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Profile

HASAN BILGRAMI

By SHABBIR H. KAZMI
Dec 03 - 09 , 2001

Abbas Hasan Bilgrami was born in Karachi in 1956. He got Bachelor in Pharmacy degree from University of Karachi in 1978 and Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, in 1981. The unique combination of professional qualifications has enabled him to work in senior position in Pakistan as well as abroad. At present he is working as Sales and Marketing Manager (Healthcare Products) at 3M Pakistan, a wholly owned, Pakistani subsidiary of a Fortune 500 Corporation. He initiated the Healthcare operations of 3M in Pakistan and also spearheaded local manufacturing operation, in close collaboration with company's International Manufacturing Division.

PAGE: 3M is generally known in Pakistan as a leading manufacturer of magnetic media, what are its other areas of activity?

HASAN BILGRAMI: 3M serves fast-growing high-tech markets such as electronics, telecommunications and optical systems. Dynamic, high-growth markets currently account for a quarter of 3M's sales. During the year 2000, the Company experienced one of the highest levels of innovation in its history, generating US$ 5.6 billion nearly 35 per cent of total sales from products introduced during the past four years, with over US$ 1.5 billion of sales coming from products introduced in year 2000. Dynamic, high-growth markets currently account for a quarter of 3M's sales. During the year 2000, the Company experienced one of the highest levels of innovation in its history, generating US$ 5.6 billion nearly 35 per cent of total sales from products introduced during the past four years, with over US$ 1.5 billion of sales coming from products introduced in year 2000.

PAGE: Tell us more about your specific area of supervision?

HASAN: 3M established its corporate office in Pakistan in 1995 focusing selected groups of product, including medical consumables with proper clinical back-up. This area was often ignored by many multinational companies as they preferred to market their products through agents. 3M made specific efforts to educate doctors and para-medical staff by conducting awareness and training programmes for following procedures and standards. The integral parts of this awareness programme are, emphasis on avoiding post operation infection and creating aseptic environment in both public and private hospitals. This is to avoid indiscriminate use of antibiotics which not only adds cost but also results in resistance even against fourth generation antibiotics.

PAGE: Why in your opinion, special care is desired after operation?

HASAN: A common saying is that prevention is better than cure. People are advised by the doctors to take maximum preventive measures to avoid ailment. This is based on the premise that most of the medicines, in one way or the other, disturbs the body equilibrium and have some side effects. This disturbance often causes further complications. The specific care is more important in pre and post operations. This specifically demands aseptic environment in operations theaters. This was the main objective, which prompted 3M to establish its business operations in Pakistan.

PAGE: What has been the experience?

HASAN: To tell you the truth, most of the doctors and paramedical staff appreciate the importance of the educational programmes. Their particular appreciation is for the scientific and clinical back up that is presented as part of the educational programme. I am saying this as a result of interaction with a large number of people. Saying this much, I would also say that the results have been very encouraging. Our team is regularly invited by various hospitals to conduct awareness programme. This is also evident by the increase in sales of our products.

PAGE: What has been the response of Health Ministry?

HASAN: Previously hardly any specifications/details were given to the suppliers. However, 3M has succeeded in incorporating product specifications in tenders being issued by federal and provincial governments. We have not done this to achieve any unfair advantage for us but we only wanted that apples should be compared with apples and not oranges.

PAGE: What are your comments about the general perception that 3M products are very expensive?

HASAN: I have said earlier that apples should only be compared with apples. Most of 3M products are innovative and have been introduced by the Corporation for the first time. A lot of money has been invested in research and development. For example our surgical tapes should not be compared with ordinary masking tapes available at stationery shops. Since both the products are meant for different use, they have different specifications and different pricing structure. Even when we started our operations in Pakistan, we did not insisted on using 3M products, we only highlighted the difference in product specification. It may be another thing that users found our products more appropriate for the use.