Global Business Guide Indonesia

Manufacturing in Indonesia Manufacturing in Indonesia Manufacturing in Indonesia Manufacturing in Indonesia Manufacturing in Indonesia
Technology Transfer
Bambi | Mr Iwan R. Samuel
Mr Iwan R. Samuel

For foreign investors or anyone looking to enter Indonesia, one of the most important things is passion; you have to be passionate about your business as well as passionate about making the most of the many opportunities available in the country.

Mr Iwan R. Samuel, CEO

Founded more than fifty years ago, PT Bambi is a leading manufacturer of office supplies in Indonesia. What can you tell GBG Indonesia’s readers about your company’s history and its main strategies going forward?

Our company was established in 1957 by my father, and started as a small shop specialising in leather products. Following a shift in consumer preferences, we made the switch from leather to plastic and through a thorough analysis of opportunities in Indonesia; we decided to manufacture plastic stationary with a focus on files and binders for all segments of the market through our brands Bambi, Bindex and Benex. This has remained our primary area of business, having built considerably upon this to become an industry leader now reaching out to export markets.   

In terms of future developments, as a company manufacturing binders we have to be conscious of the start of the ‘paperless era’, in which the rise of new technology has seen people use less paper. We have yet to see this impact our growth, which has consistently exceeded 10% in recent years, but we have also taken steps to diversify our product portfolio. Our company is now placing an emphasis on the manufacture of packaging as well as sewn products. Our strategy going forward is thus going to involve the continued development of our core business in office supplies and stationary, carried out at the same time as a move into new areas as a means of adapting to new trends.

Within the context of a local market of rising purchasing power and a growing middle class, what is your outlook for the development of the office supplies industry?

The future of the office supplies industry is still bright, largely due to the rise of a consumptive middle class as well as new opportunities to serve customers beyond Jakarta. We have seen substantial sales growth across the country, with the eastern provinces offering the most potential. Cities in Sumatra such as Palembang, Medan, Pekanbaru and Padang are also targets for our company, having experienced considerable development, which opens up opportunities for us to supply businesses in the area.

How is PT Bambi positioned towards continued international expansion?

It is our plan to further our presence in the Middle East and South Africa as key target markets for exports. We currently export to many countries such as the Maldives, Cameroon, and Nigeria and it is developing markets like this that will continue to be our focus going forward. These countries are not yet moving towards paperless practices, unlike markets in Europe and North America, and therefore have untapped potential for our products to be met in the immediate future.

On a regional level, we believe that greater integration within the ASEAN will provide a boost to our industry in the form of more competition. This should encourage local companies to become stronger and more eager to develop their manufacturing capabilities.

What can you tell us about Bambi’s innovation priorities and its plans to introduce new products to meet evolving consumer preferences?

Our company takes pride in its ability to innovate and create. In September of this year [2014], we launched our latest product: a line of batik-themed binders using real batik material, which is the first of its kind in Indonesia. In fact, this product was certified by the Indonesian Museum of Records (MURI) as the first batik binder in the world.  This is but one example of our longstanding commitment to introducing new concepts to the market on a regular basis.

Indonesia is proving to be very popular as a manufacturing base, especially given the rise in the cost of labour in countries such as China. Is your company open to working with international investors and foreign partners looking for an experienced local partner in Indonesia?

We welcome the involvement of foreign entities; particularly those able to bring in much needed know-how and technology that can help Indonesian companies take the next step in their development. Our company has already had considerable success in establishing a market-leading brand, but to reach the next stage we would benefit from know-how related to management, so as to create an even more efficient and professional workplace environment. We are also interested in working with prospective partners for technology transfers, to support our pursuit of innovation.

Indonesia is still a very attractive destination for investment, not only because of its advantages as a manufacturing base but also because of the size of the market. With that said, foreign investors must be aware of challenges such as the weak enforcement of existing laws. Moreover, regulations here are often subject to change and this can build for uncertainty.

When establishing partnerships between foreign and local entities, it is very important that both parties share a mutual vision and goal for the future. What would you like to share with our readers in regards to your vision for Bambi?

Our main principle in doing business has always been to serve the customer to the best of our ability and to give back to society. We hope to collaborate with partners that share similar priorities, and that are willing to work for a good cause and with a good conscience. This approach to business is what has been behind our continued success.

As a final message, what would you like our readers at GBG Indonesia to remember about the country and your company?

For foreign investors or anyone looking to enter Indonesia, one of the most important things is passion; you have to be passionate about your business as well as passionate about making the most of the many opportunities available in the country. Indonesia is still a developing country and as such will present some challenges and hurdles that require patience and a long-term mindset.

Global Business Guide Indonesia - 2015

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