As BMJ turns 25, CEO Rahmanadi reflects on the challenges and opportunities ahead.
TR Staff Report
BMJ celebrated its 25 anniversary in November. Starting as small outfit in the 1990s, the Indonesian supplier of cigarette papers rapidly grew into a leading player in southeast Asia and throughout the world. Tobacco Reporter caught up with BMJ CEO Omar Rahmanadi and asked him about the company’s past, present and future.
Tobacco Reporter: What, in your opinion, have been BMJ’s greatest accomplishments over the past 25 years?
This is a difficult question, because BMJ has accomplished so much in many different aspects over the past 25 years. For example, our workforce has grown from only 68 people in the beginning to over 1,000 people now. This means that BMJ has created hundreds of jobs and has helped increase the prosperity of the local community. Furthermore, we have not only built a place merely to work, but also a place to develop a fulfilling career. We have also been recognized as a responsible manufacturer in environment sustainability. However, if I have to pick one, BMJ’s greatest accomplishment is the trust that we have gained from our customers over the past 25 years. We also understand that trust takes years to build, seconds to break and forever to repair; therefore we spare no effort to ensure that we always deliver excellent products and services.
How do you explain your company’s success?
Our success stems from our passion to serve the customers better. With that passion, we are committed to always listen, know and understand customers’ needs, so that we can continuously search for the perfect solutions.
How does BMJ set itself apart from the competition?
It is difficult to answer this question because we have been spending too much time working with customers and not enough time studying our competitors. I think this question is better to be addressed to our customers.
Is there much room for further innovation in tobacco papers? If so, which areas hold the most potential?
There is still some room for further innovation in cigarette papers. With stricter regulations on tobacco packaging, more emphasis will be placed on materials inside the pack. We are currently working on several new products, but I cannot disclose anything further. Stealing Donald Trump’s line, “I will keep you in suspense.”
What do you consider to be the greatest future challenges for the cigarette paper industry? And how is BMJ preparing for those challenges?
The main challenges are tighter regulations on cigarettes, for example: the obligation to use low-ignition propensity paper and adoption of plain packaging. This leads to decline in cigarette consumption, especially in developed countries. We are lucky that we are located in a part of the world where cigarette consumption was still growing, until recently. I think the growth still has potential to continue, because the purchasing power of the consumers is still growing. However, eventually growing health concerns will catch up to this part of the world, and that will put the brakes on cigarette consumption growth.
The only way to survive in the long term is by investing in innovation.
Where do you see BMJ in 25 years from now?
Twenty-five years from now, there will be fewer players in cigarette paper industry, and BMJ will be one among the few that are still serving cigarette companies. We will thrive as a strategic global partner for cigarette companies.