CATEGORY: Excellence in Productive Employment Creation (Mid-sized companies)
When Ameera Shah first got into business 14 years ago few people took her seriously. For, she was only 21 at the time and wanted to establish a nationwide presence in the highly fragmented segment of pathology labs. Today, 14 years on, Metropolis Healthcare has 800 collection centres and 125 laboratories in seven countries including India, South Africa and the UAE.
The foundation of Metropolis was laid in 1981 when Ameera Shah's father, Sushil Shah, opened a pathology lab in Gamdevi, Mumbai. Ameera, who studied and worked in the US before returning to India in 2000, converted the standalone lab into Metropolis and expanded across Mumbai until 2006. Then, she began to expand outside the city. "We thought that, as India was growing, healthcare would grow and there was an opportunity to build a chain of labs," she says.
Shah, however, focused from the start on training everyone from partners to the sample collector and making them more customer-centric. This was critical to Metropolis's expansion from a 40-employee outfit at the turn of the century to a 4,000-strong company now. "The availability of talent will grow over the next ten years but now there is no talent available," she says.
Private equity firm Warburg Pincus, which has been invested in Metropolis since 2010, endorses the manpower strategy of the company. "They (Metropolis) are giving them (employees) tools to do their job well. The larger players (such as Metropolis) are creating a pool of people who have the experience, tools and training to be able to do a more professional job," says Nitin Nayar, Managing Director at Warburg Pincus India.
Manpower training is more important for the company now that it is expanding outside India. Shah says it will be tougher to establish a footprint in the company's newest market, Africa, which lacks good medical facilities and where the culture, operations, and local partners would be difficult to manage. "The further you are from your home country, the more difficult it is to set things up," she says.