BY BARBARA T. NELLES
Indonesian mattress major Massindo Group lays out plans to expand.
Jeffri Massie has a winning smile, an easygoing manner—and a lot of responsibility. He is president director of Massindo Group, a large mattress producer and retailer headquartered in Jakarta, Indonesia. In January, Massie was in the United States attending the Winter Las Vegas Market, and he didn’t travel lightly. He brought finished mattress sets manufactured under his company’s licensing deals with U.S.-based brands Spring Air and Therapedic.
While showing off the new beds in the Spring Air and Therapedic showrooms, Massie talked about his company’s relationship with American brands, the reasons for Massindo’s growth since its founding in 1983, his personal business philosophy and the company’s unique position as a Western-style industry pioneer in its home country.
Massie’s parents started the business in the Indonesian port city of Manado in North Sulawesi. They were enterprising textile merchants who branched into manufacturing foam beds and, using their sales acumen, were able to convince other local retailers to carry their new mattress collection.
“I was 8 years old when my parents started the company,” Massie recalls. “By 13, I was their storekeeper and, during high school and college, I spent every summer working in the factory.” Other family members play roles at the company, as well, including Massie’s wife, Silvia Kho, an architect who leads the design department.
A different marketplace
Indonesia is a sprawling archipelago—the world’s largest island nation—and is home to an ethnically diverse population of 255 million people speaking more than 300 languages. Although the country is Southeast Asia’s fourth largest economy, most of Indonesia’s population falls in the lower-middle income range. In 2014, average per capita income was $3,630, according to the World Bank. Massie says that the average Indonesian’s buying power has declined due to recent currency devaluations, while inflation and falling property values have eroded standards of living.
Even in better times, Indonesians typically consider latex and even some innerspring beds to be luxury products. The company targets the mass market with a wide assortment of affordable polyurethane foam and spring models. Financing is readily available, with consumers routinely buying beds on credit.
Indonesia’s consumers tend to be brand loyal, preferring to choose among longtime, trusted bed brands, Massie says. Retailers, on the other hand, generally don’t have a strong brand presence, as most are small, family-run businesses with one or two storefronts. Many mattresses are purchased at temporary exhibitions. Each year, Massindo participates in hundreds of these local consumer shows, often held in shopping centers.
Massindo is a leading producer in its home country and has won multiple manufacturing and marketing awards. In 2011, newspaper publisher Seputar Indonesia and Indonesian business awards company the TERA Foundation recognized the company for having the largest dealer network among the region’s mattress producers. The company also has earned honors for its experiential marketing and product design from various organizations.
The company’s product line covers a wide range of price points, constructions and proprietary brands, making it a one-stop shop for its dealers. Massindo bed brands include Feel Foam, an affordable all-foam lineup and Superfit, an entry-level innerspring collection.
The company’s bread-and-butter is Comforta, a midrange innerspring group with prices opening at about $130 in queen size. Massie describes it as a “high-quality, affordable bed targeted to young people.” Comforta is widely recognized in Indonesia, scoring No. 1 in surveys testing unaided recall of mattress brands, he says.
Management is a passion of Massie, who relishes his role as president director of Massindo Group. He says he strives to empower those around him by delegating authority and nurturing employee autonomy. Indeed, allowing regional operations a degree of independence is a key to the company’s success and growth.
The company is broad and diffuse, as one would imagine in a nation of 13,000 islands, where the logistics of same-day and next-day delivery are complicated and expensive. Massindo has solved this riddle with a massive network of sales, manufacturing and distribution facilities. The company has more than 2,000 employees at two dozen locations—including several regional sales offices, 18 manufacturing plants and three additional distribution centers. It boasts more than 1,500 retailers in Indonesia alone, and does a brisk hospitality business, as well.
The manufacturer also is a retailer with 24 of its own Sleep Center stores in high-profile areas and shopping centers. The locations act as billboards for the bedding brand, raising awareness among Indonesia’s brand-conscious consumers.
Those stores, plus frequent appearances at consumer fairs, give the manufacturer valuable face-to-face interaction with consumers. “We constantly are learning how we can improve our service, our products, our POP materials, and, in turn, how we can help our dealers in selling our products,” Massie says.
Massie earned a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio, and says he took much of what he learned about business in the United States back home to Indonesia. “It has helped us build a world-class company,” he says.
Certainly, with its big-budget marketing strategy and sophisticated brand management, the company stands out among mattress makers in the developing world. The Massindo marketing department is responsible for implementing a comprehensive advertising strategy across TV, radio, print and digital. It also produces custom publications for dealers, creates point-of-sale displays, manages the company presence at a variety of design and consumer shows, and conducts public relations campaigns.
But it’s not just about importing the best business strategies: Massie recognized some time ago that Indonesians are particularly fond of American brands.
“People trust that American manufacturers use high-quality products and components because of the higher standard living in the United States and its reputation for high standards and quality control,” Massie says. “Shoppers will pay more to own a U.S. brand.”
A good many U.S. bed brands have a presence in Indonesia. In addition to Spring Air and Therapedic, Massindo holds licenses for the Kingsdown MySide collection and distributes Protect-A-Bed mattress protection products. (Other U.S. brands sold in Indonesia include King Koil, Lady Americana, Sealy, Serta, Simmons and Tempur-Pedic.)
