“Our top priority is to keep adapting as per clients’ needs”

Mentioned Mr Murli Sundrani, Business Director, BD Lifesciences -Biosciences in a detailed conversation with BioVoice News's Chief Editor, Rahul Koul

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The Gurgaon-headquartered BD India, one of the leading medical technology company and technology provider in bioscience domain, has made huge inroads in the Indian market over last one decade. The company is now focusing on adapting to new methods of marketing and sales to retain clients and grow beyond set markets. In an interaction with the BioVoice News, Mr Murli Sundrani, Business Director, BD Lifesciences -Biosciences gave insights into his company’s business’s latest activities as well as trends in the sector. Read the excerpts below:


BV_icon-150x150Have you noticed any major change in how clients are interacting with you? Are they more aware and demanding compared to the past?
For sure, the customer expectations have changed and evolved over the period. They are more demanding now in terms of appropriate solutions for their type of requests and situations. Until now, it was more about their requirements in the larger environment but now they are seeking specific solutions. Secondly, their expectations in terms of services from the company have gone up significantly. They expect companies to communicate with them frequently and regularly on a sustainable basis. They expect the turnaround time to be shorter. A wait period of 40-50 days which used to be acceptable earlier, it has now gone down to 2-3 weeks. They do not want the project timelines to be affected. I believe, it is no longer focused just on the product but more on the service. It is more about communication, engagement, long term and quick response time.
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How is the company ensuring that growing expectations of clients are met promptly?
Once we know their expectations, we internally align our resources and team members to meet their requirements. Our priority is to keep adapting as per client’s needs. We organize communication and soft skills workshops for teams to communicate better with customers. We are also working with our global and regional headquarters in US and Singapore respectively to ensure that we are able to address the client expectation in time.
We are constantly engaging within and outside our organization. We intend to make sure that our associates have the capability to understand the client needs in a better way. While one might be getting back with an answer instantly, the other might be engaging till the client gets a response. As our associates work on addressing the problems we make every concerted effort to reassure them.

“We are constantly engaging within and outside our organization. We intend to make sure that our associates have the capability to understand the client in a much better way.”

BV_icon-150x150How is your distributor network working? Any changes there?
We have network of channel partners and we communicate with them on an ongoing basis. The lead time for the product supply is important. Doing business based on the past trends is no more possible now. You need to plan in advance and forecast the future demands. Forecasting future market trends is the key to sustainable bio-suppler business.
That is where the channel partners have to play a significant role. We are training them as well to make them sensitive to the industry’s demands. We are asking them to come out of traditional model and use analytics to forecast which helps us in understanding the visibility of product requirement. It helps to be better prepared and move ahead with times.
BV_icon-150x150 Which are the new product launches from BD Bioscience in the recent times?
We have done significantly well with our new launches. We have launched several instruments to fill in the gap left by the current ones. We have many clinical and research platforms, both analyzers and sorters which fit into almost all the requirements of customers. One of the top ones is BD FACS Presto followed by BD FACS Celesta that was launched last year. Going forward, now we are getting ready to launch BD FACS Lyric and BD FACS Melody. These will help us to supplement and compliment the needs of the customers. The need based products will help in meeting specific requirements.
FACS Melody is a research platform and is an excellent benchtop cell sorter. Few scientists want the personal sorter due to time constraints. It will benefit those who are working in isolation. Very efficient and occupies lesser space. FACS Lyric on the other hand is focused on more number of sensor and colors, as per wishes of customers to be able to get more output.  It has 3 lasers and configuration ranges from 4,6. We are starting with this configuration and if customers want more, we can always upgrade it. As in when the customer requirements change, we adapt.
BV_icon-150x150 How has your collaboration with the Jamia Hamdard University on skills training shaped up?
We continue to use the BD-Jamia FACSTM Academy for imparting two to three days hands-on training and skill development programmes. A lot of associates and research scholars are provided the free training. A lot of institutes are connecting with us through Jamia to get the firsthand experience on the ways to do sorting and cell analysis.
We routinely conduct channel partner trainings at this center. This academy is designed to provide them with a high-quality training and curriculum to stay current on new developments. It is our commitment towards capacity building in the Indian flow cytometry community.
BV_icon-150x150Lot many biosuppliers and tech providers tell me that their business got affected due to lack of funding? Is that the case with you too?
Since I joined last year, I haven’t come across any major concern on funding or the lack of it. The purchases continue to happen in both private and government segments. So, I think the funding crunch has eased a bit. Also, initially the government would fund any project it wanted to but now it is asking questions on the utility. They are asking how much is the translational research, the number of research papers, and the benefit to society. Some institutes were used to unquestioned funding but now they have to answer the question, which of course is a good move on the part of government. They have the responsibility to produce something that will help in making life simpler, healthier and better. The taxpayers’ money now must have accountability.

“The market has not evolved in terms of forecasting. So, when we don’t get the forecast, it is difficult for us to deliver on time. We are increasingly seeking clarity from the market and the customers should give us clarity for improved services.”

BV_icon-150x150 What are the set of clients you cater to?
Our customers are researchers and scientists both in institutes and private sector. Apart from that clinicians and pathological labs such as Dr Lal PathLabs, Thyrocare , hospitals such as Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Fortis, Leelavati Hospital, Apollo that have quality accredited clinical labs and also engage in flow cytometry work. Thirdly we cater to CROs and the pharma industry.
We are working to understand our role in adjacencies such as food industry, plant science, veterinary and oceanography for that matter. These are promising areas and I am sure we have a huge role to play here.
BV_icon-150x150 How has been the company’s performance in terms of revenue?
Last year was good for us. We were at double-digit growth despite the current state of cash crunch. This year also we are growing. We are launching new products and exploring new areas. The future looks good. We are all set to support the clients through our best services.
BV_icon-150x150What are the challenges faced by you as tech providers? Is competition also at the top?
One of the biggest challenges is the ability to supply on time. The market has not evolved in terms of forecasting. So, when we don’t get the forecast, it is difficult for us to deliver on time. We are increasingly seeking clarity from the market and the customers should provide so for improved services. Second is the installation after import of the machines poses challenges due to the lack of readiness on the side of clients. Another big challenge is logistics within reagent business. Perishable reagents need to be effectively taken care of and therefore time and continuity are a huge concern.
There are many competitors who are aggressive in terms of pricing and discounts besides their faster turnaround time. We are working on our strengths to stay ahead of them and we believe in working closely with our customers to advance the world of health.
BV_icon-150x150How does the future look like and what are the goals to achieve during your tenure?
The mission of BD Lifesciences – Biosciences is to continue leading the market. We are the most preferred brand as technology providers. Besides that, our relationship with customers makes us stand apart. I believe in the future of our business where BD must emerge as top of mind recall brand for our customers. superior quality products, services and engagement will be our drivers for success. My endeavor is to engage with the key opinion leaders in the market and help them understand the contributions that BD can bring in to the ecosystem. We will continue to strengthen our academic contribution beyond our five centers of excellence present in the country. We want to train the local scientists on new technologies. Another priority is to work on adjacent markets such as food, veterinary and oceanography which have a huge potential.