Delivering value in AgroVet industry
RoyRaphaels Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing Company Limited is an indigenous company engaged in the production of drugs for animal health and nutrition. Dr. Roys Ugbobuaku, the CEO of the firm, has been in business of providing goods and services for animal nutrition for over two decades. The recipient of several professional awards and recognitions spoke on the Focus of a CEO in this interview with Nnamdi Nwokolo.
What informed your choice of business?
Interestingly, I’ve never set my eyes on a Veterinary Doctor before the decision to study the course was made, but I was convinced that it is a worthwhile profession. I was very good in Agriculture and I abhor the sight of cadaver which was basically the reason why I did not go for Medicine, so I chose something in between, which was Veterinary Medicine instead. To be sincere with you, I didn’t entertain any phobias at all. I always believe that whatever I set my eyes to do must definitely succeed. One good point I have is that I always have a positive mental attitude towards anything I engage in and this positive mindset has really helped me in the sense that I’ve taken so many business risks and still came out unscathed.
What has been the most challenging experience of running a manufacturing firm?
Let me clear something, I started my practice with Eagle Consult Modern Veterinary Services while RoyRaphaels manufacturing Limited is the pharmaceutical arm of the company and they all have peculiar challenges. The beauty of what we are doing that really helped us to surmount some of the challenges is that our products are original and of high quality. We were the first to introduce the use of paracetamol in poultry and nobody has complained about any disaster over the years. We have not copied anybody as our products are original to us. Patience is very key to surmounting business challenges. The biggest challenge that we face as manufacturers is the infrastructural decay in the society. But to be sincere with you, even though the challenges are limiting our growth opportunities, I see them as stepping stone to the next level. Funding is also a challenge, what we did was that when we started our pilot plant, we relied on personal funds as the banks are not ready to give facility to start ups. We were able to overcome the challenge of funding by creating strong partnerships that was of great benefit to us.
What are the principles that have helped you to sustain the firm?
The fundamental principle of building a sustainable business is to put systems in place. We have a system that allows the organization to run whether I’m there or not. The way the organization is run, I’m like an employee because we have a system that determines the percentage of profit that is ploughed back into the business and the percentage that goes to everyone. I sincerely believe that entrepreneurs should delay gratification to enable the business survive. I may not have too much money but if the business is healthy it should be able to service me later. Attention is on the business as you’ll agree with me that if the business is healthy, everybody will be fine. We have also made sure that our products are very difficult to counterfeit through quality packaging.
What are your expectations in the business environment in 2017?
We hope the New Year must be better as 2016 was a very tough year for entrepreneurs. With the slide in oil price, a lot of businesses has closed shop while so many others are downsizing, we hope that as the government settles down, opportunities will be opened for business to thrive. In 2017, we are looking forward to new opportunities and exploring ways to source some of our raw materials locally given an enabling environment as the attribute that define our firm includes technical competence, years of experience and a deep knowledge of our working environment. But it is this element of commitment that you will find in our organization that separates us from the rest. We have a genuine subscription to helping clients achieve their goals.
What is the unique selling point of RoyRaphaels?
Our mission is to deliver quality products to our diverse clientele. As the Managing Director of the firm, I’m involved in every project to ensure standards and quality service delivery. The key to our success is our people as we develop and empower our people to achieve our objectives in delivering quality and the most cost effective services to our clients. Our professionals are dedicated and skilled with practical experience and a strong knowledge of the industry ethics, standards, codes and regulations. We pursue a vibrant health, safety and environmental balance that is nurtured by a dedicated workforce of safety professionals. Our vision is to be a world class organization in our niche market. In the course of my practice, I try as much as possible to see things from the eyes of the clients. This mindset really made me to go into areas that are not very popular in Veterinary pharmaceuticals. We were able to develop products that are unique to the veterinary profession including Glucomol, Furafolsamin, Amiraz and Eaglex powder and they are all my invention.
What can government do differently to help the manufacturing sector?
The very first thing government must do is to fix the infrastructures as this will stimulate economic recovery. There are a lot of things the government can do in terms of giving tax incentives to the real sector. This will encourage more people to go into manufacturing thereby creating the needed jobs to boost the economy. It is disheartening that we are being charged the price of export in natural gas and it is killing local manufacturers. Our bill went up to 25% with the fluctuating nature of the Naira till date and we have not been able to factor it into our production cost. If the government is subsidizing petrol, what stops them from subsidizing natural gas for local manufacturers?
From your experience, what are the critical factors for business success?
To build a sustainable business, the truth is that there’s competition everywhere, you have to be patient, be focused and be innovative. I would say that there are many factors that will combine to guarantee business success including a good education, high moral background, focus and perseverance. With the benefit of hindsight, don’t try to copy anybody; be yourself. You must learn how to assess quality information from older people around you through mentoring. I have people in my life that I pursue and learn from even till today. Young people should be steadfast and approach their fears with courage. Consistency and integrity is the key to a successful life.
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