Tony Wenas on the Elegant and Powerful Approach to Running a Successful Company

Tony Wenas, the President Director of RT Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (RAPP) has recently gave an interview to Investor Daily, talking about the invaluable lessons he has learned throughout his life that have made him an exemplary member of the company, playing a vital role in its success.

The Harmony of Working Together

Mr. Wenas has not always been in the pulp and paper industry, but his commitment to RAPP – the main subsidiary of April Group, a corporation that’s part of Sukanto Tanoto’s RGE Group – has helped the company become one of the most advanced, successful and technologically advanced providers of pulp and paper in the world.

RAPP’s President Director actually started out in a band in the 1980s called Solid 80s, and has achieved a fair degree of success. His love for music, however, followed him as he ascended the ranks in various industries, gradually becoming recognized as an important industry leader.

One of the most significant lessons Mr. Wenas has learned from his musical career – lessons that he also applied to his business endeavors – was that, in order to achieve success, a group such as RAPP has to work together in harmony, just like an orchestra. In these terms, not only the employees – each with his/her own unique talents and skills – but also the leaders of the company have to put their own skills to good use in harmony with everyone else.

In the interview, Tony Wenas talked about his success in leading RAPP, outlining the fact that, just like a conductor doesn’t necessarily know the skills that musicians playing various musical instruments may have, he has his own talent in guiding all the musicians in an orchestra to produce beautiful music together.

Similarly, a business leader serves his managers and employees to achieve the same type of harmony in order to constantly keep the company together and improve its results in the business world.

Honesty and Increased Focus

Tony Wenas began his career as an inexperienced law graduate without any connections who applied for a job, and continued to learn and refine his business skills, as he climbed the ladder to becoming an industry leader.

He realized with time that passion, drive and focus, as well as honesty, were some of the most important virtues that he needed in order to pursue his dreams, and even though he didn’t realize his parents’ dreams of becoming an engineer, he has used the same focus, commitment and honest drive towards improvement that he had learned from them and from his past pursuits.

Today, Mr. Wenas applies the very same principles when leading RAPP through the challenges of the natural resources sector and continues to be a worthwhile member of RAPP and the RGE.

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April Announces the Opening of a New Hi-Tech Paper Production Facility

Asia Pacific Resources International Limited – also known as April – is the main management company that handles the RGE Group’s operation in the pulp and paper industry.

While the company has been producing more than 820,000 tons of paper per year, the newly constructed facility – the third and most advanced paper production center it has developed – is now able to take that number up to 1.15 million tons per year, while ensuring that the company can meet its target of providing the world with a larger amount of high grade digital paper.

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Dramatically Increasing Paper Production

Anderson Tanoto, son of RGE Chairman Sukanto Tanoto, has recently inspected the new Rp 4 trillion paper production facility in Riau. The stats show that, with its help, April is now able to meet the growing demands for high grade digital paper production designed for high quality color printing.

The investment seems to have paid off, helping April reach its goal of increasing production for PaperOneTM products – the company’s most important paper brand. Also, the new technology incorporated in the facility is now able to produce quality paper at a rate of no less than 1.4 km per minute, a staggering improvement compared to older results.

The mill will be using 100% plantation fiber derived from sources that already exist and is expected to provide the April Group with increased outputs that are already set to be deployed on the global market.

An Important Step for Indonesia’s Growth Policy

A ceremony was held to commemorate the new production facility in Riau, and many important local figures attended. Aside from Anderson Tanoto, industry minister Saleh Husin was also present, and he was quite impressed with the remarkable progress that the April Group has made in such a short amount of time.

The minister claimed that he is extremely pleased to support the Group, as their efforts are expected to have a direct positive impact on Indonesia’s economic and industrial development. He also said that this new initiative is not only in line with the Government’s plans and approach toward the country’s growth, but is also a major step forward to improving the country’s exporting goals.

The actual output of the industry is roughly about 6.4 million tons for pulp and more than 10 million tons for paper; in terms of export, the numbers were kept high last year, at 3.5 million tons for pulp and 4.3 million for paper – worth a total of more than $5 billion dollars. With new facilities such as the one built by April, these stats are expected to grow even more in the next few years.

