By: Kathryn Gerardino-Elagio
Rockwell Automation has been present in Vietnam since 2007. As a key area of strategic growth, the country is an important market for the company in South East Asia, contributing significantly to its business across Asia and worldwide. In March 2022, Rockwell Automation has appointed Pham Kieu Trinh, as Country Manager effective immediately. She is responsible for the company's business operations and direct sales in the country.
Every new country manager always seems to have turnaround plans for a company, and Pham Kieu Trinh is no exception. She has a clear plan on how to develop the company's presence in Vietnam and achieve double digit growth rates, increasing market share by two-fold in 2025.
A month into the job, International Metalworking News for Asia (IMNA) conducted an online interview with Trinh. Here are the excerpts:
IMNA: As the new Country Manager for Vietnam, which markets will you focus on, and why?
Pham Kieu Trinh: As the Country Manager for Vietnam, I look forward to developing our business across several sectors, including oil and gas, health, food and beverage and personal care. Key focus areas are strengthening our capabilities and improving sales by developing our distributor and partner ecosystems, and meeting customer needs with our digital transformation and industrial automation products and services.
Demand for digitisation and automation is growing in Vietnam as the country aims to be among the top ASEAN economies in industrial competitiveness. We aim to meet this demand, leveraging our extensive experience in providing automation and digital solutions to businesses across sectors. We remain committed to helping manufacturers adopt new technologies and support the transformation of smart manufacturing in Vietnam.
IMNA: In your profile, it says that you have also handled not just Vietnam but also Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand, have you noticed any changes in the expectations and demands of customers in recent years?
Pham Kieu Trinh: There is growing demand for industrial automation in South East Asia. The region’s industrial automation and process control market is expected to reach US$4.97 billion by 2025. We are also seeing growing adoption in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand, driven predominately by government initiatives to transform the country's manufacturing capabilities.
For example, last year, Thailand approved measures giving eligible companies a three-year corporate income tax exemption covering all their investment for Industry 4.0 upgrades, to encourage them to speed up their digital technology and automation adoptions to promote Industry 4.0 transformation.
Such supportive initiatives have helped businesses adopt automation and accelerate digital transformation.
Businesses are also recognising the immense benefits automation and digital solutions offer, especially since the start of the pandemic, and the critical need to adopt them in order to gain a competitive advantage both locally and internationally.
IMNA: How important is the Vietnam market for Rockwell Automation?
Pham Kieu Trinh: Global businesses are seeking to reduce dependency on a single country and increase the connectivity of their supply chains. Vietnam has become a top destination for investments in manufacturing due to its strategic location and advantages in shipping, competitive labor, and production costs.
According to Vietnam’s Foreign Investment Agency (FIA), foreign investors pledged US$31.15 billion into Vietnam in 2021, up 9.2 percent year-over-year. The manufacturing and processing sector attracted the most foreign direct investments with a total capital of over US$18.1 billion, or 58.2 percent.
This boom in the manufacturing and industrial sectors makes Vietnam a critical market for us in South East Asia, which is a key area of strategic growth, contributing significantly to our business across Asia and worldwide.
IMNA: With an emphasis on Industry 4.0 and localising the supply chain, how will you take Rockwell Automation from where it is, to where the company wants it to be?
Pham Kieu Trinh: We are working towards boosting our sales performance by 40% in Southern Vietnam and by 30% in Northern Vietnam this year. By 2025, we aim to achieve double digit growth rates and increase our market share by two-fold. We also plan to expand our Vietnam team by 50% by the end of this year.
We will plan to achieve this by focusing on offering a wide range of manufacturing and automation products and solutions through our two distributors, more than 30 system integrators and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partners.
IMNA: How will the future of automation be in Vietnam, and what are some predictions you can make?
Pham Kieu Trinh: Vietnam is transforming into a global manufacturing hub. Automation in manufacturing is something that most business leaders are exploring, as they consider it critical to their operations and competitiveness.
The government’s industrial policy highlights that by 2030, the industrial sector will make up over 40% of the gross domestic product (GDP), in which manufacturing and processing industries will account for 30%. Our competitiveness industrial performance index will be among the top three ASEAN countries.
While Vietnam seems to be on track to achieve these goals, more needs to be done if the country wants to remain competitive in the future, especially with the rise of Industry 4.0. Accelerated adoption of automation and advanced technology across sectors will play a key role in achieving these ambitions.
As for Rockwell, we are dedicated to investing in continually educating and training our partners and customers to be able to adopt these technologies and enjoy the benefits of sustainability and increased profits in the long run.