"UFLC will be one of the HPLC market growth facilitators"
Senya Imamichi joined Shimadzu in 1984 as a R&D chemist for HPLC product line and then gradually shouldered responsibilities of product manager at Shimadzu Singapore, marketing manager in Japan and so on from where there has been no looking back. Today as the deputy managing director of Shimadzu Analytical (India), Imamichi San is based at Mumbai and takes care of the analytical instruments business in India. Imamichi San shares with BioSpectrum some of the key focus areas of Shimadzu in India.
You became the deputy managing director of Shimadzu India about six months back. What do you think of the Indian market?
India offers tremendous opportunities for Shimadzu. We have plans to take full advantage of this dynamic market situation. We have distributors in India who are with us for more than 25 years. Shimadzu's approach is to support customers with innovative solutions to their growing needs.
Shimadzu set up a customer support center last year. How has this helped the customers?
Shimadzu has set up a customer support center in Mumbai to show Shimadzu's commitment to the customer and to provide additional support to our distributors. The customer support center will provide training on different instruments to the customers. We conduct regular training program on different instruments. In the last one year, a number of customers have attended these training programs. We have already brought out the 2008 training calendar. As per this, we plan to offer a number of courses next year.
We are also helping the customer for method development. For instance, we have analyzed a number of samples of the customer with our Prominence UFLC and shown the advantage Shimadzu Prominence UFLC offers over the conventional HPLC. Shimadzu Prominence HPLC could be easily upgraded on site to UFLC by customers. Many of these customers whose samples we have analyzed are satisfied with our approach and have ordered UFLC system from us.
Do you think that the market for UFLC will improve growth of HPLC market?
The instrument companies are continuously finding solution to meet the customer's productivity. UFLC is one such approach. This can be achieved with an elevated temperature or increased pressure. Today customers are encouraging both the approaches. Anyhow, UFLC will be one of the HPLC market growth facilitator.
Which segment of customers does Shimadzu target for its HPLCs?
Like every other vendors of HPLC, Shimadzu has to target the pharmaceutical market, which has highest market requirement with continued growth for this segment only. We have brought out an integrated fully automated HPLC system called LC-2010HT. This model was well received by almost all major pharmaceuticals companies in India today. We have close to 1,800 installations.
What about the other models you have like Prominence?
Prominence was launched two years back, which has specs and performance that have created a benchmark in the industry. Prominence was well received in the market. We have already crossed 1,000 installations
Is it true that Shimadzu is covering low-end market?
I was surprised with this statement. I have seen references to this in your magazine. I have never seen the market classification as high-end, middle-end or low-end. Indian customers are very intelligent customers and they are competing against the global market. They would like to have instruments with state-of-the-art design and performance. I do not think Indian customers will expect any downgraded versions.
Does it mean that Shimadzu will not bring out a more economical version?
No, not at all. We are looking at a different market segment. For instance, our latest strategy is to tie up with Waters on Empower connectivity with our Prominence system.
Can you tell us something more about the Empower connectivity?
Shimadzu and Waters have signed an agreement couple of months back that facilitates Empower software to seamlessly connect and control with Shimadzu HPLC. This has been a request from many customers in India and by this connectivity, we are confident of gaining more space in laboratory.
What are your immediate plans for the pharmaceutical industry?
Shimadzu is arranging Asia Pharma Summit 2007 at Singapore on December 6, 2007. About 30 professionals are invited from India to join this conference and 30 more will join from other Asian countries. This Pharma Summit will be attended by Shigehiko Hattori san, CEO and president of Shimadzu Corporation, Japan. Dr MD Nair, pharma consultant in India, will deliver the keynote address. There are speakers from the US, Europe and Japan.