The incongruity between the needy and the needful has always been one of the major challenges faced by the healthcare industry. This hurdle has been especially confronted by the healthcare system in the Indian subcontinent, given the vast geographical diversification, ranging from the Himalayan Mountains to the Coastal plains and everything in between.
Realizing this aperture between the people living in these remote habitats of the nation and the necessary medicine and OTC products, Biddano was formed.
The company was founded in the year 2016, by its Co-Founder and CEO, Talha Shaikh, with an aim to evolve the healthcare logistics and supply chain arena.
In an interview with Insights Care, Talha articulates how Biddano is transforming the healthcare supply chain space with its remotest approach.
Following are the highlights of the interview:
Would you please brief our audience about Biddano, its USPs, and the critical aspects of its stronghold within the healthcare supply chain niche?
Biddano is India’s leading and only B2B full-stack healthcare supply-chain platform. Biddano’s mission is to revolutionize offline pharma distribution networks by bridging supply-chain gaps between distributors and chemists through its technology platform. It uses the ‘plug and expand’ model to help distributors manage their demand and supply while expanding their geographical reach and helping pharmacies with better availability.
Biddano’s tech platform simplifies order fulfilment for chemists and hospitals by enabling orders from multiple distributors to be easily consolidated into pharmacy-specific deliveries. Biddano’s platform helps pharmacies with ‘just-in-time’ procurement of pharma & FMCG SKUs through its virtual inventory app.
With its virtual inventory model, Biddano helps pharmacy shops improve their efficiency and maintain positive cash flow. It has a network of over 20000 chemists across eight cities today. Biddano is targeting to capture a significant market share of the $80 billion pharmacy market across healthcare services and FMCG products.
Tell us more about the solutions that you offer, giving Biddano a distinctive edge to stand out from the competition.
Affordability and accessibility of medicines are the two vital challenges that have affected health and longevity for umpteen Indians. One of the primary reasons is the lack of organized last-mile delivery of medications to people, especially in remote areas.
So, we incorporated these challenges into one and made it our prime principle to find Biddano as a long-term, ascendible healthcare solution that would enable every citizen to get access to lucrative medicines and OTC products.
We’ve surrounded ourselves with people who share our vision of becoming one of the most trusted partners in the healthcare industry. The idea is to design an easy-to-use, functional platform for pharmacies and distributors that would add value to the quality of life of the said customers.
Endorsed by the All-India Association of Chemists & Distributors as their exclusive channel partner, Biddano is a category-buster in the healthcare industry. We’ve achieved a substantial feeling of fulfilment of managing to touch lives and making a difference by attaining critical pharmaceutical and OTC deliveries across cities in the time of need.
As a seasoned business leader, what is your opinion about the effects of the pandemic on the healthcare supply chain sector, and what were the challenges that Biddano came across?
The pandemic indeed disrupted the supply chain sector across segments, but the health care supply chain witnessed a huge surge due to a sudden rise in demand for medicines and other medical equipment. There was also a behavioural shift among the consumers that increased the demand significantly in a brief period as most consumers started ordering medicines and essentials online.
However, the stakeholders were unable to meet the burgeoning demand due to certain challenges, including a lack of infrastructure and workforce on the ground. These challenges pushed us to think more creatively to optimize the resources. There was also a need for innovation and tech enhancements to increase efficiency but did not have enough time to launch stable products.
The pandemic also forced several start-ups in this space to pivot from their core models and begin doing deliveries. The major challenge in this shift to the delivery model was increased attrition amongst the riders as pandemic regulations required less people on the ground to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
While these were some operational challenges, the segment faced regulatory hurdles, too, as approvals to deliver medicines and essentials took long and were not for everyone in the team. But having said that, Biddano overcame all those hurdles and kept following the only mission “to make medicines accessible and available anytime, anywhere.”
With continuous development in AI and ML, what is your prediction about the future of the supply chain solutions niche?
- I believe this decade is about transformation, not innovation. Most of the wheels are already invented, what we need to focus on is optimizing systems and processes. To achieve the highest level of optimization, you need AI & ML.
- The supply chain is no different from any other industry. Especially in India, the healthcare supply chain is highly unorganized and fragmented. We at Biddano are using ML for route optimization with travel data and traffic locations.
- In the healthcare supply chain, delivery TAT (Turn Around Time) is the most important KPI. With AI & ML, we have achieved the lowest delivery TAT for B2B supplies which is less than 3 hrs in a 25 km radius.
- We are now focusing on getting this down to less than 2 hrs with AI, where we will predict demand and supply with geo-spatial data models.
What would be your advice to the entrepreneurs aspiring to venture into the healthcare supply chain solutions space?
- The Healthcare supply chain is vast and full of opportunities; my suggestion to entrepreneurs is to identify the small problems a large audience faces and start building reliable solutions around them.
- Entrepreneurs should first focus on building the MVP (minimum viable product) and start executing because many things are unclear on day one. I have seen many people investing a lot of time trying to find answers to questions that are not relevant to the need of the market.
- Initially, we need to be more agile and adaptive. One should not fall in love with the idea and marry it for a lifetime. Typically, start-ups pivot more than 3-5 times before they find PMF (Product Market Fit).
How do you envision scaling Biddano’s operations and offerings in 2021?
We plan to scale our operations across 25 cities this year and plan to have over one lac pharmacies in our network. We have a few products in the pipeline this year, some of which we have already launched, and a few are coming next quarter.
With all of our products, we are trying to digitally transform the B2B healthcare supply chain and make it more efficient. Existing inefficiencies in the supply chain are increasing the cost of healthcare for the end consumer. We are addressing this problem with all of our service offerings.
An Exceptional Leader
Talha Shaikh is an Electronics and Communications Engineer and a serial entrepreneur. He founded Biddano in 2016, and before that, he had a technology service start-up that used to develop enterprise technology solutions for various companies in the UK and the USA market. He was involved in creating business development models, brand strategies, and statistics systems. He started his career as a Software Developer with Cognizant Tech Solutions.
He comes from a healthcare background, where his family has a couple of multi-specialty hospitals and chain diagnostic centres. Having many doctors in the family has given him a fair understanding of the healthcare ecosystem from the inside.
Awards and Recognition
- The only company in India which got an endorsement from AIOCD (All India chemist association)
- Unhitch-Winner of CIE-IIT H & Head start event PAN India