Timothy Siddik: Aggressively competing against giant brands

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He was not born into a family of entrepreneurs. However, his perseverance deserve kudos. Today, this gentleman, whose full name is Timothy Siddik, is the CEO of PT Zyrexindo Mandiri Buana (Zyrex), an Indonesian original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of technological equipment.

He set up Zyrex on Sept. 18, 1996. At that time, his dream was that every computer user in Indonesia would have access to the latest technology at affordable prices, and that Indonesia would never be a dumping ground for giant information technology (IT) companies.

In the early 1990s, he felt deeply unhappy that Indonesians had to spend 60 to 80 percent more money than Singaporeans to purchase the same IT equipment. “Our per capita income was smaller but we had to spend more money for technology that was availably globally. In addition, our country had become a dumping ground for outdated equipment,” Timothy said.

This situation made him obsessed with making Indonesians proud of their own products. As time passed, Zyrex’s branding power has become a force to be reckoned with in the IT sector. This was no easy feat. Seven years of working the United States trained him to be a responsible professional with the courage to debate with both colleagues and superiors in meeting rooms. However, Timothy said, debates in meeting rooms must never drag on. “I mean, afterwards we should still be able to sit down and have lunch together and work as usual,” he said.

The main key to a successful career, he said, is to have a clear vision. “Namely, to know precisely what you want to do. Then focus on it and work consistently to realize this vision. I believe very much in knowing what you want, planning how to achieve it and consistently working hard on the plan,” he said.

At first, Zyrex gained access to the IT market by selling personal computers to corporate users and then to individual users. After 3.5 years Zyrex begin to market notebooks. Timothy said the process is inseparable from the power of branding. Branding, Timothy said, is indeed the most difficult thing. However, in Indonesia branding local products tends to be harder than the branding of something with a foreign nuance.

So, then, how to educate buyers about Zyrex as a brand on the local IT market? “To build a brand is a long journey. A brand must be built from many aspects. The name of the brand must be unique and distinct. The quality of the product must be designed and consistently improved upon. The product must be available and easily obtainable. The after-sales service must be of an established level and available in many locations across Indonesia,” he said.

In its development, Zyrex has become increasingly aggressive. Zyrex is quite smart in viewing the huge market potential in Indonesia. According to Timothy, the penetration of the computer market in Indonesia is only around 2.8 percent. This figure is relatively small compared to Singapore’s 80 percent, for example.

The low penetration is obviously an opportunity. Therefore, like it or not, Zyrex must always maintain its enthusiasm to develop. Today, Zyrex has 52 Zyrex service points throughout Indonesia and intends to increase the number to 70.

Zyrex completed the application of SAP Business One (SAP BO) in September 2005. This is a system of Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP), whose main function is to integrate the process of business and the information system of the company. This system has a number of integrated modules, such as finance, accounting, sales, purchasing, inventory and material resources planning.

The ERP systems makes a business process better. Besides creating time and cost efficiency, this system also leads to improved service quality. At the same time this will directly increase the company’s competitiveness in the market. Then, how is it implemented? “As Zyrex adopted ERP earlier, the implementation of SAP BO was a natural development. As some people in the top management of Zyrex master the ERP concept quite well, migration was also easy,” he said.

Information technology equipment is no longer a luxury but is the primary equipment for electronics users. Prices have also become very competitive as there is tight competition in this line of business. Zyrex would like to avail of this momentum. Zyrex no longer produces only computers but has expanded the scope of its technological product convergence by also producing LCD TVs, DVDs for home theaters and digital cameras. “Soon, people will find it difficult to distinguish between a computer, a TV and a home theater, or between a camera and a cell phone. All electronic devices in the living room will be integrated in a network,” he stressed. Still, Timothy said it was harder to gain good access to the market of electronic products than to the IT market. The reason is that Zyrex has an IT background.

Prices and quality play a significant role in winning over the market. According to Timothy, these two elements are of equal importance. If the price is low but the quality poor, then a product will look good in appearance only. In this respect, there will be an impression that success was reached owing to large sales. In fact, sales will gradually disappear. “Quality must be supported by price, but the price need not be too high; it must be appropriate. An expensive item is not necessarily of good quality. What must be considered is the value,” he said.

Of no less importance is the need to build customers’ trust. Timothy said that about 80 percent of Zyrex consumers tend to buy Zyrex products again. “This is a good figure although we expect to reach over 90 percent,” he said.

Every network built, he said, must be maintained in the best possible way by emphasizing loyalty to the network. Loyalty is a two-way commitment. “As we attach great importance to loyalty, we sometimes find it difficult to find the right network,” he said. (Iwan Suci Jatmiko)

The Jakarta Post, October 17, 2007

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