Asked about his core values, Syaugi Mohdar refers to one virtue: endurance. “You never give up, no matter how tough it gets, no matter how isolated you feel, no matter how hard you’ve fallen down. You just keep pushing. You never stop believing that anything anybody else can do, you can do better.”

Given his unrelenting drive and unshakeable self-belief, it’s not particularly surprising Syaugi went from accepting an entry-level (managerial) job for a large company to owning it in less than a decade. “After finishing my MBA studies in Australia in 2007, I accepted a role as a production planning control supervisor at Citramas. From there, I became the company’s marketing manager and then its president director. In 2016, I purchased a controlling stake in the business in order to have a freer hand to implement my vision.”

Citramas, one of Indonesia's largest ISO-certified fabricators

Citramas started out as a relatively small company supplying ducting for air-conditioners. It then expanded into construction, engineering and fabrication, particularly steel fabrication. It’s now one of the largest ISO-certified fabricators in Indonesia, with major resource, power generation and telecommunication clients.

Syaugi Mohdar President Director of Citramas Heavy Industries

A business that once produced domestic ducting now creates everything from vertiginous transmission towers to giant oil storage tanks. But the success of Syaugi and the business he now controls was by no means predestined. Heavy industry has found itself increasingly out of favour and subject to stringent environmental regulation. Also, Indonesia has been regularly impacted by shocks such as the global financial crisis.

Syaugi Mohdar looks after his staff, suppliers & customers

Nonetheless, the unflappable Syaugi has always believed that by looking after his staff, suppliers and customers, he will ultimately prevail. “I measure the success of the business by how satisfied the staff are and how long I retain them,” he says.

“The Citramas philosophy is, ‘The company looks after the employees and the employees look after the company.’ That’s not always a simple matter given that staff are understandably focused on their part of the business rather than taking a global view, but that’s why those in leadership positions need to be effective communicators. I’ve got a workforce of over 700 now. Forty per cent of them are being supported while they complete graduate degrees. All of them come to a workplace that is as safe and healthy as I can make it.”

I measure the success of the business by how satisfied the staff are and how long I retain them.

Likewise, Syaugi goes the extra mile for his suppliers and customers. “We treat our suppliers as partners and make sure they are satisfied with us and not just vice versa,” he says. “Even if it means disrupting our plans and schedule, the first priority is always meeting the customers’ expectations. We always aim to deliver a top-quality product, with zero defects, on deadline.”

Syaugi puts in long hours to keep all his stakeholders happy. “I dedicate my weekends to family, friends and religious events,” he says. “But I work around the clock on weekdays and usually ignore public holidays if they fall during the working week.”

Syaugi's plans for the future of Citramas

Syaugi has done what he can to make his operation more eco-friendly through initiatives including buying the latest technology and investing in R&D to construct less-polluting machinery. He also accepts that the carbon emission-conscious, technologically advanced, developed world is likely to be a shrinking market for his company’s wares.

Syaugi being Syaugi, he’s not letting that stand in the way of his plans to grow Citramas into one of the world’s largest producers of steel structures. “Some would say that a lot of what Citramas does is now redundant, especially in the first-world countries. Possibly so, but that still leaves plenty of opportunities in the developing countries. I believe the possibilities there are endless.”