Wendy Yap
    Category: Inspiring Women By : Ulisari Eslita Read : 457 Date : Tuesday, April 10, 2018 - 19:34:12

    Agoes Rudianto for Forbes Indonesia

    PT Nippon Indosari Corpindo, known as Sari Roti, already controls about 90% of Indonesia’s mass market bread market, with its soft white loaves, single-serving sandwiches and other items to be found in 67,000 points of sale across the country. Sari Roti’s ten factories crank out more than four million pieces of bread products a day. Yet President Director and Chief Executive Wendy Yap is not satisfied with this dominant position.

    Starting last year, she has embarked on an ambitious, multipronged, multi-year plan. It is Sari Roti’s largest-ever expansion since it was founded in 1995. The components of this expansion strategy touch upon nearly every aspect of Sari Roti’s business, and include building five new factories across the country, expanding to the Philippines and exploring other regional markets, expanding horizontally into new areas such as retail cafes and frozen dough, bringing in U.S. private equity giant KKR & Co as a strategic investor with a 15% stake, a rights issue last year that raised about Rp 1.4 trillion, and allocating about $225 million for capex this year.

    Why the passion to move so fast and so big? The answer might be found in Wendy’s conversations that led to the start of Sari Roti with her father Piet Yap, the founder of the Bogasari flour mill (which supplies Sari Roti’s flour). Wendy had just sold, in 1994, the franchise rights to U.S. fast-food chain Wendy’s in Indonesia, China and Hong Kong. Searching for a new challenge, she talked to her father, who suggested bread, for its synergy with Bogasari. “I told him if I’m going to do it, I must do it mass market,” says Wendy. “It is the volumes that will bring you the margins, not the boutique bakery model.”

    The next year she started the company, bringing in the Salim group and Japanese baker Pasco Shikishima as strategic partners. The company was producing its bread from its first plant in Cibitung, West Java, in 1997. The bread was wrapped hygienically in plastic and baked as Japanese-style soft bread, as Wendy noticed Indonesians preferred soft bread and often had to buy bread sold without wrapping. Her timing was not ideal, as the factory started production just before Indonesia was hit hard by the Asian financial crisis. Ironically, Wendy says the uncertainty caused by the crisis was good for the company. At the time, families were afraid to go outside due to riots in the streets, so they would often stock up on Sari Roti products because they had a five-day shelf life, so families could stay longer at home, eating bread. “That’s when I realized this business could grow really big. It’s not just one or two factories,” says Wendy.

    Growing really big is clearly Wendy’s goal. Recent expansion moves have also been driven by necessity, as demand was rising so fast, the company’s 10 factories are now operating above 75% capacity. “We can’t wait until our plants reach 100% of capacity, because we need at least 18 months to set up a new one. There will be not be enough time to fulfill customer demand,” says Wendy, adding that Sari Roti even has to ship bread to Balikpapan to meet demand there. The construction of the first two plants started in the first quarter and are expected to be completed next year, located in Gresik and Sumatra’s Lampung province. Meanwhile, the location of the other three plants is still in consideration. “It’s probably going to be in Kalimantan, Sumatra or Java,” says Wendy.

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