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The story of Paramount Surgimed
Jai Arjun Singh |
November 20, 2004
Annoyed at the poor quality of service provided by one of his suppliers, Shaily Grover decided to do his own manufacturing: he established Paramount Surgimed, a surgical blade company, in 1993.
The company now has a turnover of Rs 7 crore, up 20 per cent from last year, and Grover has also entered into a franchise agreement with a Singapore-based lifestyle products company.
My family is originally from Sialkot, Pakistan, but migrated post-Partition. My father went to England on borrowed money, did his MBA, returned and got into the business of medical products.
When I was in school, the business was on a growth curve and I wanted to join him -- as an 18-year-old you have stars in your eyes and dream of becoming the next Ambani. But my dad insisted I finish my education first.
We struck a deal: I would go through the rigours of college but help with the business in my spare time. After graduation, there was another challenge -- my father wanted me to do my LLB. I concurred, but in the meantime I was also working in different departments of the business, training myself in various fields.
That restless, hungry feeling...
As it happened, I also got married early and by the time I was 25, I already felt like life had reached a saturation point of sorts: Successful business, happy family life. I used to think, what's next? The only thing I can do now is play golf! I didn't want to feel that way; besides, I had the idea that the true thrill of being an entrepreneur comes when you start something from scratch.
'I'll give you competition'
At the time, my father's company was trading in surgical blades among other products, and I was very unhappy with my supplier's lack of professionalism. One day I confronted him and he retorted smugly, "If I don't give you blades, what can you do?"
My response was immediate: "I'll be your competitor." I decided then to start a company that would manufacture surgical blades and so Paramount Surgimed was incorporated in 1993.
I knew of a Malaysian company that was shutting down and so I flew there and bought some of its machinery. Technological know-how is very important in this business, and we've never compromised on that aspect.
In 1996, we became the first Indian company in our business to get ISO 9000 approval, as well as Europe's prestigious CE mark. Our R&D team is constantly at work, upgrading our technology.
Today we are exporting to 50 countries, mainly in Europe, and make around 5 million blades a month. We manufacture a wide range of surgical blades and scalpels.
Last year, I travelled to Singapore and was very impressed with a massage chair I saw in my hotel suite. I learnt later that this chair was voted one of Time magazine's Inventions of the Year. I got in touch with the manufacturers, Osim International, and mooted the idea of bringing their lifestyle products to India.
Earlier this year, we signed a franchise agreement with them; we are now importing their products in India and Nepal through Osim India, which is a division of Paramount Surgimed. When we started, the idea was to have 15 outlets in the first three years, but now the target is at least twice that.
Rolls Royce or cleaning cars?
I have to divide my time between the businesses. But my mind is constantly ticking with new ideas too; my next project will be a new cosmetics division under the Paramount name.
Once I've got a business underway, I pass its management on to my CEOs and start thinking about what I can do next. It's not necessarily the most safe, steady approach to entrepreneurship, I know, but that's the way I am.In five years' time, you'll either see me being driven around in a Rolls Royce or cleaning cars at the traffic lights!