“The Pioneer of Timber e-Marketplace in Indonesia”

Advances in Information and Communications Technology industry (ICT) have already penetrated into many businesses. The achievement is not only to provide many benefits, but also able to provide benefits in real terms. Even if not all ICT experts agree the about it, but there are a number of inevitable advantages such as efficiency cost and others.
The usage of ICT nowadays is not limited to those who have a computer device, but it’s been a long time to reach the smart phone users. This incredible range expansion, let alone the number of telephone users rapidly increase in the past five years.
It evokes the opportunities of e-commerce. It is a business that takes benefits of internet advances, and uses many kinds of applications running on the internet such as e-mail, instant messaging, shopping carts, web services, Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI); File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). Click-based business is different to brick and mortar which is a basis on conventional business.
Realizing the benefits can be achieved, in 2008  Yohannes Sutarto founded pasarkayu.com. This site was probably the first electronic marketplace (e-marketplace) in Indonesia that especially active in the timber business. That was a pretty bold step; moreover, in this country, timber business is a business which is very difficult to be included in the virtual world. One of the reasons is that this business very concerned with the relationship and a very high trust level between sellers and buyers. It is because it depends on the quality assurance, as well as a common perception among the interacting parties. In the real market, quality assurance is very dependent on the individual involvement of Schaller and grader. Without their involvement, it’s very difficult for the buyers and sellers to encounter the same perception simultaneously the assessment. The other obstacle here is the difference of the standard grade which will be used in the transaction. Formerly, this inequality made the pessimism grows in the use of e-marketplace for the timber business. It didn’t include the uncertainty of the laws and regulations which ruled industry and timber business. “Too many overlapping regulations, as well as the interpretation of the regulations which may differ from one institution to another institution,” said a timber trader.
It seemed that, for Yohanes Sutarto, those barriers were not a big deal. He admitted that initially he was more concerned with the condition of his family business. The establishment of Pasarkayu could be more of his personal reaction on the timber business slump experienced in 2008.
At that moment, coming an idea to be a ‘broker’ or ‘intermediary’ or it’s much proper to say as  an intermediary for the sale and purchase of timber. However, this idea failed to reach because he was often lied by the seller even the buyers. To reduce the risk of loss, he switched to utilize ICT services through the establishment of e-marketplace. It was a dilemma, especially for timber markets which the participants liked to ‘play dirty’. Before Sutarto had done it, it could be said that in Indonesia, almost no one that would find and operate e-marketplace specifically for this business.
His concerned on the progress of information and communication technology in Indonesia was not without a reason. The technology called as futurist Alvin Toffler as the third wave of revolution in human civilization, after the agricultural revolution in the thirteenth century and the industrial revolution in the nineteenth century. This technological advance has allowed the expansion of the range of information and communication services, even to the remote corners of the world. Today, it almost can be said that just a little blank spot which is not connected to this technology.

The convergence of information and communication technology is expected to change the today’s modern world face. It is quite telling indeed, and the world is also changing in a revolutionary way, especially in less developed countries and developing countries. The Advances of the technology have also changed the characteristics of the business world by the emergence of online business and e-market.

Even successfully taking advantages of the sophistication of Information and Communication Technology, but it does not mean the e-market facilities can shift the dominant role of the real market. According to the expert of Information and Communication Technology, Rudi Rusdiah, the greatest difficulty in e-market place business is the natural condition of business which is still based on the conventional economic characteristic. E-market place, as done by Pasarkayu is still limited to a role as business enabler. However, as an enabler, e-market place have proved to be the extension of the real market. This extension is able to expand the range, as well as negates the time and geographical differences.

At the beginning of the establishment, Sutarto had only a laptop, free wifi, internet cafe and CDMA internet access as the capitals. He also took advantage of a free domain, www.pasarkayu.co.cc which used blogger machine. This is a special portal for real free timber trading with the facility of SMS center, mailing lists, facebook, twitter and forum. All of the duties were done by him on the sidelines of his activities as his buyers’ Quality Control PSDS. On July 10th, 2009, by utilizing the remaining fund, he bought the domain of www.pasarkayu.com

The target were timber industry entrepreneurs having trouble on finding raw materials, suppliers and other supporting materials. It also included the farmers or wood owners as well as the traders, or brokers. They were sought to be able to promote their businesses through e-market place. That’s why; he provided http://www.pasarkayu.com/p/hubungi-kami_01.html page, or website, pasarkayu.com. At that time, he used blogger, blogspot.com owned by Google. It would be automatically noted by Google search engine. From the keywords associated with timber industry listed by the users, pasarkayu.com gained access on the first until the fifth page.

