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December 24, 2012

Dabur, the household name in India

Dabur, an introduction

Who hasn’t heard the name of Dabur Chyawanprash, the ancient formulae of Himalayan sages for good health and strength? Or, the famous Dabur Amla and Dabur Lal Dant Manjan, which have become household names in India. Dabur India Limited started as a pharmaceutical company, but Dabur has become a trusted brand in India, as far as herbal medicines and certain FMCG products are concerned. 

It has an amazing range of products such as healthcare, skin care, home care, hair care, oral care and food products.  It was started in the narrow streets of Calcutta, in the last decade of 19th century as an Ayurvedic medicine company.  Today, it has become a leading FMCG company in India.  It has been consistently offering a comprehensive range of quality products especially healthcare and food products to people in India and abroad for all types of customer segments and age groups.  Dabur has been able to forge a very good bond with its consumers and as a result it has emerged as a leading brand in India.  

The guiding principle behind the foundation of Dabur was a single sentence:

"What is that life worth which cannot bring comfort to others."


Dr. S K Burman, a physician and resident of Bengal, had a mission to carry the benefits of medicines to the remote areas.  Dr. Burman had a vision, to use natural herbal medicines to cure fatal diseases of the time such as malaria, plague, and cholera.  In the colonial India, Dr. Burman was called as “Daktar Burman” in Hindi dialect.  The first two letters of “Daktar” and the first three letters of “Burman” were used to christen his company as Da-Bur, or Dabur.  His medicines soon started to reach the areas, which were hitherto neglected and deprived of proper medicines.  Soon, he started manufacturing these drugs and medicines from a small house in Calcutta under the brand name Dabur, which later on became the symbol of trust throughout India. 

Management and directors

At present, Dr. Anand Burman is its chairman and Mr. Amit Burman is the vice-chairman.  The CEO is Mr. Sunil Duggal. Mr. Mohit Burman and Mr. Saket Burman are promoters and directors.

Dabur At-a-Glance

Dabur has a strong market presence and they are committed to produce herbal medicines processed in hygienic environment.  They are also committed towards the interest of their partners and stakeholders.  With a turnover of more than Rs.5000 crore, it has two major business units; one of which is domestic and the other is international.  Its international operations are executed through different subsidiary companies based in Egypt, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, UAE, Nigeria and US.  Apart from this, its products are marketed in over 62 countries.  In India, its distributors exceed 5000 in number with a vast network of retailers, which are estimated to be around 3.4 million.

It has four different business portfolios viz. home care, healthcare, personal care and foods.  Dabur is its leading brand, under which Ayurvedic healthcare products are marketed.  The other major brands under the flagship of DIL are Vatika, Hajmola, Real, and Fem.  The top 12 Dabur products alone are responsible for generating the revenues of more than 12 billion Indian rupees.  These products include the household names such as Dabur Amla, Chyawanprash and Vatika etc. Dabur Honey is a leading food brand with 75% market share in branded honey category.

The international division of Dabur, IBD is also responsible for more than 30% of its total revenues.


Dabur was established in 1884 and set up its first manufacturing unit in 1896. It started its business in Ayurvedic medicines in early 20th century.  The first research laboratories were set up in 1919 to make it a well organized pharmaceutical company.  In 1936, it became Dabur India (Dr. S K Burman) Pvt. Limited. 

In 1940, it started its personal care range and also launched the famous Dabur Amla Hair Oil, which became a household name in India, soon after.  In 1949, it launched the first branded Chyawanprash, an ancient health formulae in India in tin pack. 

In 1970, it started its oral care and digestives segment with Lal Dant Manjan for rural markets. Its headquarters were shifted to New Delhi from Calcutta in 1972.  In 1978, Hajmola tablets were launched. It set up its first modern herbal medicine factory in the NCR in 1979.  They also established DRDC (Dabur Research and Development Center) in the NCR itself.  In 1986, Dabur became a public limited company from a private limited company. 

In 1988, it entered into its pharmaceutical medicine business.

