“We must not become an ‘old’ organisation. We must not allow our way of thinking to be trapped in the past. We have to stay young, be agile and, most importantly, make technology our friend,” Jeffri Massie, President Director of top bedding manufacturer and exporter Massindo Group, tells Ajeng G. Anindita.
A wise man once said that if you want a happy home, you should invest in a good bed – and especially in a great mattress. Jeffri Massie, President Director of Massindo Group, one of the leading bedding companies in Indonesia, could not agree more. He thinks people underestimate the quality of sleep they have each night. And, especially in this day and age, we seem to slumber less and less than we used to.
“During sleep, an important process is happening in our body,” he says. “Our cells are being repaired during that time, and also regenerated.” By helping people rest well and renew themselves on its Spring Air, Therapedic, Comforta, Super Fit and Protect-A-Bed mattresses, you could say that Massie’s family business helps create a better society.
Massindo Group’s journey started in 1983, when Massie’s parents founded the company. Massie was eight years old then. As he grew up, he witnessed first-hand how hard his parents worked with very limited resources, and how they gradually gained the trust of suppliers, dealers and employees, as well as consumers.
He says his parents made a lot of sacrifices to build the company, hence his own determination to continue the legacy. “I grew up watching them work. I spent school holidays in the factories, in the showrooms. I started working part-time for the company when I was 13.”
Massie worked in one of the company stores after his school day was over. Later, he studied at the University of North Texas and went on to obtain a Master’s degree in Business at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business. Each summer during his time in the U.S., he came home and worked in the factory.
“I feel their passion, I feel their commitment, their spirit of hard working and their value of integrity very strongly,” says Massie of his parents’ example when Prestige visits him at Massindo’s showroom at Taman Anggrek Mall in West Jakarta. So, naturally, when my father asked me if I would lead the business, I said yes. That was my only goal when I finished my studies in 1997. I didn’t dream of doing anything other than to join the family business.”
Founder William Massie launched Massindo Group’s Comforta brand in 1995 in Manado. Twenty years later, it won a Top Brand Award for the first time, the most prestigious national award given by the Frontier Group based on independent surveys in more than 15 big cities in Indonesia. In the nineties, Massindo was not nearly as big as it is now. The company at present has 20 branch offices in major cities across Indonesia. Massindo Group has also expanded internationally by opening a gallery and its first branch office in Singapore.
It exports its Spring Air and Therapedic mattresses to Germany, China, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. Massindo has been appointed by Spring Air and Therapedic in the U.S. to become their licence holders in Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam. Massindo products are available at Sogo, Seibu, Metro and Carrefour, and its mattresses are on the beds at The Dharmawangsa, Pullman Central Park Jakarta, InterContinental Hotel Jakarta, Ayana Bali, Rimba by Ayana Bali and Four Seasons Hotel & Resort Bali.
“The second generation’s duty must be to grow the business,” Massie says of his role as today’s leader. “In 2003, we created a vision statement that we wanted to be 50 times bigger by 2020. That’s been the goal ever since I joined the company. Our leadership must make a difference. We have to do our part, which is growing the company. But then again, we also want to continue the core values of my parents.” Those values – integrity, excellence and continuous improvement – are part of the company’s logo. Says Massie, pointing to a Massindo badge he is wearing: “We put this near our heart.”
““We utilise our resources and strengths to embrace technology and work with people who are experts in providing innovations and solutions””
Continuing the company’s legacy is not the only challenge Massie faces as President Director. The world is constantly changing and the market is very dynamic and competitive with innovations, not to mention shifts in consumer behaviour. How then does he take on these challenges and maintain the company’s position in the market?
“We are a 35-year-old company, established in the 1980s, and to maintain our position in the market, I am sure that we must not become an ‘old’ organisation,” Massie declares. “We must not allow our way of thinking and style to be trapped in the past. We have to stay young, be agile and, most importantly in this day and age, make technology our friend.
“While many startups have tremendous passion and ideas, most of them don’t have great resources. They are very young organisations with limited funds and assets, small teams. They don’t own manufacturing and distribution facilities, and they have no business networks.
“It made me think, after 35 years, we have a lot of resources within our organisation. We do have a strong business network with our suppliers and our dealers and vendors. We have more than 1,000 dealers, 2,900 employees. We have a strong corporate team, three regional teams spread out in Indonesia. We have a market for exports, we have brands that are very well known and trusted in the market. So we have most of the things that they do not. Where we do need to complete is in technology.”
Massindo Group is embracing technology instead of feeling threatened by it. According to Massie, the company has a strong IT team that is now in the process of developing a new app to help expand the company. “We are reaching out to consumers through social media. This app we are developing is going to help us to respond to our business prospects very fast – from big cities to small villages. In a very big country like Indonesia, reliable delivery systems are very important. And our apps will enable us to measure our sales people’s performance.
“We utilise our resources and strengths to embrace technology and work with people who are experts in providing innovations and solutions. As we are developing a new app to reach out to more people and engage with them, I think it’s safe to say that we want to be a 35-year-old disruptor!”
Encouraging good team work is an important part of Massie’s leadership style. “I believe in teamwork. Done effectively, there are more brains, eyes, ears, mouths, hands and feet working at the same time in different places. Collectively, there is more expertise, experience, presence in the company. I like teaching people what I have learned or experienced, and I expect people to learn from their mistakes and become better through experience.”
Outside of work, Massie enjoys travelling and spending time with his family. To him, achieving success in the business but failing at family life is not an acceptable choice. “God created the family to be the ‘home’ or base for everyone. When it is corrupted, we lose the stability, the peace and the blessings. Pressure and stress at work are inevitable. I seek strength, guidance and help from God through prayer and meditation.
“I’m naturally a very fast-paced person at work. So, I have to train myself to rest well for health reasons. I like going to the country club near my home for morning walks in the lush gardens and to exercise in the gym. Not only does this keep me fit, it also relaxes my mind.”
The interview ends with Massie discussing his hopes and dreams for Massindo Group’s future. “Having achieved the top national market position in the industry after 35 years of our journey, I hope we will become more agile and creative in providing solutions to increase the quality of life of families in society,” he says. “I also have to look at how I shall prepare the next era of leadership, how our current actions are relevant to the current situation and, hopefully, can be used as a stepping stone for the next generation.”