Achyat Rachman with a red ball

Achyat Rachman

Country manager indonesia

lessons learned in indonesia

Three years ago PUMA hired me to build a PUMA subdivision in Indonesia. It’s fair to say that the path to getting started in Indonesia was not paved, as the Indonesian market has its share of challenges. But staying focused and positive allowed PUMA Indonesia to grow into what it has become today - the fasted growing PUMA sector in South East Asia.

While I never doubted that we would make it, the journey required endless hustle and still requires a good amount of creative problem solving. Regardless, the most valuable parts of the journey were the lessons I learned along the way. These lessons are what fuel PUMA Indonesia, making our operation run more smoothly each year.

Build long-term customer relationships   

One of our first objectives was to build our customer base. Our goal: to build long-term relationships. It was important to communicate that PUMA had come to Indonesia to stay. The first thing we did was to invite all potential customers to a trade show event. We did not encourage them to buy, it was simply a ‘get to know you event’. We introduced the product and business model, illustrating our sustainability and continuing interest in the Indonesian market. Surprisingly some of the potential customers became actual customers because of the trade show, putting in orders for products right away. We were hardly equipped to handle the capacity at the time but we were thrilled at the challenge. We really wanted to deliver because we already knew that customer trust would become the backbone of our operation. 

PUMA Showroom

MAKE FAST DECISIONS AND ACT QUICKLY

Because it was imperative that we delivered the product on-time for that very first buy, I had to make some quick decisions. At that time we were still working through the licensing process. With 14+ years of experience in the Indonesian market, I knew that waiting for our license could take a year. I was immediately faced with deciding whether we should wait for the licensing to come through or to appoint a local importer to help. The pressure to deliver on-time and build the customer trust meant we had to go with the local importer. 

This scenario proves that the ability to assess a situation and make a fast decision is central to success. You never need to be afraid to act as long as you have considered your strategy and planned ahead. In situations like these you must trust yourself and your experience. Listen and then act quickly.

MEASURE ALL PROGRESS

Measuring progress, no matter how small, helps you to see what you’ve achieved and how far you’ve come. Tracking your progress adds energy to you and your team. It also gives you a sense of your speed and capacity as a business. Making a habit of tracking progress allows you to make more accurate estimates about what’s coming next. Finding the right type of analytics for your organization is very helpful in this regard. In the beginning our analytics were very basic. I always had to remind myself that we were just starting out and that we were in the growth phase. It has been inspirational to watch our analytics grow more technical and comprehensive at the same pace with our business. 

Group Image at PUMA Indonesia

HIRE PEOPLE WHO SHARE YOUR LEVEL OF PASSION

It’s easier to work together if everyone shares the same spirit for the project. When you have a passionate team assembled you can trust each individual to care about the overall quality and success of the project and you can count on them to take care of each other.

LISTEN TO ALL SOURCES    

Your customers, competitors, suppliers and agents will all have something to say about your progress. Much of this comes from experience. This type of local wisdom can be very useful. If applied correctly, insights and feedback from each of these sources can be golden, even if it’s negative feedback.

LOOK TO THE FUTURE

To begin, I introduced PUMA to Indonesia as if PUMA had never been sold there before. That wasn’t completely accurate because at the time PUMA products were being sold in Indonesia but not in the way or at the level that we envisioned. It was very important to start new, looking not at what had already been done but at what we wanted to build in the future. 

Group Image PUMA Indonesia

TEAM BUILDING IN AND OUT OF THE OFFICE  

Because PUMA Indonesia is still a relatively lean organization, we continue to need all team members to participate at a very high level. When you expect this kind of energy output from your employees, it is essential give back to them. Each new project or problem becomes an “all hands on deck” situation where we need each team member to help out. That means we always need to be maintaining the strength and cohesiveness of the team. I find that team building outside the office is very effective in this regard. We work hard at PUMA Indonesia but we also make it a priority to have a lot of fun. In our case this is essential to our success.

BE DRIVEN

It is important to remain focused on your goal and be driven to succeed. Small roadblocks come up every day when building something new but they cannot become the focus. In order to build PUMA Indonesia we needed to create a place for ourselves in the market. We had to put everything into each product launch to truly develop roots for ourselves. We needed our customers to see the unlimited potential of PUMA and as we really got moving we needed our employees to see their career paths developing with PUMA as well. Sometimes this required us to keep going when it seemed very tough. But that is what being driven is all about. Eyes on the prize — we did not give up.