Drs Tribedi and Roy Diagnostic Lab with its successful strategy implementation has been able to sustain itself in this competitive environment and hopefully will be able to do so in the long run
The diagnostics sector has become highly competitive in the last few years as players are leaving no stones unturned to become the number one provider. As new technologies evolve and automation and AI takes centre stage, the sector will witness a new era of lab efficiencies.
Undeterred by the massive changes in the diagnostics space, Kolkata-based Drs Tribedi and Roy Diagnostic Laboratory have been registering unhindered growth since the last few decades. So, how does Drs Tribedi and Roy manage to survive in this competitive environment and what is the secret behind its success?
The growth story
Set up in 1956 by Dr BP Tribedi and taken over by Dr AR Roy in 1958, Drs Tribedi and Roy Diagnostic Laboratory is a well- known landmark in Central Kolkata over the last five decades. The lab had a small set up during its initial days with 40-50 patient footfalls. The lab functions on a no-franchise model and all the tests are conducted under one roof. With this strategy, Drs Tribedi and Roy Diagnostic Laboratory ensure that patients get their reports on time. But as volumes increased along with public demand for more centres, Dr Roy was compelled to expand his services.
According to Dr Subhendu Roy, MD, Drs Tribedi and Roy Diagnostic Laboratory, another four centres have opened in different parts of the city. “The real growth happened during the late 80s and early 90s due to innovation in technology.”
Dr Roy says, “The lab runs through word-of-mouth and is not a corporate-run lab. We never advertise and our lab functions through word-of-mouth. We have certainly not grown like other chains, but it is a choice. We are under no pressure from the shareholders and PE holder.”
The lab ensures that patients have access to reports by late afternoon so that whoever is travelling to distant suburbs can go back home on time. Introducing the barcoding system for labelling of samples has ensured that the reports are accurate and reach the right patients on time. And to provide quick service without any interruptions, the lab has introduced barcoding of reports for billing process as well. So, it will be easy to locate the reports of the repeat patients.
In order to expand their services from a quality point of view, doctors at the lab also provide clinical advice and consultation. Says Dr Roy, “The USP of the lab is that it is controlled by a group of doctors since inception.”
At a time when there are news of sour relationships between doctor and patient, Drs Tribedi and Roy Diagnostic Laboratory has been able to bridge the gap by giving first-hand information of the disease to its patients. This has ensured that patients keep visiting the lab for future tests which have increased footfalls. The current footfall is between 1,000 to 1,500 on a daily basis.
Dr Roy further mentions, “We are a standalone lab and there are no tie-ups with hospitals and have no captive patients. 99 per cent of our patients are walk-ins.”
Drs Tribedi and Roy has another advantage when it comes to its employees who work in the lab. Says Dr Roy, “Though employees work under tremendous pressure, the attrition rate is very low and some of the employees have been working here for more than 20 years.”
Although Dr Roy’s views and techniques to build the brand by way of its no advertising rule, depending on word of mouth may sound old school for some, it has still helped him build a line of loyal customers. The goodwill built in so many years is certainly a fruit of the hard work, the value system and quality principles the lab follows. Dr Roy and his team have also thrived on technology, they are now adopting automation to enhance productivity and quality.
Automation — a game-changer
Adoption of automation has helped Drs Tribedi and Roy Diagnostic Laboratory to fully automate the clinical biochemistry, serology, haematology and immunohaematology departments. Automation has also helped the lab handle a higher number of samples and provide quality reports.
Dr Roy mentions, “Technologically, we have left no stones unturned. Over the years we have maintained a good relationship with big companies. If they have to station an engineer so be it. It helps to ensure that there are no technical glitches while on service. We use the best reagents, quality control systems and online, IT technology.”
At any given point of time while conducting a test, if a particular parameter is above or below a certain level, it is considered as an alert. The test is again repeated at the operator level in the second instrument. According to Dr Roy, the ultimate aim is to provide the correct report.
The lab conducts quality checks twice a day for every parameter and has also ensured to duplicate everything to ensure that the machines are always on standby in case of any eventuality. Whenever there is a malfunction of the instrument or reagents, then the whole batch had some issue, but if there is a random error then thorough analysis needs to be done.
Says Dr Roy, “Machines can malfunction at any point of time and it is difficult for us to tell any patient that the machines are defective. We also ensure that there are no two visits by patients for collecting the report.”
Demineralised water, also known as demi water, is purified water and is often used in laboratory applications. The lab ensures that water is properly de-mineralised and de-ionised before it goes inside the machine. Dr Roy says, “The water is tested periodically and technology has helped us purify water and also eradicate bacterial contamination. Once a machine is installed, we also ensure that the filtration system is also installed.”
The lab’s success is being measured by goodwill, which it has earned over the years. However, it needs to be seen how Drs Tribedi and Roy will be able to manage costs, maintain quality and patient experience in the long run. On how it can sustain itself in this competitive world is what the future will tell.