Viet Nam News
With fast-rising technological advancements, Vietnamese companies are encountering strong competition in both domestic and international markets. Chief Executive Officer of Bee Logistics Corporation speaks to Việt Nam News reporter Nguyễn Hoàng Sơn about what Vietnamese firms need to do to tackle arising challenges.
How do you evaluate the quality of the investment environment in Viet Nam and the Government’s support for the local business community?
The country’s investment environment is improving in all aspects, shown by the curbing of procedures in customs and taxation as well as development policies. For the logistics sector, the Government in February 2017 issued Decision 200 to improve the quality of the sector by providing a future orientation for all Vietnamese logistics firm and planning for the network of local logistics centres.
As a business that offers general logistics services to both domestic and international customers, I think the business environment has improved and allowed local firms to get more access to bank loans. Access to bank loans used to be a burden for local companies, but as they (local firms) have done well to improve their corporate governance and transparency, they have gained both credit and assistance from financial institutions.
The Government has done well to prove its determination to improve Việt Nam’s business conditions, however, in some sectors and within local authorities, local companies are not considered the central driving factor of the economy while local authorities often take firms for granted and don’t do their best to support companies. Such difficulties have de-motivated Vietnamese entrepreneurs.
For example, local authorities often see businesses as profit-making units and cannot tell good businesses from bad ones, so their decisions on the local business community are sometimes subjective. So I hope in the future, the impacts of the Government’s efforts in administrative reforms, especially the e-Government system, will help reduce those challenges and improve the quality of law enforcement so that the local business community can be recognized for their contributions to creating jobs, making payments to the State budget and assisting the Vietnamese business community to develop further.
How do Industry 4.0 and modern technologies help Vietnamese companies improve their performances?
The logistics sector is a highly interactive and internationally competitive industry, so technology is one of the decisive factors that helps us develop in a sustainable way. Our company has developed our own software programmes learning from foreign programmers’ ideas. We have our own technical team that is capable of producing customized software programmes so that we can create better products and services and make tighter connection with clients.
We aim to create a system that specializes in each specific stage, in which information between the company and customers is exchanged consistently and instantly. From the perspective of a nation, if each industry focuses on its technological development, it will benefit the country’s economy in the long term.
For example, the logistics and seaport sectors are able to develop their own technologies and software programmes, and if the Vietnamese Government encourages local firms to work together, then the production chain may be carried out efficiently and quickly via mobile applications. Among our neighbouring countries, Singapore is planning to construct an automated seaport in 2025 that is able to do every step of the operation chain automatically.
So I hope the Government will hasten the development of Viet Nam’s supply chain so that we can minimize the time and costs, making the Vietnamese economy able to grow more efficiently and faster than expected. The Vietnamese, among other ASEAN nations, are a competent, smart and hard-working nation, so if the Government is able to push other resources like technology then we will rise among the other regional economies in 10-15 years.
What do you think about the competitiveness of Vietnamese companies compared with foreign ones in both domestic and international markets?
From the beginning, we aimed to make our company expand to regional and international markets and that has persisted with our vision since our establishment. I’m confident that if we make good connections between labour and systems, then we can prove our value to foreign partners and competitors. At first, our company was often underestimated by foreign firms, who were both partners and competitors. But after we proved our ability, they have shown us more respect.
After 14 years of operation, I see Vietnamese companies aren’t weak at all. The main problem is sometimes Vietnamese companies don’t have enough mental strength and determination to strive, plus, they are often distracted from their own core businesses by making investments in a variety of sectors and not optimizing their resources. Our method is to focus on logistics only, learn from our partners and competitors and try to find the way to surpass them.
The Vietnamese business community is capable of doing great things and what we are lacking is technology, which can be either purchased or developed and shared among each other. We are willing to share our software programmes with other logistics firms. What Vietnamese businesses need is confidence, determination and the preparation of resources and knowledge, then comes decision-making. I believe that each successful company will drive the whole sector, and each successful sector will drive the whole economy. – VNS