Juan vs. Goliaths
This is a story about how David beat Goliath, or in the case of Raul Anthony Concepcion (EMBA Manila 1), how Juan beat many Goliaths.
Raul Anthony, or “Ton” to friends and family, comes from a distinguished family of Filipino entrepreneurs. He is the third generation Concepcion to lead Concepcion Industries. His grandfather, Jose Concepcion, Sr. founded Concepcion Industries in 1962, and his father, Raul “Ronnie” Concepcion led the company after. These are big shoes to fill. And through his own acumen and achievements, he has more than proven that he could step up the plate.
When Concepcion was asked by the family to take over the refrigerator business of Concepcion Industries, it was 6th in market share, losing money, and struggling to stay afloat. The global refrigerator market is highly competitive with low profitability. Global appliance brands aggressively lower their prices to further gain market share. How did a local, family-owned business come out on top?
Concepcion plays a crucial balancing role in the family business. With the wisdom of Solomon and the patience of a Buddhist monk, he juggles the spirit of the entrepreneur, the heart of the family, and the discipline of a multinational corporation, and applies it to Concepcion Industries. He calls this concept the “Professional Family Entrepreneur Company.”
The best example of this theory in a real world application is the Condura Negosyo Ref–an ingenious feat of marketing and innovation that proved that a Filipino brand can be number 1 and that a local manufacturing company can compete globally.
Condura Negosyo Ref came to be through Concepcion’s consumer insights tours around the Philippines. He observed that households that have a refrigerator mostly use it for business or negosyo, and for households that do not have one, they rely on the sari-sari store as the ref ng bayan or community ref. Armed with these insights, he quickly went to work with the factory to develop a refrigerator specifically designed for negosyo. Despite charging a premium price over competitors, Condura Negosyo Ref became a hit and made Condura the No. 1 refrigerator brand and Concepcion Durables, Inc. the No. 1 refrigerator company in the Philippines.
Concepcion breaks down the “Secret Sauce” for Condura Negosyo Ref.
The Spirit of the Entrepreneur
Concepcion believes that being local is an advantage. No one knows Filipinos more than Filipinos, and therefore we are in a unique position to innovate for the Filipino. The Condura factory does not operate under a global “one size fits all” formula. Instead, the factory is flexible enough to work on smaller volumes so that it can truly be customized for the local market.
Heart of the Family
Concepcion also believes that being a family company is an advantage because they can take more risk with innovation and decide quickly, unlike their multinational counterparts with bureaucracy and slower decision-making process. There is also the element of owner involvement in the service of the Filipino consumer. After all, people are not just buying a refrigerator, they are also buying the Concepcion name.
Discipline of a Multinational Company
Concepcion stresses that all of these would not be possible if the processes, systems, and governance of a multinational corporation are not in place.
Concepcion makes sure that the founders’ pioneering spirit and drive remain in the blood of the organization, that family members involved in the business actively work in building relationships and valuing unity above everything else, and that the company must always aspire to be run with the same professional excellence as the best multinational companies.
This world-class professional excellence also manifests in Concepcion’s CSR efforts. An avid runner, Concepcion wanted to combine his love of running and the environment. Thus, the Condura Skyway Marathon was born.
At the time, in 2008, most races were organized by mom-and-pop outfits. The Condura Skyway Marathon, which he organized himself, elevated the marathon running industry by meeting world-class standards. 15,000 people participated that year and were able to run safely on Skyway with ambulance, mobile hospital, mobile clinics, hydration, portalets, security, bomb sniffing dogs, race marshals, and entertainment present. Concepcion received numerous accolades from local and international runners for such a well-organized event.
Today, the Condura Skyway Marathon has proven to be a powerful platform for raising awareness and generating funds to a wide audience that other NGOs have also used it for their causes.
Raul Anthony Concepcion, EMBA Manila 1 was conferred the AIM Alumni Achievement Award or Triple A in 2019. The Triple A Award is the highest recognition given by the Asian Institute of Management to its outstanding alumni. Concepcion was the first EMBA graduate to receive the Award.
By Jennifer Jalandoni, BMP 2013
Watch LEAD Talks with Ton Concepcion