SABECO: Adjusting strategies to face the future head-on

January 04, 2022 | 09:55
Amid the pandemic and its devastating impact, numerous beverage businesses could not suffer any longer and were forced to withdraw from the market, while others remained strong and continued with the mission of recovering the economy fully as soon as possible.
SABECO: Adjusting strategies to face the future head-on
"Our solidarity is also powerful. Employees become more engaged and receive thoughtful attention from the company, which helps ensure safety, mental health, and job stability for employees. When they feel or see our care, they become even more closely connected as a big family." - Bennet Neo Chairman, SABECO

Bennet Neo, chairman of Saigon Beer-Alcohol-Beverage Company (SABECO), has made no staff cutbacks to reduce operational costs since the pandemic emerged at the start of 2020. “Hit by the pandemic, most businesses and employees were struggling with various difficulties. At SABECO, the biggest challenge was to ensure the health and safety of employees, while the second biggest was to maintain jobs and income for all of them,” Neo explained.

The company has not only covered all additional human resource expenses, but also offered additional bonuses to employees.

Looking at the wider world, global groups were forced to cut some labour to ensure profits in the short term, especially in tourism as well as the food and beverage (F&B) sector.

Meanwhile, other groups chose to cut some internal costs, spending only on essential activities and postponing some investments so they have more budget to support employees. SABECO is among those firms that consider its workers as part of the family and a treasure of the company.

“I consider the company a big family, including parents and children. Parents often make sacrifices for their children. During the course of a year and a half, I spent only two weeks visiting my family. Everyone has their own private troubles to worry about, but as a leader of a business, we usually promote positive thoughts and actions for employees to follow. If I maintain my motivation and a good working spirit, so do the company’s employees,” said Neo.

SABECO: Adjusting strategies to face the future head-on
SABECO was named among the Top 50 Listed Companies in the country in 2021 by Forbes Vietnam

Due to travel and freight restrictions, revenues of SABECO have been hit during the pandemic outbreak. Instead of supporting its subsidiaries only, the brewer has tried to distribute production output to all subsidiaries and affiliates in which it holds 10-20 per cent of shares to ensure revenues, jobs, and incomes of employees. It has been carefully monitoring cash flow, even extending payments for people to survive amid the current woes.

“Another challenge has been to help the people around us to leave no-one behind. We have not only been contributing to the economy but also benefiting from it. So we should help the community too,” Neo explained.

SABECO has donated to workers hit by the pandemic by providing ventilators, protective equipment, and essential items to 5,000 disadvantaged households as well as 600 F&B business households to share a part of their burdens, stabilising their business and helping them get ready to resume operations as soon as possible.

“It’s quite important that we can maintain our business operation, keep our employees safe, and help the surrounding community. That is also the reason why our campaigns all emphasise the spirit of growing together,” Neo said. “At this difficult time, our solidarity is also powerful. Employees become more engaged and receive thoughtful attention from the company, which helps ensure safety, mental health, and job stability for employees. When they feel or see our care, they become even more closely connected as a big family.”

He added that SABECO has also strengthened its internal communication activities, quickly updating employees on the situation and retaining their motivation.

With a new year now here, the SABECO chairman is looking forward in a positive manner, excited for what could be achieved after a tough couple of years for all.

“This is a time for me and the members of SABECO’s management team to re-evaluate a lot of things,” Neo said. “When taking over the company in the second half of 2018, we had a lot of plans. Our staff has been working non-stop ever since then, but the pandemic has also forced us to slow down our wider plans a bit. I think this is a good opportunity for the management team to review, re-evaluate, and adjust our strategy for the coming years.”

By Huong Thu

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