2 explore 2 Swiss SME’s in Vietnam; Jakob Saigon Ltd and Fontina Viet Nam

The exploreASEAN delegation with Mr Loi and Mr Tran in the production halls of Jakob Saigon Ltd.

Ho Chi Minh City, 20 of April 2017

Mr Peter Jakob’s first encounter with the Asian culture was on a bicycle-trip in Vietnam, where he saw how skillfully the locals were handling their tools. That was the moment that convinced Mr Peter Jakob to fabricate his company’s products, web net applications for bridges, cliffs, zoos and construction in Vietnam. This vision then became reality in 2008, when Jakob Saigon LTD started its production in the newly established factory in Ho Chi Minh City in the Vietnam – Singapore Industrial Park. After our arrival, Mr Loi introduced the company and its products to the exploreASEAN delegation.

Learning about the 23 apprenticeships offered by Jakob Saigon LTD in collaboration with the Vietnamese-Singapore Vocational College was another learning the students encountered. By signing such apprenticeship contract, the Vietnamese students get the chance to work for up to 3 months for Jakob Saigon Ltd. gaining essential professional experience. Later during the company presentation, it became clear how much Jakob Saigon LTD does in favor of keeping up a good relationship to its employees, this was especially remarkable when seeing how many celebrations are organized for the employees. “Through inviting 68 employees from Switzerland to Vietnam once in a while, it is planned to strengthen the bond with the 370 Vietnamese employees in Ho Chi Minh City”, Loi pointed out.

During the guided tour through the production facilities, it was explained that Swiss quality is ensured by strict quality controls. The responsible employees were trained by Swiss counterparts which is as well - according to Mr Loi - the strength of Jakob Rope Systems compared to their competitors. Another asset are the customized web net applications that the customers can personalize to fit their specific requirements in combination with Swiss expert consultation. However, this leads to the challenge of producing every single product on demand rather than building up stocks.

The second company visit of the same day led the explorers to Fontina Viet Nam in Ho Chi Minh City which produces handmade pottery such as vases and decorations for outdoor surroundings. Mr Claudius Rüegsegger and his approximately 100 employees design, decorate and ultimately ship the products with Swiss quality standards.

 “Vietnam is the best place for producing pottery products because the Chinese workers brought this technique into Vietnam. Then, the Vietnamese people adapted it and carried it on until today.” This makes the Vietnamese very skilled workers for pottery production”, Rüegsegger states. Another advantage of Ho Chi Minh City are the abundant natural resources that are locally available to produce the pottery, thus decreasing the final price significantly. Eventually, he praised the Vietnamese employees for being solution-oriented, dynamic and fast learners; “when new trends emerge, they are able to adapt quickly”, Rüegsegger pointed out. Yet, there are also certain disadvantages challenging workaday operations such as difficulties in communication and the HR-qualifications which are suboptimal for doing business in Vietnam. Discover what our delegation has learned and experienced with our onsite blog and don`t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and LinkedIn to learn more about exploreASEAN!

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