A journey: Dream becomes reality



Hakeem Muhammad Usman
Chief Executive, Marhaba Laboratories (Pvt) Ltd.

Marhaba Laboratories Pvt Ltd is the brainchild of Hakeem Muhammad Usman Sheikh and its inception goes back to the days when he himself was a student at Tibbia College Lahore.

Greatly inspired by the rich past of oriental pharmacy and worried over its contemporary downfall, Hakeem Muhammad Usman contemplated on how to evolve this noble profession of service to mankind once again.

After graduation, Hakeem Muhammad Usman along with his four younger brothers established Marhaba Laboratories Pvt Ltd on the 1st of July 1975.

The aim was to produce oriental medicines and natural dietary supplements in a modern and scientific manner so that the age old prescriptions and remedies, reach the customer in a ready to use form, without affecting their efficacy and natural qualities in any way.

It was indeed a very tall enterprise and resources were limited. The start was, therefore, very modest but dedication to the cause, honest approach and stringent quality control, more than compensated the financial inadequacies.

Soon, the reward came in the shape of unprecedented public appreciation and encouragement due to the purity of natural herbal products.

From then on there was no looking back. Today, the natural herbal products of Marhaba Laboratories Pvt Ltd have become the household items not only inside Pakistan, but their demand is equally high abroad where people believe in the efficacy of oriental medicines.

Manager Today: Please share your professional background as how it all started?
Hakeem Usman: It started with packaging business of glycerine bottles in 1975 at a very small level.

My father died in a road accident in 1970 and being the eldest son, huge responsibility fell on my shoulders. I went through many ups and downs in my life and saw real faces of relations.

I decided to join pharmacy store as sales person and it proved as a blessing in disguise. My employer was kind to me and encouraged me in initiating my herbal business. I started my own herbal business with the total amount of Rs. 300 in 1980.

What are three key challenges for CEOs/ business leaders in Pakistan?
Prevailing energy crises is hard to cope with for the businesses in Pakistan. Right labour, quality raw material and maintain the price are the most challenging task in our business as I am too much concerned about the raw material that we take in for the further processing.

We are facing dilemma in business ethics, how can we inculcate a sense of ethics in our managers?
Businesses are getting more commercialize and overlooking the positivity that they can be returned back to the country. Quality product and professionalism are the order of the day in any business for success.

Your favourite book that you would recommend to others to read?
I use to read success stories of business professionals. Holy Quran made me learnt a lot as far as my business practices are concerned.

With the commercialization of educational institutions, are you satisfied with the quality of business graduates? And how to bridge the gap between industry & academia?
Educational institutions play a pivotal role in national building.

There is a gulf between what we learn in universities and what we have to implement at work place. For this reason, we have designed on-job trainings for new employees.

Does your company envision being global or Pakistani multinational?
I am pleased to say that we are exporting our products to 40 countries.

There is a huge demand of our products across the borders. We are working to expand our export net. In the coming years we will be able to export to 10 more countries.

How do you maintain the quality of your product?
Marhaba has a research oriented culture. We believe in innovation and standardization. We have our own research centre and labs. The raw material first goes through the lab tests for maintaining the standards and quality.

What are the challenges and business/investment opportunities in your industry/sector?
People are moving towards herbal and natural products.

They are now more conscious about their health and diet than before. Herbal medication and products are grasping their share globally.

India is big producer and exporter of herbal products to the world. We can find Indian products on our shelves easily.

We consider it as an opportunity and coming up with innovative products to bridge the gap between growing demand and quality local products.