After an enriching and exciting trip to Japan, I have a breather to write about my visit to Sysmex, head quartered in Kobe renowned worldwide for the finest in quality, innovative
diagnostic equipment and reagents in Hematology for four decades.
I landed at Kasai International Airport Japan, from where Kobe was an hour’s drive. We visited its Kakogawa Factory for Tour. Largely ladies, employed from a radius of 10 kms, the work force had a headset, which was guiding them to do the steps one by one in assembling a 3 or 5 part analyzers. Large floors, huge resources and organized assembling in that building is now reaching its fifth decade.
After the tour of an hour understanding the factory we headed our way from the Solution Center, which was a huge facility.
From the presentation that was done, I understood that, in US, Sysmex was in number two position, three years back, currently, they lead the table. For Sysmex, hematology is core business accounts for 80% of their total business and is present in most countries across the world.
In India, Sysmex hematology analyzers has been present for more than 25 years, through Transasia headed by Mr. Suresh Vazirani and I am given to understand that reagents for India are made in India by Sysmex. We have in our floor 7 machines (XN–1000) and are happy about their performances.
In Kobe Japan, we were taken to Sysmex Techno Park, their their core R&D division established on the 40th anniversary of the company with the state of art facilities to curate their rich technological heritage and the future advancements. I was amazed to see their ability to keep books and posters for 30 different scientific disciplines in 20 different languages. I picked up books (weighing 10 kgs) from that display (any visitor is given a bag and asked to choose what they would like to take).
Highlight of the trip was the team which went together to Japan. Mr. Anil Prabhakaran, the MD of Sysmex India, tried for first time that no one in this industry tried in the past. He invited heads of all the four big laboratories (head on competitors) to come together for the visit. In this Dr. Arvind Lal, the veteran could not join since he had some domestic commitments. But other three Dr. Sushil Shah, Chairman of Metropolis, Dr. Avinash Phadke Director SRL and myself together were in this trip for four days. Since big laboratory players from emerging market like India were in their premises, they asked us to make a presentation of 20 minutes each to their employees on what works in India and in some emerging markets where Indian laboratories are active. Post lecture, the elaborate, customary, Tea Ceremony was a new learning for me.
After an intellectually stimulating session we were taken for a tour through the Techno Park that offers a platform for all the scientists and engineers all over the world to exchange knowledge for further advancements in the technology.
Dinner was hosted by Chairman, Board of Directors of Sysmex, at Minato Ijin-kan, Kobe which in Japanese means foreigners abode a beautiful wooden house of Sysmex to host special visitors little away from the main land. During dinner, the communication to decision makers in Sysmex was, India is a:
- Cost conscious market.
- Quality conscious market
- Volume generating market.
- Patient pays 95% from his pocket, a non-insurance market
- No support from government, as an industry.
Sysmex understands and acknowledged the complexities of Indian market and has commitment to continue to be leader in India and world wide.
We were taken to Kyoto since we wanted to visit a couple of the big Japanese Laboratories to understand how they work. We first visited FALCO Bio Systems. They have a laboratory of around 1,00,000 sq. feet, with more machines and less men, fully automated commercial laboratory, working in similar lines of how Thyrocare does, but has all laboratory disciplines from microbiology to molecular biology. It does in a day around 50,000 specimens and 2,00,000 investigations and interestingly TSH is the single largest test for them too! The second visit was to Kyoto Hospital yet another large customer of Sysmex. FALCO Bio Systems did not have a track while this one had a good track system supported by high end analyzers. Obviously automations and track systems were far ahead of that in India. In other words, mean age of Japan is 15 years more than India while their technologies are 10 years ahead of us. (Considering an average Indian laboratory). Interesting fact to be noted from the diagnostics world is, be it in vitro or in vivo, 50% comes from Europe, 22% comes from America, 20% comes from Japan, 8% is contributed by rest of the world. In other words, 10% of population supplying to 90% of the world and it is now 50 years. Mindray, the Chinese fast growing brand is latest in this domain but their aggression rd brings them to 3rd position in hematology.
What is interesting, only Hematology is the fastest growing discipline in a laboratory and R & D in this field by the players is motivating while the race is on, between the three main players globally, Sysmex, Coulter and Mindray.