At GE Haiphong – one of the seven GE Brilliant Factories in the world – local employees have been performing their tasks effectively and efficiently. This is a prime example to show the efficiency of combining international tech platforms with domestic resources.
Overcoming challenges through innovation
A normal working day for Dinh Huu Hoang, facility and maintenance manager of GE Renewable Energy Haiphong, usually begins with a meeting with the production team. This is the most efficient way to review the overall scope of work and provide effective solutions.
As line of defence for his department, Hoang tries his best to ensure that the machines and systems operate smoothly and achieve maximum efficiency. Before the pandemic, GE Haiphong’s maintenance team had received the help of foreign experts with some specific machines. However, amid travel restrictions, it has been challenging for these experts to come immediately, which meant Hoang and his team had to learn and find new solutions to operate machinery.
|A learning session at GE Haiphong |
As a highly digital facility, GE Haiphong has about 500 machines, many of which have been specially designed to customers’ exacting requirements. The facility changes its machinery system every 1-2 years to meet the needs of customers, only a third of the time it was before.
To adapt flexibly, the FM team is required to constantly adopt to new technology and come up with adaptive solutions that fit the context, according to Hoang. Tinkering by themselves, the Vietnamese team can grasp the operating principles of new machines. Instead of repairing, the FM Department focuses on incident prevention. Additionally, the team also promotes automation among all employees.
|Dinh Huu Hoang, facility & maintenance manager of GE Renewable Energy Haiphong |
“Innovation is at the core of GE’s operations, and this is what we talk about every day. The COVID-19 pandemic is an obstacle but also an opportunity for local employees to improve their skills, accelerate tech applications, and adapt to the Fourth Industrial Revolution trend. We use instruction videos to install machinery and then train Vietnamese staff to operate and maintain them. By actively updating technology during the operation, many initiatives have been brought up to redesign the system or create new systems to fit the production context,” Hoang shared.
Many innovative ideas proposed by the FM Department have further helped GE Renewable Energy Haiphong improve productivity and reduce costs, while also protecting the environment.
For example, in 2019, the FM Department collaborated with the IT team to successfully build a maintenance support software for GE Haiphong. Previously, the maintenance department did not have a data centre or operation management software, so they encountered many obstacles. After more than a year of researching and testing, the system operated smoothly, bringing many advantages to the facility.
In another case, when installing new equipment without the help of foreign experts, the technical team strives to research day and night to find new solutions, ensure production and, at the same time, save costs for the factory.
“For example, when the facility had to install a million-dollar grinder without foreign experts to help, we were really worried. However, thanks to the continuous learning, the technical team has successfully installed it. This job no longer needs the physical presence of a foreign expert,” Hoang explained.
“People often think that machines are a tedious job. But for us, each situation is different, not repetitive, and each task comes with its own challenges and solutions. In this environment, I am very proud to work with creative and innovative colleagues to bring value to the department as well as the plant,” he added.
Key to a seamless production
Employees’ initiative, creativity, and unwavering determination in difficult situations to maintain production at GE’s Haiphong plant are what makes the localisation and local capacity building strategy a success. Over the years, GE’s localisation strategy has proven very effective. Ultimately, GE does not only employ fully Vietnamese staff but also trains employees to GE’s global standards.
“Previously, I worked in production. The nature of that work was completely different from maintenance. Simply put, from requiring other departments to ensure smooth production, I’m now working as a production service provider specialised in machinery. This is a huge challenge. But at GE, a shift like this is not uncommon. All employees have the opportunity to try different positions and different challenges. GE empowers me to make decisions in this new area. It was not an easy task but with the help of my colleagues and personal efforts, I quickly adapted myself to the new job, ensuring production efficiency for the plant,” Hoang added.
Along with Hoang, his entire team is now able to control and manage the machines and assembly lines in the plant. Despite many challenges imposed by the pandemic, GE Haiphong is still able to launch new products. The plant ensures that exports of wind turbine components and mechanical products remained seamless to serve the global production of renewable energy.
According to Pham Hong Son, president of GE Vietnam, GE Haiphong significantly contributes to the overall success of GE and serves as a key example of combining international technology platforms with domestic resources.
“GE has given special attention to the Haiphong facility and our Vietnamese staff. The entire staff of GE Haiphong will be qualified and capable of controlling machines and assembly lines after proper training. This is the outcome of GE’s extensive training programme that focuses on uplifting a young and talented generation of workers,” said Son.