Tofan Yudianto, Head of Logistics, Asia, for manufacturer PZ Cussons, on thriving despite regional and COVID-19-related logistics challenges...
Tofan Yudianto is Head of Logistics, Asia, for consumer goods company PZ Cussons. Since being brought in in 2015, he has relished the opportunity to transform the logistics strategy in an Asian setting. “PZ Cussons logistics business was operating in-house, but then they wanted to focus on their core business and work with external business partners for logistics.That’s where me and my team’s journey started - creating and articulating that long term strategy.”
Yudianto identifies PZ Cussons’ “can-do values” as a key driver of its success, alongside the raft of watchwords such values inspire. “The question is whether we can stand for courage, accountability, networking, drive and also oneness. That last word, that last value of oneness is very important. I know this is implemented within PZ Cussons because even as this organisation is growing, people are remaining together.”
That can-do culture was something Yudianto noticed straight away upon his arrival at the firm. “I was challenged to adapt,” he says. “In the beginning I had to work out how to adapt with my team and how to synchronise the frequency, and the rhythm of the way I work with the people in the organisation. That was especially true with my team because they have a real strength instilled in them by the culture.”
The market in Asia has traditionally relied on businesses driving consumer’s desires. No longer, with more empowered consumers certain about what they want. “The way I see it, now the customer drives the business. What I mean is that in India, in China, and Southeast Asia, people want a certain product delivered within this time, with this quantity and at this price. The old industry and logistical challenges were about distributing bigger volumes to the market, and then the consumers going and buying your product. But now the challenge is totally different. The consumer doesn't care where the product is going to be manufactured, where the product is going to be provided. It’s about what they want and what they need.
“The biggest challenge in Asia is how we can map and connect the dots and solve the puzzle between sourcing and demand. In Asia for example, if you want to produce one product, you have to find the correct source at a competitive price, and it’s often not in one country. Logistics is going to enable that by working together with procurement on how to source a certain material, for example. You have to be good at mapping sources and demand and agile to work out how you’re going to manufacture something.”
As with all organisations worldwide, The COVID-19 pandemic affects the way of doing business and PZ Cussons is also adjusting to shifting demand. “Demand is now more focused on the hygienic product categories instead of beauty products, for instance, with demand for our hand sanitiser product increasing significantly.”
There have been plus points for the business, with the extraordinary situation accelerating pre-existing trends. “We see that the online business is actually growing quite aggressively because people are stuck at home. So it's direct to consumer and now consumers are driving the business, telling us exactly what they want. And it's not just the millennial generation - because of the situation we’re seeing all age groups heading online, and the winner of the situation is going to be the business that can adapt quickly to the new normal. The difference between online versus offline distribution is in the complexity, where the destination points and routes will be much more online, with small volumes of quantity.”
Sustainability is a key focus for the company. “At PZ Cussons we believe that sustainability is good for business. So the business has a responsibility to align the way it operates with the cause of sustainability. For logistics, the challenge is about reducing the carbon footprint. For example, at a number of our distribution centres, we are increasing the efficiency of our electricity use.” Another avenue of exploration is the efficiency of transport, which can be challenging in less developed parts of the APAC region. “One question is how we can move from a fleet of small vehicles to more efficient transport. So we are reducing the number of trucks on the road and therefore the carbon footprint. Beyond that, we’re working on utilising rail as much as possible.”
The work PZ Cussons does is enabled by the support of a number of key partners. “We work with some multinational and local logistics providers as our partners for warehousing, and we also have a number of vendors for transportation and freight,” says Yudianto. We work with our regional procurement partners in Singapore in order to be aligned with what we are trying to achieve.”
Yudianto is confident that PZ Cussons is well placed to thrive in the future, despite changing market conditions and the impact of COVID-19, thanks to a clear and united supply chain strategy. “The whole supply change is facing the challenge to the manufacturing and procurement strategy together, and as part of that, logistics has to be ready.“