Name of the game: Laboratory services

At a recently hosted third edition of annual scientific symposium, Total Agilent Experience, in Mumbai, Bharat Bhardwaj, Country GM- India, Agilent Technologies (India) shares his opinion in regards with the growth of medical lab and medical equipment industry.

Agilent is a significant player in the analytical and diagnostic measurement business. With more than 50 years of insight and innovation, Agilent instruments, software, services, solutions, and people provide trusted answers to customers’ most challenging questions. Total Agilent Experience has fast become the place to be for professionals from chemical, food and pharma industries over the years, drawing over 300 scientists and researchers from across the country Bharat shared. Edited excerpts from his interview with
Neha Wagle:

What is your opinion regarding the role of laboratory diagnostics in shaping the future of healthcare industry?

We in India are 1.2 billion people, there is a strong opportunity to reach out to the world. From the Agilent India, we are focusing on the laboratory research side of it. So, we work with the diagnostic research centres where they work on any particular illness, any areas of concern where they would like to focus on as there are particular regulations around them as well like certification, licensing and many such things. So far, we have been focusing on the laboratory research side of it. In the years to come, there will be moments to come.

In which way do the laboratory services offered by Agilent Technologies differ from the laboratory services offered by other centres?

We are clearly leading on the laboratory services side of it. The reason why I say this is because we are one of the few companies where focusing on the services as an important pillar in our overall maintenance to our customers and in that what we do is when we launch a product our services engineers get well trained before the product is launched. It is different from others as many companies sell the product and then train their people. Next thing is in our entire program, we just don’t provide services with our product but also provide services for everything else for e.g. if Agilent customers have products for other than Agilent, we also provide services to the other manufacturers. Which makes us far more integrated solution provider. For this we call it as Lab Resource Management, where we are able to provide laboratory services to them.

708-DS Dissolution Apparatus from Agilent

Where in the next decade do you see Agilent Technologies and where do you see India in the progressing sector of Medical Laboratory?

Going back into the history, we started back in the 90’s. In India, we started around in 1999, with a small number – 10 to 15 employees and today if I look at it, we are about 1500 employees in Agilent India, with more than 500 employees focusing on domestic market and about 1000+ employees focusing on the global support services which we provide from our center in Manesar.

So, these are two investments that we have been doing in the last few years. Agilent has evolved as a company within India as well. We are almost in every nook and corner of the country and we have about 10 offices across India and equally staffed service and technical team which is the backbone of our investment, for what we have been doing in India.

From our product side of it, we had a certain portfolio to offer but if I look back in last 3 – 4 years we have made huge investments in our product portfolio. Now, from our earlier space we were really focusing on our gas chromatography and liquid chromatography businesses, now we are able to offer end-to-end solutions to the customers. Right from sample preparation to a technology, which is chromatography or mass spectrometry, which is again followed by a software, where the real work takes place. All of this is backed by a very strong service team. If I look at it, we are able to meet all the laboratory needs which in the past we were addressing in pockets and now we are able to address them across the entire ecosystem.

Throw some light on the opportunities and market on analytical equipment industry.
The market opportunity for analytical market is huge. Of course, Pharma is a growing industry and the largest market if I look at it, but if you look at other markets like food, environment and with all the new trends which are emerging in the domestic market with the regulatory body becoming more active, the need of analytical market is far more important.

So, when I look at it, the pharma, food would be among the key segments. Within the pharma, the new emerging trend is also the biosimilar market segment, where a lot of generic manufacturers are also moving towards biosimilar segments and this is the mega trend if we have to look at. There are many opportunities and a growing market of analytical equipment market.

At third edition of annual scientific symposium held in Mumbai on 17th June

What is the impact of digitalisation on the equipment industry?

I think it’s immense, because if you have to really compete in the global space you can’t really do it with the manual process anymore. With the GLP and GMP practices you have to have a lot of strong network or data integration processes. So, the digitalisation is coming into the picture, the more you can reduce the manual the more you can reduce the process controls, you are able to have much more impact and this is the trend moving forward. So, from the way we look at it, the software is leading most of the conversations in any analytical reforms.

Can you share Agilent Technologies India’s growth plans?

We are very excited for Agilent India. Agilent has a lot of growth plans, India is one of the key focus markets for us and we have the specific programmes which we are initiating in order to tap the growth and if I look at an example – the Biopharma space, a lot of exciting movements are happening in that market also in the food market. We have a lot of growth plans around it, just to get the reference right, we added about 110 jobs in the last one year purely towards making sure we have a complete baseline set and the base is strong in order to capture the growth for the future.

And all of this is backed by a very strong portfolio that is coming from our innovation. That’s where we are focusing, on the footprint of the product and improving the ease of use of the product, and those are the traits for us to go further in the Indian market.