Renewed Hope for Squamish’s Sporting and Educational Efforts through a New Community Sponsorship Program

At a recent event in Squamish, B.C., in Canada, Woodfibre LNG – a subsidiary of Pacific Oil & Gas Limited, a corporation that’s part of the Singapore-based RGE Group led by entrepreneur and philanthropist Sukanto Tanoto – has announced the establishment of a $100,000 community program geared to offering increased support to local groups and charities in the Squamish area.

Exciting New Prospects for Improvement

Woodfibre LNG has been a member of the Squamish community for the past two years; if approved by the B.C. and Canada’s Environmental Assessment Act, this new project will offer new opportunities for local community groups to improve areas associated with education and sporting resources for Canadian children and teens, as well as establish the company as having a vital role in the community for the next 25 years.

The sponsorship program, aside from bringing new funding opportunities to community groups, will also ensure that the funds are effectively allocated to ensure that areas such as education, sports and environmental development can equally benefit from them.

As an initial effort to start the program, Woodfibre has announced that it would provide grants valued at $25,000 for five community groups and sporting associations. These are the Axeman Rugby Club, the Howe Sound Minor Ball and the Squamish Minor Hockey, Minor Soccer and Slo-Pitch Associations.

The money will mainly be used to ensure suitable and safe playing fields through improved infrastructure, such as a new lighting system that will be installed at the Hendrickson Field using a portion of the amount allocated for the grants.

Applying to the Sponsorship Program

Community groups can apply to the sponsorship program by visiting the official website of Woodfibre LNG and filling out the provided application form.

The company has also announced that new applications will continue to be reviewed and accepted in accordance with their criteria by September 30th of this year – these applications being reserved for the next round of funding that the company will be establishing.

Aside from its efforts in building a new gas processing and liquefaction facility, Woodfibre LNG has been increasingly more active in the British Columbia area, promising new opportunities for establishing local community projects such as those facilitated by their new sponsorship program.

The gas processing company follows the same business philosophy that visionary Sukanto Tanoto has used to expand RGE to one of the world’s leading group of corporations, focusing on the well-known 3 Cs to provide improved effort and commitment for the betterment of the company, the community and the country to an equal extent.

Belinda Tanoto and the Tanoto Foundation’s Holistic Approach to Poverty Alleviation

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Belinda Tanoto, the daughter of Sukanto Tanoto (founder of the Tanoto Foundation and the RGE Group of corporation), has recently outlined some of the main challenges and plans associated with poverty alleviation in Indonesia.

Just as Sukanto Tanoto himself has failed to complete his education due to the inability of the local educational system to provide support for children in the 1950s and 60s, millions of children struggle with the same problem today.

The Tanoto Foundation and the Three Es

It is the mission of the Tanoto Foundation, together with various other philanthropic and non-governmental groups, as well as the Indonesian Government itself, to provide new opportunities for the education and empowerment of the people. The foundation also aims to enhance local resources in order to provide better opportunities for children and students, as well as for small business owners, to ultimately improve their ability to help themselves.

As Belinda Tanoto has pointed out, these are the three E’s that the Tanoto Foundation focuses on in order to help alleviate poverty in regions like Jambi: education, enhancement and empowerment.

They have already made significant effort to improve the education in Indonesia through programs such as Pelita Pandidikan and a powerful scholarship program. Through these initiatives, the Foundation hopes to not only provide kids with better resources (they have already worked with more than 300 schools and donated about 30,000 books), but also to improve the quality of the education in the regions that need it the most, through training programs for teachers.

Planning for a Future without Poverty

The magnitude of these initiatives, of course, will not stop with overcoming the challenges present in education. Small and medium businesses have also benefited from working together with the Tanoto Foundation and its various corporate partners.

Smallholder farmers and small businesses throughout Indonesia are enjoying better training and improved opportunities either to expand through the palm oil industry or by becoming contractors at the bottom of the supply chain.

Further efforts are underway to overcome the additional challenges that stand in the way of poverty alleviation, including:

  • The divide between the quality of life in urban and rural areas;
  • The lack of relevant data that could supply vital information to be used in the creation of new philanthropic and support programs;
  • The ability to induce a lasting change in people’s mindset and promote the importance of good education and responsible business practices.

Belinda Tanoto is leading the current work in bringing improved solutions for poverty alleviation; she is also scheduled to talk on the Channel NewsAsia Perspective panel on June the 10th, in order to provide further information on the Tanoto Foundation’s mission of fighting inequality in Indonesia.