A versatile business leader with an innovative approach, Janak Sheth is driving excellence throughout the pharmaceutical industry with his venture, Century Pharmaceuticals Limited. Dr Janak earned his B.Tech degree from IIT – Delhi and today, he is an Industry veteran in the Pharmaceutical world with a total experience of 45 years.
Century Pharmaceuticals Ltd has been manufacturing APIs for over three decades. It offers other services also apart from supplying APIs. The company undertakes long-term contracts for manufacturing intermediates and development of new Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients as per your requirement. They are supplying APIs to the global pharmaceutical companies in India and abroad for the last 3 decades. Some of their major customers operate in India and export their products to other countries. Century is also engaged in pioneering research of novel molecules for the treatment and cure for Asthma and allergy.
STORY OF JANAK SHETH
As a young child, he always dreamt that he would not like to work like his father who was employed with a Bank but to start his own business. Dr Janak did not have any businessmen in his extended family nor had the resources required for setting up a business. So he knew that he had an uphill task in front of him. He decided to work towards his end objective by starting on the fundamentals – to get a good education.
Janak Sheth decided to get admitted to the best engineering institution – Indian Institute of Technology and pursued Chemical Engineering. He had a sharp focus on his future, so it kept him well engrossed in his studies and on “learning” rather than just excelling at exams. Dr Janak did his graduation with distinction and decided to join a company which could allow him to learn basics and he finally got that. Although he was very junior in the company, he decided to take decisions which many seniors feared to take. He became a sought after person owing to this ability by his colleagues.
However, he also got reprimanded by the top management for taking decisions which were way beyond his authority. He enjoyed it as there were few who dared to take decisions he was taking and it gave him a thrill. Although he was a just a Project Engineer for this new international project, he was effectively working as a Project Director taking most of the decisions including design and procurement of equipment etc. Later Dr Janak was involved with the installation of the equipment and thereafter production. After 4 years he left them and started his own business with a paltry sum of only Rs 3,000. He was lucky that the government looking to his acumen and project details, supported him with loans to set up the business including an equity capital loan to bridge the gap in funds available with him and that required in the form of equity investment.
DIVERSIFY THE ORGANIZATION’S OFFERINGS
Initially, Century was started with only 2 products. It took time to manage the finances, produce goods and market them as they had no previous business experience. With limited means, it was far more challenging. However, they stabilized themselves after 2 years and slowly started serving more customers. With more confidence to run the business, Dr. Janak decided to expand the production capacity and add more products to the portfolio. Based on customer feedback and their confidence in the products and services, the team decided on the next few products. They had a very good response from all customers and this set the ball rolling for them.
Owing to his success in business, Janak Sheth got invited to several social forums for helping the downtrodden. He has the opportunity to encourage students for their extraordinary performances and also provide financial support to those that need it the most. When he sees these students graduate and shine out in their careers, it gives him great pleasure for having made a difference in their lives. In recent times Century is also involved with providing help to tribal children who have congenital issues like cleft. They are able to win smiles from parents of these children and look forward to the day these children grow and become successful in their careers.
CHALLENGES ON THE WAY
Janak Sheth has a belief that any challenge is actually an opportunity. He has capitalized on all complaints received from his customers about their products and services. The recent COVID pandemic was also taken by them as an opportunity. They were amongst the first companies to get into action and started exports of their products when most people were in lockdown staying at home. This gave Dr Janak and his team more confidence and appreciation from their customers. As a result, they have seen much higher growth this year than in the recent past!
SECRET SAUCE AND LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLES
“When I was working, I realized that the speed with which I could make decisions helped me take bold decisions which many procrastinated. This decisive nature helped me as I progressed with our business. This ability resulted in greater self-confidence and with my sharp focus on my business, I maintained my enthusiasm and determination to continue to work towards success. I kept my sharp focus on the few things we worked on and tried t excel”, asserted Dr Janak.
“This helped us establish a niche for our products with extensive knowledge of the products we produced. Our
positive attitude helped us look at the brighter side of things and this kept us always in the sunshine. One of the most important aspects was integrity in business. This made us very predictable and hence were in the good books of most of our customers with greater support with time. Over the years we learnt the art of strong communications within and outside our company. Transparency in thoughts made our work very easy and smooth to execute”, he further added.
THE BIGGEST FAILURE IN BUSINESS AND LEARNING
Janak Sheth and his team were working on a novel molecule which required a lot of funds – much beyond their capability. They were approached by GVFL to fund them as a private equity investor. Initially, they found them as a serious mature venture fund and therefore listened to GVFL the way to commercialise the molecule. This was their biggest professional blunder to listen to GVFL against their own thought process. Ultimately the Century team had to give them an exit by almost killing themselves but sadly achieved no progress. Had it not been for GVFL, they would have succeeded in making a significant development of the novel molecule and registered the first new biological entity in India.
With this failure, Janak Sheth says that they have learnt to depend upon our own thought processes instead of depending on “experts”.
WHAT SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE?
Janak Sheth said, “Success for me means doing something that makes me happy, and something that I crave and enjoy. When I enjoy my work, I work with only a reasonable effort to cross new challenges. This success enables us to grow and develop mentally, spiritually and professionally”.
NEW IDEAS TO BE IMPLEMENTED
“As we grow further, we would like to dedicate ourselves to the social upliftment where possible and to work on uncharted areas which help in providing new medicines with much less side effects. Currently, we are working on the development of personalized cancer treatment. This is a targeted therapy approach which will specifically target and kill the tumour in the cancer patient and yet without any side effect. Our objective is to make a significant progress in this novel area and alleviate the pain of cancer patients”, Janak Sheth proudly shared.
VISION OF LIFE
For Janak Sheth, the vision in life is to contribute to the national economy through taxes and duties paid on imports and sale of their products. Presently, his company is doing various kinds of CSR activities in rural and tribal areas. The team gives special focus on providing basic education and drinking water facility to the people who live near their plant.
THE CHARACTERISTIC OF EVERY LEADER
Every leader should be capable enough to think in a unique and different way and should be able to innovate in their business. Innovation is the key to growth!
BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED
While sharing about the best advice ever received, Janak Sheth said, “Once I received a piece of advice that I am not innovating enough and that startled me as I was considered to be one who dares to innovate. But I took the advice in good stride. With a strong and cohesive team managing the present operations in Century Pharmaceuticals Ltd, it is time to think ahead. We are now planning to invest further in R & D and also to expand production capacity although we have sufficient surplus capacity. We understood the advice that we are not growing as fast as we can and should”.
MAIN DRIVING FORCE BEHIND CENTURY PHARMACEUTICALS LTD
The strong and harmonious team in Century is the main driving force behind the success of the company. The team accepts challenges and achieves them. It is geared for much better performances in future.
COMPANY’S FUTURE PERSPECTIVES
Presently, Century Pharmaceuticals Limited is on a very strong footing. The company was in a partnership with an Israeli Biotechnology company for research and commercialization of a novel recombinant protein for the treatment and cure of Asthma and Allergy. Now, the company is looking forward to developing costly products which require much fewer resources instead of churning out tons of pharmaceuticals which also produce a lot of pollutants. The team is working hard on unmet needs of the industry and tries to focus on products which have much fewer side effects.