He leads a dynamic team that is driving growth in India and celebrating its first QIAsymphony sale in Nepal
For Naresh Kumar, working in the vast India region means spending much of his time travelling by road and air. As Manager Applications, Commercial Operations, Naresh manages a team of eight people from his base at QIAGEN's New Delhi office. However, his customers are scattered India-wide as well as in Nepal, the Maldives and Bhutan. Naresh has team members based in seven major Indian cities working to cover the whole country.
“I usually travel 15 to 16 days per month. One of the biggest challenges here is the scattered geography. That is why we need a big, dedicated manpower to cover the whole of India,” Naresh explained.
Meeting customers in the field requires long days, with Naresh often leaving home for the airport at 4 a.m. and working through until 10 p.m. In addition to client meetings, Naresh also manages his team from the road.
Meeting clients requires travel to cities including Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and other smaller cities that are between 1.5 and 3 hours from New Delhi by plane. Additional road travel lasting up to two hours is often necessary, too.
However, the Indian climate can create complications. Flights to and from New Delhi are often delayed due to winter weather. Working from the New Delhi office and other cities, Naresh and the commercial operation team collaborate and coordinate with Customer Care, Logistics, Finance and Human Resources departments.
Outpacing market growth
Since joining QIAGEN in India nearly eight years ago, Naresh has seen the company's direct subsidiary there go from strength to strength. “Last year we grew the Molecular Diagnostics business by a high double-digit rate. We are growing much faster than market growth. In Nepal, we doubled the business last year. These are very exciting times,” he explained.
The team celebrated a major achievement in 2017 with the sale of the first QIAsymphony in Nepal. Their victory followed a 1.5-year process to form a partnership with international NGO the “Global Fund”, which is running an anti-malarial campaign in the Himalayan country of Nepal. The campaign is implemented by international NGO “Save the Children” in close collaboration with the Global Fund and the Nepalese government.
“There was competition and many government steps for approval. We addressed the challenges with our professional approach and teamwork to show the customer that we are partnering with them. In 2017 we received the order and installed the system,” Naresh said.
Nepal’s first QIAsymphony, funded by the Global Fund, is now situated in the National Public Health Laboratory in the capital city of Kathmandu. QIAGEN's growth in the pan-India region is continuing at an impressive rate thanks to the strong, professional and empowered team.
“For 2018 QIAGEN India is driving towards market leadership for the molecular diagnostics market. We have overtaken our competitors despite the market challenges,” Naresh explained. “It is an extremely exciting time here with the rate of growth. I am really liking this journey.”