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Investment 19 Oct 2016

We're looking at having 1,000 laboratories by 2020: Thyrocare

Dr A Velumani, Chairman, Thyrocare, shares the company's expansion plans and the way forward for the industry.

By Pragati Ratti Sharma Associate Editor

The healthcare industry is growing at a fast pace. According to IBEF, during 2008-20, the market is expected to record a CAGR of 16.5 per cent. The total industry size is expected to touch US$ 160 billion by 2017 and US$ 280 billion by 2020.

However, this is only possible if the healthcare players continue to grow and evolve with technology. That’s exactly what Thyrocare aims to do. Thyrocare, started in 1996 by Dr. A. Velumani, India's first fully automated diagnostic laboratory focuses on providing quality at affordable costs to laboratories and hospitals in India and other countries. The younger guard is now taking over and Dr. Velumani is paving way for his daughter Amruta to spearhead Thyrocare.

In an exclusive interview with Wellness India on the sidelines of Franchise India 2016, Dr. Velumani shared with us as to what new this transition will bring and the expansion plans of Thyrocare. Here are excerpts from the interview:

The young guard is taking over now. What new is your daughter Amruta bringing to Thyrocare?

I created Thyrocare in an era when not even the landline phone was easily available. Now we are in an android world where billions of Indians are holding android devices. So now the focus is on how to package it in such a way that everybody can use it. Today is the world of Flipkart and Amazon, so how to convert the diagnostic products into consumer products is the focus. Also, how to focus on preventive care, how to help control the costs of treating chronic disorders, these are a few things which any how I was doing, now Amruta is going to accelerate it and do it in a bigger way. And I’ve given her the freedom to work on it.

Does it involve becoming more digitally aggressive?

Obviously! The best form of marketing today is digital. The health conscious people are more towards digital. So, one has to concentrate more on digital marketing. We are getting into bigger budgets for digital presence.

Tell us about the expansion plans of Thyrocare in the next two-three years.

We’re ultimately going to each and every Tier 3 and 4 towns, as they are equally important. The caring capabilities are improving, per capita income is improving, sedentary lifestyles are moving up and I think it’s going to be another 30-40 years of healthcare space. And I’m very happy that I could make a platform at the right time. My children are supposed to be now taking it to rural India.

Give us an idea of how many Thyrocare centres we’re going to see in the next two years.

When we move forward, it will be a pyramid. We ran one centre for some time, then 10 for some more time, then 100 for some more and it’ll be 1,000. So, that pyramid has to take shape. It’s difficult to tell the timeline. If success comes faster, the scaling up will become very fast and I think by 2020, we should have hit the 1,000 mark.

That will happen through the franchising model?

Absolutely! In fact I was the first guy to pick up the franchising model in 1996. I think it works well. And ultimately it’s all thanks to the franchisees that we are growing. We can’t be doing everything on own own. You can test or procure, you try to do both and you won’t succeed in any.

What is that one thing that you would say to your franchisees?

I keep saying in hindi, ‘jo jeetta hai, vo shaayad haar sakta hai, jo jitata hai, vo kabhi haarta nahi hai (The one who wins may lose, but the one who makes you win never loses).’ So, I’m making the franchisee win. I will never lose.

Where do you think the wellness industry of India is going in the next five years?

Wellness Industry 20 years back was 1 per cent. Today it is 10 per cent. If you don’t reach 50 per cent, don’t say you are a developed country. So, by 2030 or 2040, you will have 50 plus per cent of wellness and that is the time when the country will be healthy. Until then, we are struggling with diseases. 

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