Nudging Ahead the OTC Game

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Coming from a big business group, Ajay and Swati Piramal's daughter Nandini entered the family business in 2006, grabbing the opportunity to learn something new across genre. In an interaction with Entrepreneur, Nandini unveils her role in business.

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Nandini Piramal is immersed in a sizable pharma business empire. She heads the Human Resources (HR) function at Piramal Group and looks after strategic planning for all businesses and the quality and risk functions at Piramal Enterprises' Healthcare vertical. After doing MBA, she joined family business in 2006. She worked for a year in the UK doing operational excellence.

Then she worked in the US and came back to India in 2009. After this, she performed different roles across the business and operations like supply chain and Over-the-counter OTC (business). She has taken over the HR function four years back.

Entering the Business

On joining the family business, Nandini Piramal, Executive Director, Piramal Enterprises, says, "I also wanted to join the family business because the opportunity was to do much more while enjoying different roles." On why being a part of the family business is good, she explains, "It's an opportunity to learn and actually have an impact. You can have much more impact in a family business than otherwise."

The Piramal family was very happy with Nandini's decision of joining the family business. When asked what quality her parents admire of hers, she says, "I am very relentless on pushing things that matter. That's what my parents like." On what she brings to the table, Nandini says, "I am a process-oriented person. I create processes and systems that actually work." Although she learnt the art of dreaming big from her father, her focus on process and system comes from her stint with McKinsey.

The Process Orientation

Emphasizing more on her role driven towards process and quality, Nandini says, "Quality is all about system and process. Once you create a system, you can make sure you have good quality records. If you leave it up to jugaad, it doesn't work because there will be human errors. And it's not like you can go back and fix it. Even in OTC when you have 3,000 people, you got to create systems as you can't do it again. We can't do it manually anymore."

Talking about the growth she brought to the OTC business, Nandini says, "We don't necessarily talk about numbers and all but in our OTC business we are in single digit crore a month and now it is much more than that. Over the last four months, we have done two sets of acquisitions. We are growing consistently. Next year we really expect to increase our sales because of these acquisitions." Nandini's other interests include traveling, reading and cooking. Sharing the same, she says, "I read everything from fiction to non-fiction. Currently, I am reading this Anne Frank's novel."

On how she would like to add more value in the business, she says, "I would like to take my OTC business to a certain scale. That's the next challenge." She likes to talk to people to know what they are doing while using the best ideas for better results. For team building, she believes in hiring right people who have a diverse set of views and trusts the team to do it upfront. Piramal group has around 6,000 people.

Heading HR she gives a lot of focus on developing the right talent. Nandini's brother Anand, who is also a part of the family business, looks after the realty business. Nandini's husband runs the critical care business, which is currently spread over 100 countries.

"I would like to scale OTC as it is doing very well. We have been growing consistently. Eventually, we want to grow it and lead it to an IPO size. So that we can actually make it separate at some point in the long term," signs off Nandini.

This article first appeared in the Indian edition of Entrepreneur magazine (April 2016 Issue).