If you have lived in Delhi or the NCR, you can’t have missed Dr Lal PathLabs’ blue-and-yellow sign-boards. They are omnipresent. But, it wasn’t so three decades back. Dr Arvind Lal, chairman and son of the founder Dr S K Lal, likes to tell this story from the 1980s. “Every time an old client, Bhalla, would come to our lab at Hanuman Road near Connaught Place, his daughter-in-law had to take a day off from work. Bhalla asked me one day, ‘Bete why don’t you open a small centre near our place?’ That is when I thought of franchising Dr Lal PathLabs,” says Dr Lal. It would be the first time a diagnostics brand tried that in India.
Dr Lal PathLabs has expanded greatly since those early days. It has 193 clinical labs, 2,153 patient-service centres (lab-cum-store) and 5,624 pick-up points (see: Healthy growth). It has also expanded from its home city of Delhi to other parts of the country, with a larger presence in the northern market.
Business is booming. In the past five years, the diagnostics chain’s top line has nearly doubled — to 10.56 billion in FY18, from 5.57 billion in FY14, and bottom line to 1.7 billion in FY18, from 800 million in FY14. A total of 15.2 million patients gave 34.7 million samples to Dr Lal PathLabs in FY18; an improvement of two million patients over the previous year. Their labs across the country employ 147 pathology specialists, eight radiologists, 13 microbiolo