AN INSPIRATIONAL SUCCESS STORY OF DREAM, VISION, AND COURAGE…
Mr. Abdul Wahid Qureshi
CEO 3S Pharmaceuticals Private Limited(a division of BERGER Paints)
CFO BERGER PAINTS PAKISTAN
Dreamers see “the idea” but Visionaries see the “path” and the idea. And courage turns it to reality. And when this rare combination works together, things get done. Mr. Abdul Wahid Qureshi has both qualities he is not only a Dreamer but as well a Visionary Leader and that’s how he made his amazing success story a story of courage…
Luminary: Please share something regarding your professional journey so far how you started your professional career?
Abdul Wahid Qureshi: Started working as Manager Finance & Accounts in Kohinoor Industries Limited and in 1997 switched to Nishat Mills limited as finance manager. In 1997 I got an offer from Rafhan Maize Products Company Ltd as financial controller and after working with them for about four years I joined Levi Strauss Pakistan Pvt Ltd as director finance.
In 2009 this opportunity came to work with Berger as CFO and company secretary. In a devastating Fire incident in 2008, Berger plant in Karachi burnt into ashes when Company shifted its offices in Lahore. So it was like starting from scratch I joined as CFO, reporting to CEO (Dubai). After joining the company just in four years turned around the company from a loss in 2008 to profits in 2013. It’s a huge success story that we started at loss of 400 Million and within four years were in profit.
As Berger is running in profit with good liquidity so we decided to start some new venture. We started researching in power and many other sectors to select the right investment sector for us. But finally, selected Pharmaceutical sector because of keen interest of Dr. Mahmood Ahmed (CEO, BERGER) who is an MBBS doctor by qualification and as well served in Pakistan Army Medical Corps. Another main reason for choosing Pharma sector was its potential for good margins and growth in Pakistan. Pharma sector was consistently giving 15% growth from last many years and especially last year in 2015 growth rate was 16% in Pakistan.
So being multinational company and having good relationships with our associates in foreign companies where we decided to bring some new research molecules in Pakistan and to introduce quality products as well though there are many companies so without condemning anyone, we would like to set our own quality standards and benchmark with our own research molecules.
So while we were searching we found this 3S Pharmaceutical a very good company as its layout was good the products they were producing was very good, but they had some liquidity problems. So we acquired 75% of this company 49% acquired by the BERGER Pakistan and 26% by our foreign company so, therefore, this is how the company became a member of the Pharma Bureau Pakistan and also in the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce & Industry (OICCI), as it has foreign investment as well.
Luminary: What kinds of Products are manufactured in 3S Pharmaceutical?
Abdul Wahid Qureshi: At the moment, we are producing around thirty products in tablets and capsules. But now we have planned to launch this month Syrup and tri suspension powder and saches which are a growing demand in the market. So another thirty new products will be available soon in the market from 3S Pharmaceuticals. At the same time, we are also working with our International partners for the introduction of foreign new research molecules in Pakistan and as well there production in our Plants. We also have plans to, later on, export these products.
3S Pharmaceutical is also in process of improving our certifications like Total quality management, ISO 9000 certification, and other quality management System Standards. So we are passionate and that’s a humble start.
Luminary: Where are you manufacturing?
Abdul Wahid Qureshi: we have one plant at Raiwind Manga road Lahore so all manufacturing is done there and we are selling our product to Punjab and KPK at the moment and at second stage we will launch in Sindh as well.
Luminary: How do you balance the long term versus the short term when thinking about innovation?
Abdul Wahid Qureshi: I think for research we have already decided a budget to invest and that’s a capital investment, not an expense. We are continuously investing as and we have a separate R&D department with qualified doctors and staff. So we are working on it and very soon Inshallah we will come up with the new research molecule for the Pakistan market.
Luminary: How important is sustainability in the company’s strategy?
Abdul Wahid Qureshi: 3S Pharmaceutical is not new to the market as it was already operating and recently we acquired its major shares. So I think very soon we will achieve break-even level as a new company. We are not rushing for profit in 3S Pharmaceutical right now as currently planning to invest more in people, innovation, and products to reach. We are already doing well in the paint sector and this year Berger will be the number one company in Pakistan.
Luminary: How do you encourage creative thinking within your organization?
Abdul Wahid Qureshi: We have a really motivated and hardworking team at 3S Pharmaceuticals. And we don’t believe in Management and team concept, rather we like to work as a team. The same message is communicated internally as well that we have to work as one team to be successful and whatever will be earned we are ready to share.We have already announced a very lucrative incentive scheme for them so it’s a win-win situation for both. The motivation level is quite high at the moment as we are receiving repeated orders from the market and as well acceptability in the market is also very good. Definitely, we have more plans for further marketing campaigns in the market along with doctors and medical institutions to introduce our company products.
Luminary: Do you have any plans for expansion or working in any new product line in 3S pharmaceutical?