To note, nowadays, almost everyone is looking for something by using a search engine facility. The targeted searching is the advantage of pasarkayu.com. By this facility, it can save time, cost and location, including the transaction between islands and between cities.

At that time, the most formidable challenge was the doubt of prospective buyers in doing transaction with sellers in pasarkayu. According to him, those who advertised, sometimes was only a broker. Generally, they were less of information or even didn’t know about product knowledge, so they failed to be a good salesman. There were also who feels annoyed and angry when there were many callers asking for information of products offered. Once, an advertiser on Pasarkayu became the subject of deception or improper conduct of website visitors. “At that time I was alone, and did not know what to do,” he explained. It made him surrender. It’s not because pasarkayu was a free service, but a moral burden and responsibility of launching it. To solve it, or at least reduce it, he required the advertisers to confirm the truth of the information through text messages and a number of conditions before its ads uploaded.

He also required a membership for mailing list that had to include the address and religion. The last requirement maybe could only be found here. As an administrator, he always tried to greet every advertiser and prospective buyers to be wary of deception. At the end of 2013, he obtained a support from some of his partners to support the operational of Pasarkayu. They had specialized in IT engineering, marketing and international correspondent as well as timber industrialists. Those supports made Pasakayu e-marketplace running very cheap paid-advertisements. The fares were only IDR1000 per day or had to be a member of the Community of Pasarkayu or “KPK”  with membership levy was just IDR100.000 per year. “The goal is that the advertiser become more responsible for material uploaded,” he explained.

Currently, Sutarto said that he was cooperating with Perhutani (forest department) in Central Java, the aim is to improve the quality of services and ease website access. “Now, the service can be accessed via smart phone,” he said. Therefore, there are two versions, pasarkayu.com and pasarkayu.co.id, and www.woodtradecentre.com. For the visitors’ convenience, it is completed by community and communication media of www.mediakayu.com and www.mediakayu.co.id. Unfortunately, both of these media still copy-paste because of the absence of chief editor. He has also planned to create station ‘Suara Kayu’ radio community by FM frequency. Moreover, he has become a media partner on a number of exhibition in Jakarta.

In the future, he will try to cooperate with banks for financing and transaction security. It intends to minimize the chance of “play dirty”. Pasarkayu also has planned a workshop or seminar for the wood processing industry with the theme of alternative materials and eco friendly.

“Here were many people who still liked to play dirty”

Pasarkayu seemed to have very big challenges. One of the challenges facing at the beginning of the launch was the emergence of skepticism saying that not all commodities were able to be traded in online way. Moreover, if it concerned to commodity that had large physical dimensions and required accuracy in the quality assessment. “Seeing is believing” seemed to be true in business and conventional timber transaction. In his point of view, the market and wood businessman in Indonesia hadn’t yet, “Even barely can” done online transaction. It was because the wood businessman still liked “play dirty”, whereas, Pasarkayu referred to the ideal conditions existed in developed countries such as America Hardwood Export Council located in the United States. “The transaction can be done by online with the same timber quality and size standards,” he continued.

“Philosophy of Jeneng and Jenang”

It took years for Pasarkayu to be able to provide real benefits. It meant real advantage not unreal advantage, or still as expectation. That’s why; it took very long time. Just look at a number of well-known news portals’ experience in this country. The time needed was not short, and some of them had been still ‘struggling’ after passing through a period of time in which it should have already enjoyed the profit.

The same thing also had been experienced by the founder and owner of Pasakayu, Yohannes Sutarto. He mentioned that in the early days, it was a period of struggling to establish the name, in which in the Javanese language it is called ‘Jeneng’. It meant that in this peiode, Pasarkayu built the suppliers’ and manufacturers’ trust which were its end-consumer. For three years, Pasarkayu had served them for free. “Even until today, it is still free for small and medium enterprises, as well as for the unlucky,” he said in brief. Free service during that period had never been seen as a disadvantage. “We give it  sincerely and whole heartedly, and that’s why God replies by giving the best,” continued this religious Javanese man. After getting Jeneng, he began to get Jenang (very sweet traditional food of Kudus made of glutinous rice flour and coconut sugar) . “In that year, I started getting jenang or we called it profit.” So, he now get both Jeneng and Jenang as well.

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