An Interview with Mr. Surendra Kumar Agarwal, Chairman and MD Sisco Research Laboratories Pvt.Ltd

An Interview with Mr. Surendra Kumar Agarwal, Chairman and MD Sisco Research Laboratories Pvt.Ltd


  • Post By : Kumar Jeetendra

  • Source: Microbioz India

  • Date: 01 Oct,2020

Sisco Research Laboratories Pvt. Ltd. (SRL) is one such organization that stands amongst the oldest and most respected manufacturers of specialty fine chemicals, microbiological, nanotechnology and biotechnology reagents. Mr S. K. Agarwal laid the foundation of SRL way back in 1975, here I am sharing a few interesting lines of the interview with him.

Microbioz India: Can you tell me a little about yourself?
I am a businessman by family tradition and a bit of technocrat by experience and learning of chemistry and biology during my pre graduation days. Working with my father, a doyen of Laboratory Chemicals business in India after Independence, Shri Raghunandan Prasad Agarwal, we were importing so called then rare chemicals and reagents from Europe and USA and were  prime suppliers to national laboratories, IITs, universities and leading research centers in the country. The name, SISCO, synonym with Research chemicals those days is derived from our parent trading company “Scientific and Industrial Supplies Corporation” established in the year 1947. Our family hails from Agra, the city of Tajmahal and I had landed in Mumbai on the Quit India Movement day, the 9th August 1942. My personal passion is to support Scouting and Guiding and work with young scouts and guides.  I was a world committee member of the International Scout and Guide Fellowship and National Secretary of its Indian chapter. I was honoured with “Indian Achiever’s Award” in 2014 for Industry Development in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainable Development at the prestigious award ceremony of The Indian Achievers Forum (36th National Seminar) held in New Delhi on 25th February 2014. Recently, at my age of 83 years I had attended & successfully completed MIT Certification (MIT management executive education) in 2018 from Emeritus Institute of Management, USA.

Microbioz India: What have been the main accomplishments of the Sisco Research Laboratories during the last five years?
There are a lot of changes happening in the country during the last five years. INNOVATION and MAKE IN INDIA have been the watch words for all the industries. New standards of study and research are being adopted in the system of science education. Life sciences have been in the front line areas related to health, environment and climate change. New methods of testing and more advanced instruments and techniques are being introduced in teaching, research and industry.
SRL is keeping pace with these developments and a wide range of Reagents and Biochemicals related to biochemistry, biotechnology, diagnostics, Biopharmaceuticals, Biosimilar have been added to our range. Our range of dehydrated culture media and molecular biology grade reagents are continuously being expanded.
In the area of chemistry, the specifications are being upgraded to match the advanced quality control techniques, adding GC, HPLC grades of products and PCR Reagents and ready to use specialized buffers and solutions and bulk organic and bio reagents and intermediates. Recently, SRL has been honoured by SME Chamber of Commerce as the best “SME of the Year 2020 – Manufacturing Sector (Chemicals)” award.
Microbioz India: What do/did you like most and least about your present/most recent position?
Our vision was to manufacture research chemicals in India and a bubbling desire that if Indian scientists abroad can produce these chemicals in those countries then why not equally qualified scientists in India could do that? We got support from Prof & Dr.J.R. Merchant from Institute of Science, Mumbai and encouragement from Prof. & Dr.A. Nityanand, CDRI, Lucknow and other leading scientists and established Sisco Research Laboratories Pvt. Ltd (SRL) in Mumbai in the year 1975.
Our fascination or most liking is to develop and produce the highest purities and meeting international standards of all categories of our products ranging Laboratory Chemicals, Reagents and Biochemicals, Dehydrated Culture Media, PCR Reagents and now venturing into Nano Compounds.
The least I like is procrastination, not to postpone decisions. Our management team includes myself as the chairman and managing director, my son Ramesh Agarwal and my grandsons Akash and Vikas Agarwal and my wife as the directors and our team of the technocrats with high degree of qualifications and experience working in our three manufacturing units in MIDC, Navi Mumbai and one unit in Chennai, manufacturing PCR Reagents.
Microbioz India: What has been your biggest challenge in achieving company goals?
We are in the global market. The Internet has provided great opportunities to the users to procure their requirements from anywhere in the world and to their required specifications. Hence QUALITY is the first goal of the company. Our market is very open in India, both local and foreign players are operating in the country. Hence, the biggest challenge and success have been winning the confidance of the niche scientific customers.
Many of the SRL products are being included in the protocols of large industries like Biocon, Reliance Life Sciences, Dr. Reddy’s, Hindustan Unilever and many others. We are pridefully on approved list and rate contract with most of the CSIR, ICMR, ICAR, DRDO, IITS, IISER, NISER and leading universities. We are equally competing with multinationals in Europe, Africa, Arab, Asia Pacific countries and even in US, Canada. SRL is recognized internationally for its quality and service together with its niche range of products.
Microbioz India: How do you build rapport with the management team? What role do others play in actualizing your strategies?
The top management closely works with all the managers at the head office and factories and depots. My responsibility is majorly shared by my son and grandsons. My involvement during the last 5 years is more consultative and providing guidance. The young directors, Akash and Vikas Agarwal, both with their management skills acquired in their MBA studies in US and UK and experience of working in the company, have introduced several digital based operations in quality control, distribution and logistics. Myself having strategized during the last 40 years is now more to support the new ideas of my young directors. Transparency in operations and training the managers, inducting internet platforms are the new forms of managerial strategies.
Microbioz India: Sir, what do you consider the most important contribution of your professional experiences have made to Sisco Research Laboratories? What was your role?
My major role has always been encouraging and inducing my top managers to think and innovate the reactions and processes and even to articulate quality control techniques to get the best results.
Microbioz India: Do you pick and choose, or do you take all the ideas and attempt to work with them?
I pick and choose and work with the ideas with team efforts.

Microbioz India: What are your opinions on COVID-19 situation on Laboratory Chemicals and Allied products? Does it give opportunity for Bio-Pharmaceutical industry to showcase its importance?
Well, for manufacturers of Laboratory Chemicals, Reagents, Media and PCR products and even allied products, it is boon in disguise. Fortunately for India, health of the nation and its preparedness to face such situations in future have become most challenging and revenue producing.

The call of ATMA NIRBHAR BHARAT by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi is opening new avenues of business opportunities.
SRL is a prime manufacturer and suppliers of several Reagents and buffers and dehydrated media used in RT PCR Covid19 kits, Viral RNA extraction kits and Viral Transport Media and also development of Covid 19 Vaccines.
Microbioz India: What are the key objectives that you would like to achieve in the upcoming three years?
I am motivating my team to work hard and increase productivity to compensate for the losses being incurred during the Covid 19 period. To achieve the set revenue goals. Expand the global market where opportunities are tremendous.
Our objective is also to strengthen our market share in the field of PCR reagents and Microbiology Dehydrated Media together with Laboratory Chemicals and Reagents.

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