Professsor Phan Văn Tường, talks to the newspaper Thời báo Kinh tế Việt nam (Việt Nam Economic Times) about the importance of good time management in running a business
What are the weakest points in the management work within many Vietnamese enterprises?
I have been living and working in Việt Nam for many years, so I should say that many major Vietnamese enterprises have performed quite well in their management activities. These achievements have been acknowledged by foreign enterprises.
The most noticeable achievement is that the young Vietnamese labour force has been well trained, and they have worked very hard, on the other hand, a number of enterprises have been rated average in their management activities. In my opinion, such a weakness is attributed to the misunderstanding of the concepts “administration and management”.
In my own opinion, the weakest point lies within their poor time management skills. As a result, the working timetable of key figures in companies has been subjected to changes quite often, and the performance efficiency of the workers is reduced. This has a negative impact on the working environment in their enterprises.
In short, I should say, the time management skills of Vietnamese enterprises versus their foreign peers in developed countries remain unbalanced.
While many Vietnamese financial managers have been highly regarded world wide, a number of Vietnamese enterprises have faced high financial risks in their business, particularly in joint ventured projects.
Technically speaking, many Vietnamese companies possess a good contingent of skilled workers, but, I’m sorry to say, some of them have not been properly utilised, particularly in the agriculture field.
Up to 70 percent of the Vietnamese population is engaged in agricultural activities, and more specifically, many of them are capable of engaging in hi-tech agriculture. In reality, however, clean agricultural products are generally too expensive for many Vietnamese customers. So in my opinion, this is good food for thought for the future development of the Vietnamese agriculture industry.
What are the challenges Vietnamese enterprises have faced in their sustainable development?
I should say that the concept of sustainable development has not yet been properly exploited by Vietnamese enterprises.
Sustainable development does not mean that annual revenue growth must be increased year on year. Production sustainability is not simply measured by a number, but by the sustainability of the enterprises, including the skills of their workers, the management board and the application of advanced technology.
What are the challenges Vietnamese enterprises have been facing in their efforts to improve their labour productivities?
I agree that labour productivity in Việt Nam at present remains low, but a very important attributor to that situation is the improper use of man power in many enterprises, particularly those in industrial parks.
It is undeniable that many workers in industrial parks don’t have the required labour skills, as they generally come from the countryside. These people are good at farming, and now they have given up their farm work for jobs in industrial parks. This is one of the reasons that the efficiency of our national economy is going down on a slope.
Do you have any comments on the movement of Vietnamese entrepreneurs to foreign countries?
This issue relates to the environment of start-ups and businesses, as many people think that startups are just a product in the market. In reality, products may not be the key factor; rather the environment is an agent promoting the development of the startup. For example, it isn’t easy for a startup to establish itself in France due to the cumbersome paper work requirements, but the start up environment is something quite different in the US. This is why so many business people have migrated to live and work in the US.
Is the startup environment in Việt Nam lucrative enough to attract people to open their own business?
I should say that the Government has recently issued many policies to support startup enterprises. As a result, people are building startups nationwide. This is a success for us already. If the business environment is lucrative, and startup businesses excel themselves and become big companies, then in the next 20 years Việt Nam will become a prosperous nation.
I want to come up with two proposals to make the startup movement favourable. First, to open a space for all universities to offer conditions for the development of startups, including office space and finance. Second, each TV station nation-wide should reserve one or two hours (free of charge) in a week for a startup to promote their activities. This is a good occasion for startups to tell TV viewers about their products and to encourage new startups to join the movement. _VNS