“A dream does not become reality through magic. It takes sweat, determination and hard work” quoted Colin Powel. One such real example is Arokiyaswami Velumani, Ivianaging Director of Thyrocare. By GEETHA GANGADARAN
Tell us about your childhood.
Hailing from a poor family, the biggest challenge my mother faced was combating all illness associated with poverty. She struggled to meet both ends. I was the first child to my parents, with four other siblings. Despite all odds, we were taught to be optimistic in life.
Did you have great dreams?
The biggest dream I had when young was of having three proper meals, without missing any. What I aspired next was to have a white collared job and earn a decent income.
Tell us about your venture into Thyrocare.
After my UG, I was jobless for some time. I got rejected at job interviews stating I was a fresher with no experience. Finally, I got placed at a small pharmaceutical company, which eventually shut down. My next stint was with BARC [Bhabha Atomic Research Centre] as a laboratory assistant for 14 years. During this time, I pursued my Masters and completed my PhD (in thyroid) program. It gave me the instinct to start my own thyroid testing laboratory in 1996. I should say, I was at the right place at the right time.
At Thyrocare, how is it that you provide all tees to patrons at an affordable rate?
In medical field, nobody knows how to calculate costs, as all wish to play safe. Hence, they price it high; but I wanted to take the risk. Thus, I began pricing my products and services at lower rates. This, in turn led to higher volumes and more profits, enjoying which I further reduced the price and continued making profits. Low prices help in cost control, which in turn gives more business, leading to success.
Enumerate your journey from being a Scientist to an Entrepreneur?
The term ‘entrepreneur’ was alien twenty years back. The desire of becoming one was in me when I was very young and naïve. I began to realize that mere research will not be beneficial until it is taken to the public, because, from what I saw, people with less scientific knowledge were making more money.Thus, with high determination, I have come this far and now that I am successful, whatever I say will become philosophy.
Who is your inspiration?
I believe if you get inspired by someone, it is short lived; the fire has to come from within. Legends such as MGR and Sivaji, through their performances, have had a great impact on me. My life in the village was a learning experience. Poverty taught me frugality.
Tell us about your venture into cancer imaging.
When the first business was doing well, I decided to diversify into another field. I lost my wife to cancer. Thus, I chose this field to provide service to people at affordable rates.
You hire only freshers in your organization, why?
I had tasted bitter experience of being rejected as a fresher. I hence, recruit them to give them an opportunity and for them to get trained.
Your marketing strategy?
You make a product valuable and affordable, it sells. If a business model is good, you don’t need a model to sell.
Can you expand on your Thyrocare model?
Everyone who runs a pathological institute will have a laboratory. I decided to have a centralized lab for the country for all the blood collected, with Bombay being the centre. One location, huge volume! This helps in maintaining a standard quality and pricing.
What is the future of medical care?
Only 5% of diseases are diagnosed and 10% of the diagnosis is treated. It will take another 500 to 1000 years to get to 51% diagnosis. It is too early to say man has conquered science. Nature is powerful and we cannot overpower nature!
Your message to our readers:
Risks are necessary in life. Romance with risk, for risk is an art!