In 1997, Tran Ba Duong started a small vehicle repair workshop in Bien Hoa City of the southern province of Dong Nai. To Thaco is now a large multi-field corporation in Southeast Asia, with smart factories assembling automobiles, and manufacturing mechanical accessories, said Thaco’s CEO Pham Van Tai at the recent Industry Innovation Forum 2022.

Another smart production model was cited at the forum by Pham Thi Ngoc Thuy of the office of the board for private economic development research (Board IV) - Samsung’s unmanned factory. The Korean group has about 60 such factories around the world.

Truong Ly Hoang Phi, president and CEO of IBP, said using technology to optimize production process has been used by Vietnamese enterprises for decades, but only a few can take full advantage of modern production, not only to promote efficiency but also create value and bring benefits to clients, workers, and tge environment.

Nguyen Anh Thi, head of the HCM City Hi-tech Zone Management Board, said that to build a self-reliant economy, the industrial sector has to make up at least 30 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). 

Under Vietnam's economic development strategy, the figure is 40 percent and the manufacturing and processing industry accounts for 30 percent.

The added value that Vietnam strives for by 2030 in the manufacturing industry is $2,000 per head. 

Vietnam lags behind in productivity. Enterprises can import technology, but they cannot import innovation.

Mai Huu Tin, president of U&I, said businesses will not successfully carry out transformation if they don’t have suitable human resources.

Looking at the output of Vietnam’s schools and institutes, businesses find it difficult to use the resources. Most graduates need additional training, or they are used in combination with specialists from developed countries.

“We believe that we are proficient, clever and eager to learn. But why cannot we renovate industry to increase the competitiveness of the economy?” Tin questioned.

“We can be proud if one day, we can see Vietnamese enterprises in the automobile industry take over foreign enterprises, like China’s Geely over Swedish Volvo, or China over British Jaguar Land Rover,” he said.

According to Tin, the world is moving toward more ‘brain’ rather than ‘muscle’. If Vietnam’s enterprises only focus on production, this means that they only gather strength on developing muscle. It is necessary to think of developing a ‘brain’ to be able to compete with developed countries.

“We have been doing production for a long time. But if we continue to neglect the links which can create bigger added value, we will fail, though we are very clever,” he commented.

Thuy of Board IV told VietNamNet that the survey that the board conducted and is going to submit to the Prime Minister shows that the level of awareness and understanding of enterprises about digital transformation remains low. 

She said the awareness of business owners is not good enough. Therefore, Board IV plans to run specific programs with focus on human resources, to create the same level of consciousness about digital transformation among key personnel of enterprises. 

After that, detailed solutions about production and business activities will be discussed. 

At this moment, if enterprises are too hasty to make investment and seek digitization solutions, they will fail rather than succeed.

Tran Chung