Our last company visit started in the early morning. A one our coach drive took us to our last destination Jakob Rope Systems. At the entrance of the production plant the CEO and member of the founder family Peter Jakob warmly welcomed the project team and delegation to their facility. Jakob Rope Systems is an international Swiss company which was founded in 1904 and is currently active in more than 50 countries. Peter Jakob took us back in time where the company history started. After producing rope systems on a handmade basis, the company always strived to find a good mix between automatization and handmade production. Peter Jakob provided us with very interesting insights into projects where the ropes currently are or were utilized in the past. Industries like zoo, suicide prevention, greening of buildings and many other areas are booming the last couple of years, especially in Vietnam. This is the reason why the management of Jakob Rope System decided to move out of their old production plant in order to have more capacity to grow in the future. After a very interesting morning at the facility of Jakob Rope Systems, Peter Jakob invited us for lunch at a marvelous golf resort close to the production plant. In the afternoon Peter Jakob offered us the opportunity to visit their new plant which is still under construction. It was very interesting to see how the modern architecture in Vietnam looks like and how their own products are used to improve energy efficiency. The use of renewable energy such as solar panels will allow the company to produce energy in a more sustainable way. With the use of the solar panels, Jakob Rope System will be able to cover more than 100% of the energy which is needed from a production point of view. After a very interesting day full of valuable insights, the project delegation made its way back to the hotel to explore Ho Chi Minh City further by night.
Today we met early in the morning to fly to our last destination of the onsite seminar. After a two-hour flight we arrived in hot and vibrant Ho Chi Minh City. We had a short break at the hotel to check in and rest or explore the city before we travelled to the KOTO cooking class restaurant. KOTO is a non profit organisation founded by an Australian with the purpose to help at-risk and disadvantaged youth in Vietnam through hospitality training programmes. We were warmly welcomed by the KOTO team and had a short introduction on what they are doing. Then, we visited a local market where a chef from the KOTO team showed us some local products. Afterwards, the cooking class started. Our goal was to prepare and cook three local dishes form the north of Vietnam. First, we prepared fresh spring rolls with pork and prawn which were quite tricky to roll perfectly. The next dish was a fresh papaya salad with spicy beef jerky. At last, we marinated pork with fragrant herbs and spices which was served with noodles and a dipping sauce. To have the chance to cook this menu at home, the delegation received a recipe book with detailed descriptions. Overall, we were provided with interesting insights into the Vietnamese cuisine and useful cooking tips. After eating our delicious self-cooked meals, we went back to the hotel full and happy.
After the free weekend, on which the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi, could be explored, the company visits started again on Monday, April 8th. In the morning we were welcomed by ABB Vietnam. The company presentation gave us an insight into the 26 years lasting history of the technology company with locations in Bac Ninh, Da Nang, Hanoi & HCMC. They also shared their future forecasts & expectations regarding industry 4.0 & digitization of the Vietnamese market. ABB is entering into various partnerships to exploit synergies. These include among others Microsoft and IBM. The tour continued with a visit of three different production lines of high voltage components. After lunch in the ABB canteen we drove with our car back to Hanoi to the renowned Foreign Trade University (FTU), where we were welcomed by the International Business Club. The students presented facts about the ASEAN marketplace and the history of the university founded in 1960 and their business club. We were also introduced to the political and economic situation in Vietnam and its educational system. Finally, we were presented with their views on the opportunities for market entry in Vietnam and the opportunities when doing business in Vietnam. After the exciting presentations we discussed the different topics intensively. In the evening at the hotel our project team organized a surprise for our on-site manager Kevin to celebrate his birthday together with him. There was Vietnamese chicken rice cake and cold beer.