In conversation with
Mr. Peter D. Chandra
CEO | JET Express
FDI Spotlight: What would you identify as the DNA of JET Express?
Peter D. Chandra: JET Express was founded 3 years ago at a time where there were only 3 large traditional players in the logistics market. We saw that with the acceleration of e-commerce in the country and the emphasis on the new digital economy that both businesses and consumers were interacting differently and in this way we saw our gap in the market to fill. There was very much a disparity between these traditional players and new age consumers who want immediate confirmation, accountability and reliability to not only track their parcels precisely along the route of delivery but also to receive the parcel in as quick as time as possible. This is the exact space that we occupy, we satisfy the upcoming population with these new demands and technical savviness in comparison to what the existing players in the market can do. We wanted to be the enabler in this industry to make logistics easier, more convenient and ultimately more competitive.
Is it this prioritisation towards the digital economy that gives you a competitive advantage in the logistics market of Indonesia?
Peter D. Chandra: I would say that we find a happy medium in the middle of the spectrum of innovative adaptation. On one end of the scale there the tech disruptor players such as the sharing economy taxi apps, these companies rely on creating a strong platform and being very light on physical resources, strategically speaking. On the other side of the coin, you have the traditional players who have invested a lot into their resources but are too cumbersome and slow moving as a result. So in that respect, definitely technology act as a competitive advantage for us compared to the three traditional players in this industry, however, we do not want to become exclusively digital as this could compromise service and the need of a physical network to guarantee our commitment of reliable, affordable and convenient deliveries for our customers.
How committed are you to increasing your range and growth of service centres across the Indonesian archipelago?
Peter D. Chandra: The growth we are witnessing is clear for everyone to see. At first, you could say that it is just because we are a new player in the industry and that we must grow our presence in order to instil ourselves in the market. To a certain extent this is true, however, it is much more than that. The Indonesian logistics industry is both growing and shifting. The main reason for the growth is predominantly down to the growth of the population and the fact that the burgeoning middle class has a much greater spending power than the generation before them. Secondly, the industry is shifting to the Internet and as smartphone penetration multiplies across the nation, we can now finely tune where we should be developing operations in accordance with the exact locations where demand is spiking. Put simply, we are aligning JET Express to grow and shift in parallel with our customer base. Put into physical locations, currently, we are present in 15 major Indonesian cities. We have identified 50 major cities in total, 150 secondary cities and 550 towns, cities and industrial clusters in total. Our aim is to scale up our presence from 15 to our next target of servicing the needs of the 50 major cities here in Indonesia. From there we will extend our scope to the 150 secondary cities in time, with the end goal of bring present in all areas of the country. In order to achieve these ambitious growth targets, we are looking for new investment partners to help us achieve our goals. But I must say that capital is not the only consideration for us. Timing is more important for me right now.
Everybody know that the government are currently investing heavily into nationwide infrastructural development, so if an investor was to throw 1 billion rupiah at me today, it would not be as effective as the same investment in 3 years, when the hopefully completed infrastructure will enable us to leverage on the government’s successful development and grow our network.
How significant is this continued national infrastructural push to Indonesia’s economic potential?
Peter D. Chandra: First and foremost I must say that this current Government are doing a great job in their infrastructural developments plans. As a businessman, I cannot imagine the challenges and difficulties that the Government must have in connecting a nation of 17,000 islands. The most important role of Government in developing the infrastructure of Indonesia is finding the balance between immediate benefit and long-term strategic growth. For example, the proposed 3000 km road network in Papua is absolutely needed, but it may not have an immediate economic impact. On the other hand the proposed SemarangSolo toll road will have an immediate economic benefit for all, and so I would like to see a continued balance of priorities between long-term potential and immediate benefit across the archipelago. On this basis, we should leave the Government to do what they do best, and equally, allow businesses to do what they do best. If you ask my opinion if whether we need further investment into infrastructure here, my answer would be definitely yes. For businesses such as ours, the continued infrastructure effort can be used by JET Express to leverage the increased connectivity across the nation and tap into even greater economic potential for all to prosper.
What are you doing to foster the growth of SME business owners and entrepreneurs who use your services, currently making up 97.2 % of the population of Indonesia?
Peter D. Chandra: We need to get close to them, both physically and digitally. From a digital experience, we really want to position ourselves as the most convenient user experience for our customers. Furthermore, we encourage potential customers to make the comparison to see which company serves them better between traditional players and ourselves. But here in Indonesia, solely relying on a strong digital presence is not enough. Indonesia is a very warm culture, and Indonesian people like to know that there is a human there to help them, a physical presence.
What is the ideal investor profile for JET Express?
Peter D. Chandra: We are looking for investors who will walk the same path with us for a long time. We only want people who can look to the future with our shared vision. So if you are the type of investor who looks to come and go, then maybe JET Express is not the right company for you. We understand that all investors at some point would like to exit, but during our partnership, if you are looking to nurture our relationship in the right way with the right amount then you would be well suited for us.
When it comes to ASEAN regional partnerships, we are not actively looking to set up operations in our neighbouring countries. However, if other regional players would like to use us as their gateway into Indonesia, as their local forwarder, then that could be an interesting collaboration.
What are you doing to ensure the competitiveness of your own human capital at JET Express?
Peter D. Chandra: Before I give you my own approach to human capital development, I think we must identify the prevailing traits of Indonesian people. For me, Indonesians are very creative and extremely industrious people. You just need to look at the millions of street hawkers and merchants to see the entrepreneurial spirit of our people. I think we can only be matched by Indians for the number of people on the street, making a realisation that they are not satisfied with what they have for their life currently and are doing everything in their power to improve that for themselves and their families. This is the fire that fuels Indonesian lives. My job is to harness and foster this positive energy at the JET Express Family. The first thing that we do is find ways in which technology and humans can work harmoniously together. I do not see one as replacing the other, rather technology augmenting the potential of our workers. Through our internal operations and tracking system, we can help improve the accountability and empowerment for all staff. By using the right technology customised for Indonesian people, it can enable them to do great things. With our custom technology, it means that our team can have confidence in doing their tasks in the correct manner without deviation, meaning that they are not stressing and worrying about their job, and have more time to smile, improving their own day and everyone around them. The second strategy that we implement is the development of leadership throughout the organisation. I always push my people to develop their leadership potential no matter where they are or where they have come from in the business. I want them to grow both personally and professionally in their lives. They must embrace values such as determination, humility and integrity to truly become leaders in my eyes. Leaders can come from any walk of life, and in our business, there is no cap on hierarchy as to who can become a leader and grow, provided they are displaying the right traits.