APRIL Responds to Opportunities and Challenges

One of the most important ability of an entrepreneur is adaptability – how do you react to opportunities and challenges? In today’s business world, there are factors that are changing all the time – from political changes, product changes, environmental changes and even changes in customers’ wants and needs. Being able to adapt alone is no longer enough because the time taken for a company to react tends to determine if the company is able to compete in the market. Thus, one needs to adapt and react FAST in order to remain as market leader. It is even better if there can be preventive measures taken to proactively address potential problems before they turn into a crisis.

Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL), headquartered in Singapore, operates as a fiber, pulp, and paper manufacturer under the RGE Group of companies directed by founder Sukanto Tanoto. APRIL recently noted that if newly elected Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s administration is able to meet expectations for an expansion of the country’s infrastructure, he could assist in growing the capacity of the paper industry by as much as 20 percent by 2016. The boom coincides with an increased demand for pulp and paper products from China and other rapidly industrializing countries in Asia. By 2015 alone, many experts believe, the pulp and paper industry could grow as much as 5 percent.

While demand for paper products has been on the decline in North America and European nations, largely due to an increased use of online resources to store and disseminate information, the push from the Asian market is expected to swell total global demand by about 2.6 percent annually in the coming years.

Industry experts based in Indonesia have noted an oversupply in that country’s pulp and paper market, and have commented on the need for government assistance to keep the sector competitive. In 2013, the total amount of paper products manufactured reached 6 million tons, nearly half of which came from facilities owned by Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (RAPP), a subsidiary of APRIL.

In another recent development, non-governmental organizations have challenged APRIL and other pulp and fiber companies doing business in Indonesia’s Riau Province by claiming that fires set on company land had brought a smoky haze as far as Malaysia and Singapore. APRIL, which recently set up its APRIL Dialog website to provide greater operational transparency for the public, provided a detailed response.

Pointing to satellite images offered by the NGOs that purported to show the locations of numerous fires on APRIL concession lands, company executives noted that they found evidence for only a single fire detected in the specified time period. And that fire appeared to have originated within APRIL lands set aside for community use and not within the zones used for production.

A company spokesman also noted that APRIL, which maintains a strict “zero-burn” policy throughout its concessions, would have no logical reason to destroy the very natural resources essential to its operations. With a finite amount of land available for expansion, RAPP and APRIL understand that optimizing existing resources is key to corporate survival in a competitive market. And as a leader in its sector, RAPP has developed an understanding of its role in serving as a model of sustainable practices going forward.

And these, are just some of the ongoing changes in the industry that keep APRIL on their toes all the time.

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