Dilip Surana: India's Most Acclaimed Pharma Entrepreneur & Veteran

Dilip Surana: India's Most Acclaimed Pharma Entrepreneur & Veteran

Let’s recollect one of Albert Einstein’s quotes ~ “Try not to become a man of success, but a man of value”. Finding such businessmen of value in the current competitive world we live in is quite difficult. But Dilip Surana, Chairman & Managing Director of Micro Labs Limited stands-out as the perfect embodiment of this quote. Dilip is a people man who has always been striving to create and deliver extensive value to customers through a wide range of top-notch and premium quality innovative products, rather than just selling them. Despite inheriting the business from his beloved father – late G. C. Surana, he transformed Micro Labs into a strong, quality-oriented generics firm with exports across India and almost 40 countries worldwide. Achieving a phenomenal track record of 37+ years in the industry has not changed Dilip even a bit on the personal front. He has always been a modest and kind personality who still deploys the exact ethics of managing people, business and quality akin to his father.

No wonder, he has won a fleet of awards & recognitions such as Bhartiya Manhatam Vikas Puraskar by Asia One in 2020, Most Responsible Business Leader by Responsible Business Awards in 2019, CEO of the Year 2016 by National CSR – Leadership Congress & Awards, and many more. Besides, his firm has also bagged numerous awards for its outstanding innovations in the pharmaceuticals industry year-on-year.

To know more about Dilip’s comprehensive professional journey and his pharma major, peruse the following excerpts of an exclusive colloquy with CEO Insights.

What motivated you to take-up your family business?
It all started back in 1983 when I was pursuing my Bachelor’s degree in Commerce at St. Joesph’s College of Commerce. That was when I joined my father in our family business on a part-time basis and learnt end-to-end operations from the grass-roots level. I also ensured to work in every single department of the company to master the nuances of even the smallest operation. Post my graduation, I took-up the business full-time with prime focus on building brands and
manufacturing products in-house rather than outsourcing them.

Today, we have almost 5000 medical representatives in India and 1000+ representatives across the globe proactively promoting our formulations with doctors. Speaking about manufacturing, we perform stringent R&D across 20 manufacturing plants in India, UAE and South Africa. All of this couldn’t have been possible without my dearest brother Anand Surana (Director, Micro Labs) who joined the business in 1993. It is indeed our combined passion and vision that moulded Micro Labs into one of the few successful pharma giants, right from mid-1980s.

I’d proudly say that we are a family of trailblazers in the pharma sector, while our firm outclasses as the monopoly of diverse nations

How has your journey been so far?
In spite of excelling well in academics at school and college, me and my brother undertook the family business with no regrets. I focused only on Pharma since I knew its nuances well rather than being over ambitious or aggressive and undertaking new risks. By large, I took life as it came to me and delivered my best. It has been a wonderful journey so far, especially the times I spent interacting with sales professionals, doctors and retailers, chasing targets, knowing the market day in & day out, devising new marketing schemes, visiting manufacturing plants, and many more. Today, the major challenge we are struggling to overcome is the ever-evolving regulatory changes due to burgeoning competition in the market.

What is your take on innovations in the pharma sector?
I’d proudly say that we are a family of trailblazers in the pharma sector, while our firm outclasses as the monopoly of diverse nations. My father, who embarked onto his professional journey as a pharmaceutical distributor in Chennai, evolved into a nerd who knew the detailed chemistry of each
drug he researched on. He worked tirelessly and passionately to introduce new molecules and formulations into the pharma industry way back in the early 70s and 80s. This relentless urge in him to innovate products inspired me a lot right from my school days. From day one, I ensured to seamlessly innovate on novel formulations in premium specialties such as cardiology, diabetology, ophthalmology, neurology, dermatology, and others. Today, we take pride in the fact that our business has been flourishing with flying colours due to the unceasing encouragement from our vendors.

Are you working on any up-gradations?
Optimization is an ongoing process both in R&D and manufacturing at Micro Labs. We focus on building automated manufacturing units with no human touch to enhance production efficiency both in terms of quality and quantity. From manual to SAP-based operations, in-person annual budget meetings to webinars and Zoom calls, technology upgradation has helped us a lot.

How do you achieve the perfect work-life balance?
I ensure to never bring work into personal life or vice versa. Once my office hours are over, I give myself completely to my family. Besides being a home bird, I don’t spend much time to socialize with people. Moreover, hailing from a family with a conservative father and religious mother made me stay well-disciplined in life.

Dilip Surana, CMD, Micro Labs
A truly inspiring entrepreneur in the pharma sector, Dilip oversees the end-to-end operations at Micro Labs right from the development, manufacturing to sales of premium pharmaceutical products both across Indian and global markets.

Hobbies: Watching movies & sports
Book: I’m a magazine buff
Gadget: Watches
Cuisine: South Indian
Travel Destination: New Zealand

To the Budding Entrepreneurs:
To become a successful entrepreneur in the pharma sector, you ought to be an adept marketer or a professional with strong technological background to create novel products.

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