22:06 (GMT +7) - Thursday 05/12/2019

Enterprises

Quality, service & innovation

Released at: 15:36, 09/04/2019 Vietnam golden dragon awards & Vietnam Excellent Brand Awards 2019

Quality, service & innovation

Photo: VET Magazine

Mr. Anup Kumar Dave, General Director of Kirby Southeast Asia, tells VET about the company’s business performance last year and its commitment to excellence in Vietnam’s steel industry.

2018 was seen as a tough year for Vietnam’s steel industry, given the US-China trade war. Did this have any effect on Vietnam’s pre-engineered steel producers?

There was an issue with steel price and availability of steel for our Pre-Engineered Steel Buildings sector. With the trade war, steel prices became more volatile and the availability of steel from South Korean and Japanese mills was severely impacted. We have many customers who prefer steel from South Korea or Japan, so we had a difficult time meeting their requirements.

Some industry insiders believe import tariffs do not significantly disrupt downstream steel manufacturers, as they use finished steel products. How would you comment on the state of Vietnam’s pre-engineered steel industry over the last year?
Import tariffs and anti-dumping measures on steel products certainly disrupt the industry significantly. The price of local materials is 10-20 per cent higher than imported finished products in cold rolled coils. This makes local fabricators less competitive in the domestic market and manufacturers tend to use second-grade materials to win projects. The result is an overall deterioration in the quality of buildings supplied in Vietnam.

The pre-engineered steel building market remained flat in 2018 and 2019 is already looking similar. Supply and demand are significantly out of balance. Capacity is 120 per cent higher than demand at the moment but we still see capacity increasing every year, which simply widens the gap between supply and demand.

► What can you tell us about Kirby Vietnam’s business performance and projects in 2018 and what have been among the most prominent achievements in its ten years in Vietnam?

Kirby Vietnam has grown significantly in the last ten years. Growth in 2018 was consistent. We completed major steel mill and textile projects in Vietnam and a prestigious airport project in the Philippines, which was warmly received by local authorities and visitors.

► To achieve its success, what criteria and principles does Kirby operate under? What factors give the company its competitive edge and show that its products and solutions are favored among local partners and consumers?

Kirby stands for quality, service, and innovation. We follow a system called ACES, which stands for Automation, Cultural Connection, Efficiency in all processes, and Sharing success among all and increasing engagement. We spend significant time, energy, and resources on ensuring that ACES results in superior product quality at a reasonable price. Our products are in line with the latest engineering codes suitable for specific regional requirements. The number of return customers is testimony to this effort. Our customers recognize our technical competence and ability to deliver complex projects in line with their expectations, so they consistently choose to work with us.

► What advanced technologies has Kirby applied recently to improve manufacturing efficiency, quality control, and costs?

We drive an operations excellence program as part of our group culture. We also identify and implement processes and systems that make us a force to be reckoned with in the region. We have implemented several modern processes and installed equipment that help us improve accuracy in manufacturing.

► What are your thoughts on Vietnam’s business climate and the impact of the country joining the CPTPP and signing more FTAs?

The CPTPP and FTAs will certainly help Vietnam attract investment and this will help our business, as more and more investors will expand existing facilities and set up greenfield projects to harness opportunities provided by these agreements.

► What challenges does Kirby face in doing business in Dong Nai province in particular and in Vietnam in general?

We primarily have two challenges. The first is the availability of skilled workers. There is an acute shortage of skilled welders, fitters and electricians, for example, and there is a very high employee turnover rate as a result that frequently disrupts our business. The second is workplace efficiency. Since employees have not been exposed to an industrial environment in a developed country, their outlook is narrow and they are unwilling to accept better ways of doing their job. There is a strong need to set up skills development centers operated by world-class companies.

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