Abdul Wahid Qureshi: Nutraceutical is the idea as herbal products are very popular in Pakistan and some convenience in regulations as well, So that’s what we are planning currently as some segment of consumers believe allopathic products have side effects and are moving towards herbal/ nutraceutical products. We are looking for the additional place along with the plant to build this new expansion though at the movement we have a sufficient space and capacity to meet our current production needs.
Luminary: How do you ensure your organization and its activities are aligned with your “core values”?
Abdul Wahid Qureshi: We never compromise in our core values even in Berger people live and breathe the core values either it’s about integrity, courage, transparency, and genuineness. And we have communicated the same to our employees in 3S Pharmaceutical that they have to be genuine while meeting ant customer or healthcare company. So no compromise is tolerable on the ethical values. So for making this practice more effective we keep on reminding them of our values in every meeting.
Luminary: What differentiates your company from others in the industry?
Abdul Wahid Qureshi: When I was searching for this plant I came across many plants and their working style. People usually project something else and when you visit the plant it can be clearly observed they are not following the medical and general health standards. So in 3S Pharmaceutical plant we always offer everyone to come and visit our plant and find out how actually we are working. We have well maintained Plant following the best health and cleanliness facilities. So this is the confidence we are sharing with our sales team as well Pharma doctors that our product is being produced in a healthy clean environment at very high-quality standards.
Luminary: What’s the toughest decision you ever made? What did you learn from that one?
Abdul Wahid Qureshi: I think at the end of the day our priority is family. These days working on the dual position as CFO Berger and CEO 3S Pharmaceuticals at the same time, so unable to give decent time to the family right now. But now I am trying to do my best to give quality time to my family.
Luminary: How do you manage your anger and stress?
Abdul Wahid Qureshi: I enjoy playing golf over the weekends at gymkhana it really relaxes me and release out whole pressure and that’s one thing I would love to do more even after retirement.
Luminary: What was your biggest missed opportunity?
Abdul Wahid Qureshi: Not much I love to travel and now I am quite busy so don’t find much time to go on personal trips.
Luminary: What is the one behavior or trait that you have seen derails a leaders’ careers?
Abdul Wahid Qureshi: One of the important responsibility of a leader is to groom nourish people around him/her by encouragement and delegating power. But unfortunately, it’s seen very commonly here that they hire people and intentionally don’t want to nourish them to keep them at a certain low level. And that’s what I not only condemn but would like to change as well so I always try to speak less in the meetings and encourage everybody to speak up and share their ideas and opinions and take the lead. So it’s my passion I love nourishing leadership within my organization that once you are not around everybody is there to help around and take the lead.
Luminary: What’s the toughest decision you ever made? What did you learn from that one?
Abdul Wahid Qureshi: Personally I would say it’s the commitment to one own self that I have to do it. One day while working here as CFO Berger I said to my CEO in a yearly appraisal meeting that “ I am losing my interest in CFO-ship I had a fear that you will give this job to someone else but I want to work as an entrepreneur I want to run my own company and how will I do that I have no finances and no idea but I am just sharing this with you I am sorry but I opened my heart ” and in reply he was quite he didn’t say anything. Just after six months to that conversation, he called me and said ok let’s find out something.
I was attending a seminar delivered by Dr. Madiha Nadeem I went there just to see the quality of the program and she was asking this question to everybody “what they want to be in there life?”. She came to me and asked what you want to do? And I said I want to be an entrepreneur and she said you are a finance person you are CFO and I said I want to be entrepreneur let’s see when. So only focus that I can take this energy to other as well. One should keep focus whatever you want to do and the belief and faith that you will be able to do it.
Luminary: What is the best advice you ever received?
Abdul Wahid Qureshi: I think one of the best value in my previous company and here in Berger as well that I have learned “courage” and I really like this value personally as well you have to have the courage to say whatever you are thinking maybe others will call you stupid but at least you will get clarity that idea is stupid. So whatever you think have the courage to say and express.
Luminary: What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time? to the younger generation of CEOs, managers, startups, entrepreneurs and business leaders?
Abdul Wahid Qureshi: I think first of all right set of skills for example if you are MA Islamiat and you want to do something in engineering that doesn’t work. So even if you have passion focus everything but not the background and right skills it won’t work. So acquiring right set of skills is very important. So your targets should be aligned with your goals . And most important respect people around you be humble that will really give you success.
Luminary: What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?
Abdul Wahid Qureshi: Consistency I mean you see when people have a problem they look at you if you are disappointed and shaken mind you will not be able to lead them. I think consistency, sense, courage and faith on whatever you are doing.
Luminary: What are your company ambitions for the future?
Abdul Wahid Qureshi: We have developed a company mission to serve the community and to develop a healthy community. Because with a healthy mind and body one can deliver better so on a personal note I would say start exercising that and we should start early to live a better life.