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08 Dec 2023

Ivy Kamadjaja: A Woman Powering the Logistics Business with Head, Hand and Heart

For 25 years, Ivy Kamadjaja has brought her authentic leadership style to the male-dominated logistics business. With the innovations and initiatives she leads, her family company, Kamadjaja Logistics, is entering a new phase of digital transformation.

"Changing a system that has been running for decades is certainly not easy,” said Ivy, the Deputy CEO of the Surabaya-based company. “But technological transformation and human resource transformation must be carried out."

The logistics sector has evolved significantly with the integration of advanced technologies. Kamadjaja Logistics, one of Indonesia’s leading logistics businesses, has also made some changes.

The adoption of GPS tracking systems and Transportation Management Systems has enhanced real-time visibility, optimising route planning and cargo tracking. Automation in warehouses has improved order fulfilment speed and reduced lead times.

Data analytics also plays a crucial role in demand forecasting and inventory management, contributing to overall operational efficiency. "All of this was done in stages,” Ivy said. “But now it's running well, not only in the office but also in the field, so that work is more efficient. This is also related to customer trust."

Through observation, Ivy acquired her business instincts and abilities and learned about the logistics business from scratch. She spent a lot of her childhood playing at her father's workplace. In 1998, she worked as a banker in Jakarta when circumstances led her to return to Surabaya. Since then, she has assisted in running Kamadjaja Logistics, the company her father founded.

"I started from the bottom and worked until I got to know all the systems," added Ivy.

She later took on the role of Chief Marketing Officer, based on her expertise from the University of Technology, Sydney, where she studied for a Bachelor of Business Degree in Marketing and Management. She has remained in the role until today.

With her extensive leadership experience and business networks, Ivy was appointed the British Honorary Consul for East Java in 2018. In this role, she works to encourage closer cooperation between Indonesia and the United Kingdom, particularly in the field of business.

She also serves as the deputy of the Permanent Committee on Land Transportation for the Indonesia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN). In Asosiasi Logistik Indonesia, she is the Head of the East Java Chapter. Furthermore, she sits on the advisory board of the Women of the Future Awards Southeast Asia, Indonesia Marketing Association (East Java Chapter).

In recognition of her contributions to business, she has been awarded several accolades. These include the Bronze Stevie Award for Women in Business (USA, 2014), Marketeer of the Year (Marketer Media, Surabaya, 2015), the Best Industry Marketing Champion (IMA, 2017), and The Industry Special Mention Award for Logistics Sector (IMA, 2020). Moreover, Globe Asia magazine listed her among the 99 Most Powerful Women in Indonesia, and she was named among the 99 Most Inspiring Women in 2019.

Breaking Down Barriers with Diverse Leadership

As a woman navigating the logistics industry, breaking gender stereotypes has been an ongoing challenge. "Gaining access to networks traditionally dominated by men requires proactive engagement and establishing supportive relationships with mentors," Ivy explained.

She also aims to provide women working in logistics with a wide range of opportunities. In her view, the nation’s logistics industry will grow with the inclusion of women.

Approximately 30% of the employees at Kamadjaja Logistics are female. This number is expected to rise, with an increase in the number of women leading units. The company offers mentorship programs, leadership training, and advocacy for gender equality policies to promote diversity and level the playing field.

"It also addresses bias in the decision-making process, thereby creating a more inclusive work environment," said Ivy.

In the logistics sector, Ivy believes collaboration and empathy are essential for building strong teams and navigating complex relationships with clients and partners. She also learned this from The Athena Doctrine, a book by John Gerzema and Michael D'Antonio.

"The Athena Doctrine study resonates with my experience and belief in the importance of diverse leadership styles. One of my lessons learned over the past 25 years is to lead with head, hand, and heart," Ivy said.

"A leadership approach that values these qualities fosters innovation, enhances employee satisfaction, and contributes to the business's overall success."

It also influences the strategic moves and teamwork needed to overcome the multifaceted challenges of operating a logistics business in an archipelagic country like Indonesia. Ivy explained how the business must navigate diverse geographic terrains, ranging from densely populated urban areas to remote islands.

"This necessitates a dynamic transportation strategy, incorporating a mix of sea, air, and land routes. Addressing infrastructure disparities between islands requires targeted investments in transportation networks and technology to ensure smooth operations. This cannot be achieved if the team does not work solidly," told Ivy.

Positive Influences of Studying in Australia

Ivy’s decision to pursue higher education in Australia was influenced by the country's educational institutions and their reputation for academic excellence. The multicultural society and welcoming environment for international students also played a significant role in making Australia an attractive destination for learning.

Furthermore, the fact that her elder brother pursued an education in Sydney made it easier for her to choose Sydney as her educational destination.

"I completed my Year 11 in Sydney and continued my foundation studies in New South Wales. After that, I spent my first year at the University of Wollongong before deciding to transfer back to Sydney to complete my second and final year at the University of Technology Sydney," explained Ivy, who graduated in 1996.

While studying abroad, she expanded her network by making friends from different countries. "During my early years, I also lived with a family friend who has been in Sydney for over 30 years. This experience helped me understand the culture and the food. I love pavlova, by the way," Ivy said.

"I believe that my five-year experience of studying and living in Sydney also has positively impacted my role as Deputy CEO of Kamadjaja Logistics. As an Australian alumnus, I consider the knowledge and experience I gained during my stay in Sydney essential to my personal growth and professional success,” she said.

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