Several inspiring figures made their presence at Channel News Asia Business Insight in Jakarta on 28 August 2013. SOROTAN caught up with four of them following their talks themed “Mapping the Future – Pillars of Diversity” on stage. Shinta Widjaja Kamdani, Eugene van de Weerd, Tim Harris and Ramli Syed Ahmad, took time to spend some face-to-face time despite their busy schedules. These experts shared their points of view on global diversity and its impact on preparations ahead of ASEAN Community 2015.
Shinta Widjaja Kamdani
“In 2015, would it be possible to have an ASEAN culture?”
Shinta, owner and Managing Director of the Sintesa Group, plays an important role in handling all management responsibilities as well as assisting with the group`s business expansion in Indonesia. According to Shinta, disparity and variety are two necessary elements in understanding diversity. Diversity prevails as synergetic values, becoming one positive result, without which this world would be a boring one.
The impact to industries is real, managing a diverse workforce isn`t easy. But having a workforce consisting of people from multicultural backgrounds is beneficial as it gives industries greater options. From human resources side, it`s crucial to look for people at the right portion for the right place. Therefore, as diverse condition occurs at industries, building corporate culture could unite people onto one culture in reaching positive goal.
Shinta looked excited to face ASEAN Community 2015, as she believed that a single market with a scope of the entire ASEAN brings many opportunities. The human aspect will then play a role as there might perhaps be one culture in the future called ASEAN culture, “who knows right?” Shinta smiled.
Ramli Syed Ahmad
“We Cannot Runaway from Diversification, it`s a Natural Choice in Life”
As the Managing Director of PT.Asia Pacific Mining Resources, he was brought up and educated in Singapore. To him, diversity is the behaviour of avoiding to be rigid in one single area, whatever it takes. The ability to diversify is needed as life keeps giving us multiple choices within.
“We wouldn`t be as we are today, if there were no diversity”, he even assumed no change would prevail. One beauty about human beings is that in a fixed situation, they will think on alternatives to get out.
In business, for instance, if people always do the same track; actually, they may diversify the way they do the things. Do not only look out for diversity as a big change. Ramli emphasized that his business is one example; being in the coal and nickel business which he classifies into local and export distribution categories, also credit and cash payment – which these all are proofs of making a diverse action. Thus, choice and diversity go hand in hand.
Global diversification is something inevitable; sooner or later it will come and be quick as change. To be ready for diversity in ASEAN Community 2015, education and awareness building on what is going on to happen are likely to be important notes. Accepting and adapting should be key points.
“Diversity is Business Perspective in a Well-Rounded Economy”
As a New Zealander, Tim Harris is working hard towards achieving diversity, being the Managing Director for BT`s Southeast Asia (SEA) operations based in Singapore. Working in a rich culture surrounding makes diversity for him as a way of looking at business perspective in a well-rounded economy; in which thriving businesses are also related to investing new ideas. Dealing with diversity in business means that employers should be a representation of the proper corporate gender.
People have different perspectives if they come from different angles, different point of views and experiences that will be where the values get built. In business, we will make diverse working group together and create innovation to focus on customers` business outcome.
Tim analyses diversity as a creation through globalization. “Website marketing base is one example”, he ensured that within globalization, customers have huge amounts of choices. People can now search for online stores in Asia, but the goods sold are taken from Europe. This has proven that diversity towards globalization has tremendous effect. It`s crucial to support and get recognized in creating an environment with diversity.
Preparing to face ASEAN Community 2015, he thinks that education is the first priority and some industries believe that they are well-prepared already. Business practices and governments are advised to work together in handling all possible challenges, since solution cannot be onto private sectors solely. By having both sides collaborating together, they would be able to ensure that ASEAN will be successful – this kind of atmosphere in an environment should be created.
Eugene van de Weerd
“Nobody Should Sit Back on Their Cellphones and Wait. When the Time Comes, Maybe It`s Too Late. We Should Anticipate before Get Impacted”
According to Eugene, getting ready for ASEAN Community 2015 is through action as the main factor firms need to prepare. Southeast Asian people at this upcoming challenge. As Indonesia will definitely become a part of it, this should be chance to expand market without any embedment. In terms of positive competition, companies can expand opportunities to get exposure and try to capitalize. They should have many ways to prevent before they get impacted when it starts.
Eugene as Country Director Indonesia of Frost&Sullivan Asia Pacific thinks that foreign direct investors will choose where to invest in Asia. It is not only because of purpose orientation, but ASEAN Community 2015 leads to tendency of choosing the best locations across Southeast Asia. Indonesia should be ready to face it by creating climate that is attractive enough for investors. Factors such as operational cost, tax regulation and availability of human resources, logistics and raw materials are important points considered by foreign investors. Hence, the better the Indonesian government creates well-supported investment climate, Indonesia must be ready for competition.
ASEAN Community 2015 is surely a real picture of global diversity as well. To him, handling global diversity is a matter of how we manage it in positive way. In industries where the human resources come from different backgrounds, different ideas are possible to be on the table. In fact, out of the box ideas can be produced because of the existence of diversity within one environment.
Even though a lot of problems arise due to diversity, if people can engage in positive adaptation, everything can be dealt with. Indonesia in particular, its diverse country should be a good and strong point in making the country one with so much to offer.