Great leaders are recognized for their success. However, what makes Good leaders Great are their experiences in overcoming challenges and failures. The gen-next of today have a completely different take on business and lifestyle compared to the previous generation. The pressure to manage a family business may force some to stay away from it while there are others who set out to take it to the zenith. Meet Ayush Agrawal from Jabalpur, who is on a mission to transform his family’s business legacy into a complete support system for the pharma industry in India and abroad.
I chose this as a career because availability of the right medicine at right time was the way I thought I could contribute to the society. It was with a vision to make the country a healthy and illness free place.
The journey of Ayush’s family in business dates back to 1960s. Their first venture of manufacturing an ointment short-lived because of lack of resources and limited knowledge. The group then switched to taking pharma distribution agencies. In a small period of time, with merit handling, their company Pharma Traders, became very popular in their region. In the years to come, they expanded in Jabalpur, Indore and Raipur and handled business with over 800 companies in various verticals and different formats.
Ayush joined Pharma Traders in 2014 after his graduation from Jai Hind College, Mumbai. He got a first hand experience of dealing with marquee companies like HUL, Emcure, Zuventus, Cipla, Dr Reddys, Unichem, etc. A quick-learner, he worked diligently on his new responsibility, understood the nitty-gritties of the trade and managed relationships with clients, staff and retail partners. By 2015, they were the market leaders in Lakmé (HUL) business in the region of Jabalpur, Satna, Rewa and surrounding areas.
I did face initial struggle as the belief in my capabilities were taken very lightly because of my inexperience. But I let my work speak for itself.
Sometimes, to realize your full potential, you have to follow your heart and embrace radically new directions. Such an inflection point came in Ayush’s life in 2016 when he had to drop out of his chartered accountancy education journey and was entrusted with the responsibility to take care of Medical and General Traders (MGT). It had 80 companies under its umbrella and had a customer base of 1500 retailers. Growing it to the next level in a highly competitive market was the challenge in front of him.
His strong business acumen was at quick play as he not only concentrated on bolstering the foundation, but also on expanding their base. He was instrumental in introducing digital transformation at MGT by implementing ERP system to get optimum utilisation of resources and increase in efficiencies. He focused on increasing the coverage to new areas and also developed proper infrastructure for cold chain medicines which can help in increasing the effectiveness of vaccines to the patients.
In this industry, many people are operating in orthodox fashion, with minimum use of technology, more use of cash and payments and are not readily eager to upgrade. Creating awareness about benefits of tech and bringing them on-board in embracing tech is a big challenge.
The efforts started bearing fruits and in 2017, they could grow MGT by two folds. They were recognized as trusted distributors of the region for Glaxo Smithkline. HUL had recognized them as one of the most potential and performance oriented distributor for Lakmé as they had given them around 300% growth in roughly 3 years. They had sales numbers for FDC which ranked them as India No.2 in Electral. In 2016, Cipla Generics recognized them as South and West India’s No.2 highest contributor in sales. They also received recognition from both Cipla Ethical and Mankind for highest number of sales in the region In 2016.
Creating a paradigm shift in the field of medicine availability at the lowest level in the most appropriate and customer conducive environment needs more of young people to join the industry with complete knowledge.
Just four years in the field, but Ayush feels he has had a challenging yet exciting journey which has only begun. He is currently working on his next phase of digital transformation initiative with introduction of mobile apps for stock and sales statement for field staff (MR) and mobiles apps for retailers to manage their account and place their order with payment gateway integration. Besides, he continues to lay focus on expanding the customer base and area of operations. He aspires to grow his family’s legacy business into a complete support system to the pharma industry across various verticals, in India and across the globe.