Made up of over 17,000 islands, 6,000 of which are inhabited, Indonesia is the World’s largest archipelago – a true ocean nation.
As a result, ensuring its marine and energy industries are properly supplied with lubricants is a challenge that Lubmarine partner Arthamas Sejahtera Mulia has met for over 20 years.
Here Lina Fransisca, director and founding partner of Jakarta–based Arthamas Sejahtera Mulia with her husband Forman Lee, highlights how their team works hard to focus on delivering not only high quality Lubmarine products but consistent, reliable, value added services.
Q) Can you tell us more about Arthamas Sejahtera Mulia and what it does?
Myself and my husband started the business 23 years ago as a general oil supply company serving the marine and power plant sectors here on a local level. I have a background in the marine sector and my husband has a background in sales and logistics so it was a good balance for us in terms of where our experience lay.
We have in that time grown the business to where we are today with 46 people in the team right across Indonesia – with teams here in Jakarta and on key islands across Indonesia including Sumatra Island, Borneo Island, and Sulawesi Island.
We have also developed our own warehouse networks so that we can control all aspects of delivery providing an added level of support and trust to our customers. We exclusively supply the range of Lubmarine products and that is very important to us and our customers.
Q) How did you come to work with Lubmarine in Indonesia?
So the relationship with Lubmarine (which at the time was known as Elf Lubmarine) started over 20 years ago. Some of our customers were asking for Lubmarine products specifically, so we made contact with them to start discussions. Whilst Lubmarine had customers in Indonesia they didn't have an agent based here but were looking for someone to fulfill that role. Given the geographical make up of Indonesia logistics are a real challenge and we were able to highlight and prove our expertise in this area.
We also highlighted to Lubmarine that marine market here at the time had good growth potential and we started working together – a relationship that has really flourished and last over 20 years. Over the past 20+ years we have developed a fantastic relationship with Lubmarine. We feel like a family and the partnership is really positive. We meet with the teams very often and have a really close and positive working relationship, with our customers at the heart of that positive partnership.
Q) What type of customers and sectors are you supplying Lubmarine products into?
It's a very competitive market here in Indonesia with all of the major lubricants companies having a presence. We work exclusively with Lubmarine and that is important to us as it is a differentiator and enables us to ensure consistency, quality and reliability across both the marine and power plant sectors principally.
We supply to local domestic vessels as well as local companies that run overseas operations. From a marine perspective we are working with container vessel, tanker vessel and also break-bulk vessel fleet operators. We also work for the state owned and private power plants.
Q) In addition to Lubmarine products how do you like to add value to customers?
Ensuring we can deliver a high quality, personal service to our customers when they need us is very important. As a result we have our own teams across Indonesia and also operate our own warehouses. This means we are in control of the level of service we deliver to our customers. That in turn ensures consistency at the heart of what we do.
The customer relationship is very important. For us our customers are like our partners. Any problem that they have we seek to solve it for them. If our customers have an issue – whether that’s on the weekend, at night or on Christmas day – we are there to ensure we support them. For us that is a critical part of our approach to customer service.
The combination of being able to bring together ourselves, our key customers and the team from Lubmarine is a very positive thing.
Q) What have been the biggest challenges for yourselves (and customers over the last 15 months during Covid and how have you overcome these?)
For the last 15 months the team based in our offices have been working from home as many millions around the world have had to do. So we have moved the business onto a cloud based system to ensure robust business continuity. For our operations teams across Indonesia we had to control everything very tightly, ensuring their safety and that of our customers – through very tight protocols. We were testing staff every week.
Thankfully, because we have our own warehouses and have extremely positive long-term relationships with our clients we were in a better position to be able to monitor and control our operations and ensure minimum disruption.
Within Indonesia most of the customers headquarters are in Jakarta so whilst we were not able to travel right across Indonesia that local contact was able to be maintained on some levels. One issue for our customers here in Indonesia – which was been compounded by Covid - was the lack of availability of Low Sulfur fuels to coincide with the start of IMO2020.
These were not available in every port (which was still the case) and had an impact. Through the technical support and drain oil analysis services we offer through the Lubmarine team we were able to help our customers overcome these challenges where they arose and are still actively supporting them as part of the value added services we can offer them.
Q) In terms of technical support/engine monitoring and added value services – how beneficial do your customers in Indonesia find these and are there any in particular they like to take advantage of?
As we have highlighted, the lack of availability of Low Sulfur fuels was and is an issue. Through the technical support in conjunction with the Lubmarine team, we have been able to help customers manage their lubricant requirements during this situation.
Customers were challenged, as were the engines by the mix of low and high sulfur fuels oils. So we worked with customers to help them manage their engines through the range of technical services we offer, in particular the engine monitoring programme offered by Lubmarine.
In these challenging times, many of our customers find real benefit in having efficient cylinder feed-rate optimization and drain oil analysis and interpretation to know the condition of their machinery. As a result of this, we have seen increased levels of technical support being delivered to our customers.
Lubmarine has a very strong technical team. We have had a great working relationship with Lubmarine enabling us to deliver really valuable technical support. Most of our customers are long-term customers so we have been delighted to be able to help deliver this full level of service which has really made a difference to them.
Q) Looking ahead what do you think some of the developments are likely to be in your area of the business?
As a marine country with so many Islands there is a lot of development opportunities for us still in the marine sector.
Shipping has become a vital lifeline for global industry and for life here as part of that. So really the opportunities for growth are continuing to build on what we have been doing so well with Lubmarine since we started working with them.
Q) When you are not in work mode – what do you like to do in your spare time?
During the pandemic, I developed a new interest in psychology. I have really enjoyed learning more about people and how we act and react. I’ve both read books and studied online. Certainly Covid has taught us a lot and for me one of those things was the physical well-being and mental health of our people and their families. So the interest for me has wider benefits across our business also.