Indonesian family-owned Kawan Lama leverages more than six decades of local expertise and vast network as a world-class retail and distribution company
In its core industrial supply business, company directly distributes more than 40,000 products to meet professional needs in various industries, including automotive, construction and transport
Country Business Reports interviews and articles by Discovery Reports www.discoveryreports.com
Business opportunities are brimming in Indonesia amid an expanding middle class with rising disposable incomes and aspirations for an improved lifestyle.
Success in gaining a foothold in one of Asia-Pacific’s truly frontier markets, however, lies in finding the right partner that can seamlessly navigate through its complex business environment while tackling distribution challenges of a country comprising more than 17,000 islands.
Such strategic capabilities have been integrated by family-owned and managed Kawan Lama, leveraging its more than six decades of local expertise and vast network as a world-class retail and distribution company.
“We have become a trusted partner to many premium international brands,” says Kuncoro Wibowo, chairman. “In the spirit of kawan lama, which is Indonesian for ‘old friend’, we cultivate long-term distribution relationships with reputable multinationals. Taking a more personal approach in our dealings with suppliers and clients has solidified our partnerships and is a strength that our rivals cannot easily match.”
From a modest hardware store opened by Wibowo’s father in Jakarta in 1955, Kawan Lama has grown to become one of Indonesia’s largest retail groups with numerous industry accolades for brand equity strength and excellence in product quality and service.
In its core industrial supply business, Kawan Lama directly distributes more than 40,000 products to meet professional needs in various industries, including automotive, construction and transport, among many others.
Representing more than 100 global brands, Kawan Lama offers a diverse line of value-priced quality merchandise in 19 categories, including abrasive products, automotive equipment, hand and cutting tools, fasteners, cleaning supplies and storage systems.
To ensure product availability and timely deliveries, the company has three distribution centres measuring more than 250,000 square metres and equipped with state-of-the-art warehouse management and material handling systems.
Steered by a strong and experienced management team, Kawan Lama successfully moved beyond business-to-business (B2B) distribution to business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing – giving birth to Kawan Lama Retail, with ACE Hardware as its flagship brand.
Company subsidiary ACE Hardware Indonesia (AHI) has earned from ACE Hardware Corp, a major American hardware retailer, the master franchise for the brand in Indonesia.
AHI stands as the destination of choice for middle- to upper-class consumers shopping for home improvement and lifestyle essentials. It has 120 stores in 34 cities throughout Indonesia, including ACE Living World in Alam Sutera in Tangerang that is recognised as the world’s largest ACE Hardware store.
Another pillar of Kawan Lama is Home Center Indonesia, also known as INFORMA, which is Indonesia’s biggest furnishing retailer.
INFORMA provides an array of high-quality furnishings for homes, offices, hotels, restaurants and cafes. INFORMA has 63 stores in 32 Indonesian cities.
“The Wibowo family’s leadership by example and hands-on management style have helped drive the company’s expansion and growth,” says Nana Puspa Dewi, corporate marketing director. “This approach promotes team spirit and commitment within the organisation. We also see our diversified business as a key strength that allows us to penetrate many untapped markets.”
Kawan Lama also operates Chatime bubble tea drink stores under a franchise agreement. Other company-owned retail chains include Toys Kingdom and Bike Colony.
In 1997, Kawan Lama created house brand Krisbow, covering affordably priced quality tools and equipment. Recognising the need to be in line with the market shift to digital, Kawan Lama started e-commerce for B2B through KlikMRO.com and B2C through Ruparupa.com.
The company has also ventured into property development, initially focusing on building stores for its retail business. Living World and Living Plaza have become the flagship places for delivering all products of Kawan Lama Retail to customers. The idea is to promote one-stop shopping through these places, making Kawan Lama Retail more successful.
“We remain committed to growing our business to meet ever-changing consumer needs,” Wibowo says. “We’re keen on building more partnerships with top-notch global brands looking to enter the Indonesian market.”