. Janak and his team went back to the supplier for a price revision. That company/client was furious as the condition of the order was a stable price for the entire year. However, Mr. Janak clarified to the company that he was requesting for a price reduction, not an increase! “We felt that if the customer came to know from the market that we were selling to other customers at a lower price, the customer would feel cheated. So, we volunteered to reduce the price ourselves,” informs Mr. Janak. At that time the amount forgone as a reduction was huge but the company never looked at making the extra profit but worried about its reputation and this and other such incidents have helped in bringing good credibility to its name.
He playfully reveals that reading self-improvement books and especially about how to understand human behaviour has helped him in negotiating better with people, which is nevertheless, a sound advice. He enjoys travelling and this helps him explore new markets and establishing new lines of business in various countries. He admires Mr. Dhirubhai Ambani for his guts and vision in making a world-class company for himself all in one life time has motivated Mr. Janak. The most inspirational business story is however of Mr. Bill Gates of Microsoft for him.
There is no doubt that a rat race exists. However, Mr. Janak is happy with the company’s growth and with the philosophy adopted by its team that follows and practices honesty and sincerity of purpose. “We are happy and satisfied with our progress so far and we see that we have a lot of room for future growth,” describes the team of Century Pharma.