Welcome to a Question and Answer Blog with our South-East Asia Regional Manager, Harley van Schalkwyk. The session discusses pivotal points in the operation of the Vietnamese manufacturing market, alongside a critical insight in the Vietnamese industry. Harley discussed all things living and working – take a look!

Q&A Video With Harley van Schalkwyk

What are three words you would use to describe living in Vietnam?

Practical – Stimulating – Affordable

What has your experience been like doing business in Vietnam?

It has been very exciting dealing with Vietnamese businesses, they are eager to work with customers and show a hunger to compete with the global manufacturing leaders in their respective fields of production. It has also been surprising in some ways to see how advanced, competent, and competitive some of the industries in Vietnam are.

What are the most common challenges you have experienced in doing business in Vietnam?

The language barrier has been the biggest challenge. To overcome this, GSS has hired a full-time translator for our Vietnam office. This has resulted in an improved understanding of requirements and fewer re-works, as all parties are on the same page. Another challenge is finding factories around the country. Most of the large suppliers are online, but I have had to drive around to find those smaller suppliers who can manufacture certain products at very competitive prices.

What are the differences in doing business in Australia vs. Vietnam?

Cultural differences play a significant role. There are certain etiquettes and ways of speaking and negotiating in Vietnam that I have not experienced in Western Cultures. I would not consider this a problem, but it certainly is noticeable. I have also found that it takes a lot of vetting to find the right suppliers in Vietnam. Some suppliers are inclined to overpromise, which results in disappointing outcomes. It is difficult for people who are new to doing business in Vietnam to sift through these sorts of factories. After all, it is a developing country, and all businesses are eager for international orders.

What do you see as the biggest benefits of manufacturing in Vietnam?

There are many benefits of manufacturing in Vietnam, including:

  • Vietnam has a positive image with many countries around the world. Products that wear the “Made in Vietnam” badge may be perceived favourably by consumers.
  • Labour costs are low and FDI is high in Vietnam, which means that products can be made more competitively whilst still maintaining high quality.
  • The manufacturing industry in Vietnam is on the rise. There are an increasing number of component and competitive manufacturers in the game.

What is the best way to find manufacturers in Vietnam?

The ideal way into the Vietnamese market is by working with a company like GSS, which has already established a network of manufacturers, and who has spent time building up relationships and rapport with factories. It can be a lengthy process to vet factories and find people that you can trust and work with. It is best to be on the ground and to research areas/zones that manufacturers are situated in, then take a drive out to meet these potential suppliers.

What are the strengths of the current GSS Vietnam supply partners?

Our suppliers have been well-vetted, and we have gone through extensive sampling for a range of products. So far in Vietnam, we have strong partners in machined parts, plastic injection moulding, galvanizing and zinc plating, steel fabrication, die casting, forging and extrusions. GSS ensures that we are 100% certain of our supplier’s capabilities before we share our customers’ products with them.

How do GSS Australia and Vietnam work together?

GSS is a very close-knit team of professionals; having some team members in Vietnam does not change this feeling or work ethic. I am always on calls to the team in Australia, and we are connected and linked into communication lines with customers and suppliers as if we all were in the same office. We also have an internal app that allows any individual in the team to jump into any order or customer file to update documents/designs or find out information that we need to progress our respective projects.

For more information on GSS in Vietnam, click on the ‘Contact Us’ button below.