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|David Liden, trade commissioner as well as country manager of Business Sweden|
How can you assess the digital transformation process among manufacturers in Vietnam?
Connectivity is the key. The application of digital technology, the information revolution, and digitalisation is basically a new form of Industry 4.0. We utilised machinery to replace our muscles and now we are trying to unload our highly busy brains with digital solutions.
Exactly what will make sense for each firm in Vietnam is impossible to determine and so companies need to explore it themselves. On the governmental side, it is necessary to promote mutual learning and collaboration between Vietnamese enterprises and partners who have previously gone through the path while incentivising this counter-investment.
How can manufacturers achieve success in the transformation towards smart factories?
Identifying actual needs is one of the main success elements for digital transformation. A major issue that arises while discussing digitalisation is that many businesses immediately adopt the latest and most innovative technology.
However, to be truly effective with the change, it is often necessary to demonstrate that the transition is proceeding in the proper direction. Look at what has been working before, and what partners you could access in this transformation journey, and jointly identify where the intersection is between our business needs and the technology available.
From a societal perspective, it’s important to keep in mind that there are many different factors here. This automation path can be undertaken for cost-saving purposes, but it is not always all you should consider. I believe that one factor that is frequently overlooked when discussing automation and smart manufacturing is the quality aspect and the capacity for intelligent control.
Because there are many parallels between Sweden and Vietnam, I am always comparing the two countries. We are powerful nations, yet we are still relatively little in our own territories. We must be transparent and collaborate. We require data flow and contact with several overseas partners. Connectivity, collaboration on a global scale, and a willingness to take calculated risks to push the status quo gradually into the future pose formidable challenges to the status quo, as the transformation will inevitably result in the disappearance of something.
To promote foreign business and investment, as well as innovation activities in developing smart factories, what should the Vietnamese government focus on?
There will likely be a great deal of competition here. I believe it is essential that the government facilitates development in this region, including investment and the establishment of manufacturing facilities, by offering tax incentives and other incentives for special zones, and then incorporating this into infrastructure planning.
In the past, we have collaborated on grid management. When you have a rapidly expanding economy, particularly with foreign direct investment in manufacturing, you must have a comprehensive plan for this problem. I believe it is essential to foster cooperation, making it simple to collaborate with foreign partners. The Vietnamese government would do well to prioritise this issue.
In Sweden, Stockholm is usually lauded as the second most innovative city after Silicon Valley when it comes to tech startups. I think the combination of an open approach where you can come and establish a company quite easily, and access a strong educational system, is something Vietnam and the government need to focus on.