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Jakarta Post

Creating values through horizontal leadership

Aulia R. Sungkar
  ●   Sat, May 2, 2015

Ricky Afrianto is strengthening brand positioning and boosting sales by saying 'no'  to bureaucratic management constraints.

Simplicity seems to play a role in how Ricky Afrianto devises his informal approaches to what he calls an unbureaucratic management style.

For Ricky, bureaucracy limits individuals from developing their talents and skills. In many cases, this rigid system shackles the creativity and innovation of even high-performing employees.

'€œUnbureaucratic leadership unshackles the human spirit and when it is applied in a company, it encourages everyone to contribute their best toward building a solid team. '€˜No bureaucracy'€™ for me is one simple statement that also relates to my horizontal management approach,'€ said global marketing director of the Mayora Group, one of the leading fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies in the country.

Horizontal management has helped him build stronger ties with the company'€™s customers, his employees and team.

'€œI always emphasize to my subordinates the importance of maintaining customer relationships. One way to achieve this is by establishing effective communications. In other words, we talk to customers, as part of our effort to deliver the same high level of customer service regardless of their position.'€

Ricky, who directly reports to the company'€™s president director, is responsible for building the company'€™s marketing system, which includes executing brand strategy, creating brand positioning and building marketing plans with the objective of achieving profitable growth.

The Mayora Group operates in eight categories: biscuits, chocolates, wafers, candies, instant food (porridge and noodles), coffee, cereal and beverages. The company has recorded total turnover of more than US$1.5 billion, 50 percent of which comes from the first five categories.

'€œWe are happy with what we have already achieved and we target our sales growth to reach the level of 10 percent by the end of this year,'€ he said.

Last year, the group booked sales of Rp 14.2 trillion ($1.09 billion), up 18 percent from the previous year. With this favorable business performance, Ricky is optimistic that the target will be achieved.

'€œAside from setting our sales target, maintaining our sustainable growth is also our focus. This also means capitalizing on opportunities within those categories in the business that can be realized through new product initiatives,'€ he said, citing the launch of the new Torabika creamy latte and Le Minerale water as examples.

The Torabika creamy latte is an instant coffee sachet that comes with separate sugar. The new package allows people to add the sugar according to their taste. Meanwhile, Le Minerale is a mineral water product processed using a mineral protection system.

Ricky, 40, said that both products were the brainchild of the company'€™s creative and innovative teamwork. '€œWe are the global marketing team. We work together with the marketing team in the market. We focus on central marketing. When we'€™re thinking about brand strategy, we'€™re also thinking about brand positioning. We have local products with international-standard quality. That'€™s what I meant by global brand.'€

Despite focusing on the local markets across the archipelago, the company has established a presence in China, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, to name a few. '€œSo, we need a global team to make sure that the brand positioning is actually executed according to the prior guidance and it is my responsibility to make sure that products sold in the market are of high quality,'€ asserted Ricky, who spent most of his career working in multinational companies before he joined Mayora.

In maintaining product quality, Ricky sets up the guidelines, such as how to make good advertising and strengthen the brand positioning. The latter is very important, indeed. '€œIf you really want to be a global brand, then you have to execute it right in the market. It doesn'€™t matter whether a product is locally made and marketed, as long as you have a great team that can execute a strategy that is aligned with the global brand strategy.

'€œThat horizontal management, which reflects my unbureaucratic approach, has been creating values for everyone in the team, which in turn contribute to our ability to execute the company'€™s brand strategy. We will keep moving forward. But one thing that I want to emphasize is I don'€™t like to deal with bureaucratic complexity. That'€™s why I never close the door to my office, so people can come and go whenever they need to,'€ he said.
(Aulia R. Sungkar)


At Ease

Ball game buff

I enjoy playing ball games, especially basketball and volleyball. I used to play these sports activities a lot, but quite rarely do them recently because of my workload. However, that shouldn'€™t be the reason I will not go back to playing these games on a routine basis.

Avid reader

Marketing is one subject that never makes me bored when it comes to reading. However, I also see such subjects as brains, the conscious mind and psychology as very important, as they still relate to the marketing field; for example, in digesting how you really think the way people think. I just finished reading Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, by Dan Ariely. That kind of book really inspires me.

Local food foodie

The culinary world has given birth to many tempting dishes that makes it hard to state my preference for the food. Yet, pempek is the one that always stands out. I can eat this dish from my native South Sumatra at any time, even for breakfast.

Place & Date of birth
Prabumulih, South Sumatra, April 15, 1975.

Global marketing director of the Mayora Group since April 2014; previously was the group'€™s marketing director (May 2012-April 2014); regional category manager for the Asia and Middle East Region at Fonterra Brands Singapore (2010-2012); and various managerial positions at Fonterra Brands Indonesia (2000-2010).

Professional postgraduate diploma in marketing (DipM ACIM) from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), UK. (2005); bachelor'€™s degree from Institut Bisnis Indonesia '€“ School of Economics (1998).