In 1992, it signed a joint venture with Spanish giant Agrolimen and started producing drugs for cancer treatment in 1993.  In 1994, Dabur became public by issuing its shares.  In 1996, it started its foray into food business by launching Real Fruit Juice.  This was the first Indian brand offering pure natural fruit juices as per the international quality, which soon captured the market.  In the year 2000, it crossed the turnover of 1000 crore rupees.  In 2001, they started making super specialty drugs, especially the highly specialized cancer drugs. 

They started a facility in the UK, dedicated towards drug production for European and American markets.  In 2006, in a commendable step, it crossed the market capitalization of US dollars 2 billion.  It also adopted US GAAP to standardize its products according to the international requirements.  The same year, it entered the international security market by approving FCCB, bonds, QIP, GDR, and ADR to fund Dabur’s capital requirements to expand both in India and international markets.  In 2007, it entered into organized retail sector and it now plans to open a chain of stores dedicated to health and beauty products.  In 2008, it acquired the well known pharmaceutical company called Fem Care Pharma, which was into female skin care market.  In 2010, Dabur Red Toothpaste also became a Dabur product, which crossed the revenues of one billion rupees.  It started its overseas acquisitions the same year.

Strategic initiatives:

Dabur took the following strategic initiatives to become the market leader.  These are also its guiding principles.

A.            Expansion of core brands across categories

B.            Exploring new overseas markets

C.            Increasing the market share in India

D.            Leveraging technology

E.            Striving to become a trusted name in personal care products

F.            Establishing brand name by offering safe, effect and natural herbal medicines

G.           Launching innovative products

H.            Striving to become a leading global Ayurvedic medicine company

I.             Selective hiring, development, retention and acquisition of talent

J.             Providing better returns than the competition to the stakeholders

As a result of these strategic objectives, many products of Dabur broke many sales records in the history of pharmaceuticals in India. Dabur has recently crossed US$1 billion mark in the year 2012.

Prominent employees of Dabur

At present, Mr. Sunil Duggal has been heading the company as the CEO since 2002.  He joined Dabur India Limited in 1995 as GM (sales and marketing).  He is an engineering graduate from BITS, Pilani and an MBA from IIM, Calcutta.  He has also worked for Pepsi foods as general manager (sales) and Bennett, Coleman & Company Limited.  When he joined in 1995, his portfolio included the household products such as Vatika, Dabur Amla and Lal Dant Manjan. He launched the brand Vatika and made it the second-largest brand of Dabur.  Then, he joined its family products division as vice president.  Later on, in 2000, he was appointed as director, sales of Dabur India Ltd. (DIL).  In 2002, he assumed the position of its chief executive officer. 

Best HR Policies

Dabur has a very good culture as far as its human resources are concerned.  For the fullest development and training, there are many training programs run by the company, such as Leading and Facilitating Performance, Young Manager Development Program, and Prayas.  Apart from it, there are certain onboarding and orientation programs such as “campus to corpora.” A balanced scorecard approach is implemented to evaluate the performance of an individual and assess his potential.

As a revolutionary step, the HR department in Dabur has announced employee stock ownership program to the new joiners with engineering and management degrees.  It also provides bonuses from time to time.  In a survey conducted by the US consulting company, Dabur has been listed as “10th great place to work,” according to the BusinessWorld magazine’s issue of February 2006. 

IT infrastructure

Dabur uses advanced centralized SAP ERP system with a WAN support in all its business units.  It also has a state-of-the-art data center at its head office at KCO.

Supply chain management in Dabur

It implements an advanced e-procurement system, using e-sourcing of materials.  It saved the company nearly half of the amount in its purchase of around Rs.200crore in the year 2003.  In the production department, Dabur implements Japanese kaizen (aimed to improve the processes and operations) and automation.  It also reduces wastage and clears bottlenecks.

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About Nashaat Quadri

Freelance Content Writer (Compare Infobase, New Delhi.) Ex Sr Content Writer, Western Software, New Delhi. Ex Relationship Manager, Mashreq Bank, Dubai.