Massie says his company hits premium and ultra-premium price points with its American brands and each is marketed to a different segment. Massindo’s Therapedic models have a modern aesthetic aimed at young, upwardly mobile buyers. Spring Air products have classic designs and are for the mature luxury customer. The MySide collection is offered at ultra-premium price points to shoppers seeking customized comfort.
Massindo has expanded the scope of some of its licensing arrangements and now exports licensed beds brands to Europe and other parts of Asia. Massie says he hopes to do much more of that in the future.
Headlining in Vegas
During the Las Vegas Market in January, Massindo—a Spring Air licensee since 2001—showcased a Chattam & Wells model to celebrate the Spring Air brand’s 90th anniversary. On display in the showroom window, the opulent Throne bed earned the company its second Spring Air International Bed of the Year honor from the Boston-based mattress licensing group.
“This is the most unique bed in my 18 years of mattress making,” Massie says. “One year ago, we were challenged to build an anniversary mattress, and we wanted to make a strong statement. Similar to the way auto companies build a concept car—to indicate the direction of the future—we gave our design team free rein to let their imaginations run wild. The project gave them a rich sense of gratification. We put everything in here that is extravagant. I wanted our designers to build a product without a budget.”
The mattress includes more than 10,000 encased coils in six layers of springs, divided into 14 zones. Atop the support system are comfort layers that include latex and gel-infused memory foam, as well as many natural fills—cashmere, wool, silk and horsehair. The mattress is covered in a custom-designed knit panel fabric that is both water- and stain-repellent. The bed’s upholstery also features satin, leather and suede accents. The Throne was displayed with a mahogany headboard; at the foot was a 24-karat, gold-plated medallion embedded with Swarovski crystals. The mattress set alone retails for $13,000 in king only and is available to retailers everywhere. The complete ensemble with headboard and footed base retails for $29,900.
“Massindo designers spent well over a year designing the Throne,” says Rick Robinson, Spring Air International president. “Think of it as the bed for those who have Lear jets and drive Rolls-Royces.”
There was plenty of Massindo creativity on display at Therapedic, as well. A licensee since 2011, the Indonesian producer displayed a sleek, contemporary version of the Therapedic Agility collection. The licensee enlarged its Therapedic collection for 2016 and honored three Indonesian retailers as Grand Champions in Therapedic sales for 2015. Massindo offered showroom visitors a glossy, 25-page 2016 Therapedic Collection catalog, showcasing its full lineup, including Agility, BackSense, Buoyancy and Therawrap.
Gerry Borreggine, president and chief executive officer of Princeton, New Jersey-based licensing group, says he is “pleased and proud with how Indonesian dealers have embraced the Therapedic brand.”
Eye on export
Massindo opened an office and a mattress gallery in Singapore in 2014, operated by a new subsidiary, Massindo Global Asia Pte. Ltd. The store carries Massindo’s Comforta brand, as well as Spring Air and Therapedic products and has a specially trained staff of sleep-products professionals.
The Singapore expansion was just the beginning. The company has a five-year growth plan and is targeting, in particular, other member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations— Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The company currently exports some of its product line to China, Malaysia, Singapore and Sri Lanka, as well as to Germany. By mid-2016, Massindo hopes to ship product to the United States.
When Massindo Group leaders sat down to define the organization more than a decade ago, they decided its corporate culture was based on three values—integrity, excellence and continuous improvement—that still drive the business today,” says Jeffri Massie, president director of the Jakarta, Indonesia-based company.
Each of these values is represented in Massindo’s stylized three-part logo. “Integrity is No. 1 and that comes down directly from my father. For a company to survive it must have the trust of all,” Massie says. “No. 2 is the importance of striving for excellence and No. 3 is the symbol of stairs, representing continual improvement and the importance of always learning. Our company and our employees all share these values and, because of that, we are able to reach our maximum potential.”
Massindo Group’s dealer incentive program invites strong participation—and with good reason. Retailers who earn the most points are treated to an all-expenses paid trip that, in recent years, has taken winning retailers and their families on weeklong excursions to Las Vegas, Paris and other locales. In 2013, a scenic tour of Austria and Germany concluded with an awards ceremony at the Neuschwanstein Musical Theatre in Füssen, Germany.
“In 2015, Gerry Borreggine (president and chief executive officer of licensing group Therapedic International) joined us during a tour of Australia and New Zealand when we unveiled the Therapedic Agility during a cruise in Sydney Harbour,” says Jeffri Massie, Massindo president director. “Our dealer program is very strong. People love going on a big, exciting trip.” Close to 500 people participated in the 2015 event. The 2016 trip will be a cruise tour of Japan and Korea.
Focused on family, balance
Jeffri Massie, president director of Massindo Group, based in Jakarta, Indonesia, says his company’s mission “comes from the heart.” It is centered on improving families’ quality of life—and a key way to doing that is helping people sleep better.
“Well-designed products help consumers have better sleep, and allow our retailer family, as well as everyone along our supply chain, to prosper,” Massie says.
Creating a work-life balance within the company also is important to Massie.
“Work stresses should not be allowed to decrease employees’ quality of life. Employees should not have too many deadlines, meetings and burdens,” he says. “We want every life we touch to be improved, and family life to be improved because family is the foundation of society—and too many things are destroying that.”