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A Day at Micro Labs Limited

Wednesday, June 1

Today professor Hotchkiss, Tom, and I were able to visit and take a tour of a renowned pharmaceutical company called Micro Labs Limited, located in Bangalore.

Micro Labs specializes in various medicinal and pharmaceutical products. It distributes its products worldwide but has only recently been FDA approved in the U.S. Its main goal by 2014 is to enter the U.S. market and achieve sales of $1 billion.

Professor Steven Hotchkiss, Donovan Maben and Tom McKrill (from right to left)  had nearly unlimited access at Micro Labs Limited.
Professor Steven Hotchkiss, Donovan Maben and Tom McKrill (from right to left)  had nearly unlimited access at Micro Labs Limited.

The best part about this business is that it is family owned and operated, and, according to the executives we met today, the company has no plans to go public as it is currently run by Dilip Surana, a second-generation chairman. It was apparent from our meetings with the operational staff at the production plants and business department heads that everybody acts and is treated as family at Micro Labs. This, no doubt, starts at the very top and works its way down to the lower levels of the company, as agreed upon by all the employees we were able to meet. 

Currently, Micro Labs is growing at a rate of 18 to 20 percent annually and projections suggest that rate will only increase in the future. At the moment, 35 percent of its revenues come from foreign markets and 65 percent are made domestically, but by 2014 the company wants to have an equal ratio of 50 percent in both markets.

Our visit began with a tour of three production plants located in Bommasandra just outside the city of Bangalore. Most workers at these plants specialize in various departments of science and engineering as opposed to those who work at the corporate office and have various business degrees. With no science background, we did not completely understand the elements and formulas used in the production of the pharmaceutical products, even though the managers giving us a tour explained each aspect of the production process thoroughly. That being said, the production process fascinated us as we got to see a vast array of employees from those working on the assembly line, to the chemists and doctors, to the senior level executive vice president of operations.

The main characteristic that impressed us was the award-winning quality and cleanliness of the production plants and the steps that were taken to maintain the cleanliness. For example, it was mandatory for us to wear full-body costumes so that we would not contaminate any of the production. Also impressive was the amount of quality control Micro Labs has on the products. This is necessary because of the type of products it makes. The slightest mistake could cost the company a large amount of money.

Everything that could be recycled at the plant, such as excess water, was re-used in some other capacity.

After a wonderful lunch on behalf of the company, we were driven to the corporate office of Micro Labs located in the heart of Bangalore, just around the corner from Sophia School. Here, we got to pose questions to each of the various business department heads including the human resource manager, sales manager, finance manager, marketing manager, supply chain manager, medical services manager, operations manager, and even the corporate lawyer. It was extremely impressive to see how friendly and eager these senior level executives were to answer our questions even though they were extremely busy. Usually it would be next to impossible to get all the senior level executives in one room. This Q&A period was extremely beneficial for the three of us as we got to understand how a large Indian company operates and maintains its success in the global market. 

At first, Tom and I were overwhelmed, especially when the executives walked into the board room together. It was as if they were making a presentation to a company they were looking to do business with. However, after we got to know them a little better, our comfort level grew and the session became extremely informative. 

Professor Hotchkiss, Tom, and I would like to express our sincere gratitude to all those at Micro Labs Limited for the wonderful experience. At the end of the day, it was clear to us why this company is and will be very successful now and in the future. 

- Donovan Maben