Japan's volunteer programme helps develop SMEs

Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 16:52

Aoyagi Yutaka, one of the Japanese senior volunteers in Viet Nam, talked about the differences between Vietnamese and Japanese firms at the workshop. — VNS Photo Lan Dung

HA NOI (Biz Hub) – Japan's Senior Volunteer Programme has been remarkably successful with Viet Nam's small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the past three years.

This was announced by the Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Dang Huy Dong.

Speaking at a workshop to summarise its activities in the 2010-13 period in Ha Noi on February 20, Dong said there were 354 improvements at 84 enterprises, which resulted in the programme reaching 150 per cent of its initial objectives.

"Innovations in management methods have helped the firms cut down production costs and improve the productivity and quality of products," he remarked.

He added that "The Technical Assistance Centre for SMEs in Hanoi (TAC Hanoi) under the ministry' s Agency for SMEs Development will maintain a network to connect organisations and Japanese senior volunteers with local businesses in need, especially the ones in the ancillary industry."

Dong also noted that the government is amending and adjusting policies to develop ancillary industries, create a favourable business environment for enterprises and allow them to adopt advanced technology.

The programme was started on June 2010 under the framework of Viet Nam-Japan development cooperation with the objectives of enhancing product quality and ensuring the stable growth of Vietnamese ancillary industrial enterprises.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has cooperated with the Agency for SMEs Development to bring Japanese experts with a number of years of experience to Viet Nam. According to Akira Shimizu, a senior representative of JICA Vietnam, the volunteers not only have a great deal of experience in operating and developing factories in various fields, such as mechanics and metal processing, but are also specialists in quality management and production enhancement.

Also, four employees from TAC Hanoi and 19 labourers of Vietnamese local enterprises attended a training course on management in Kitakyushu City in Japan during the three-year period.

Until the end of 2013, 199 enterprises, mostly in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City, received support from Japanese senior volunteers, and 857 improvements were made. Hai Long Production and Trading Co., Ltd. in Ha Noi City's Thuong Tin District was one of the firms that was taught Japan's 3S/5S management methods under the scheme. These management methods include Seiri (sorting), Seiton (setting in order), Seiso (cleanliness) and Seiketsu (standardisation). Shitsuke (sustaining) is also one of the management methods.

Vice Director Nguyen Viet Hai said that thanks to Gono Koji, the implementation of 5S has brought innumerable benefits for the company. "Without 5S, we could not have arranged for and transported such a large number of products so quickly. The cost of its implementation is not great if all the workers are aware of its advantages," he added.

Attending the workshop, Aoyagi Yutaka, one of the Japanese senior volunteers in Viet Nam, talked about the differences between Vietnamese and Japanese firms. For example, he noted that the management systems at factories in Vietnam are only known to the manager, but in Japan, everyone knows about it.

However, Yutaka remarked that entrepreneurs and managers in Viet Nam are all young, enthusiastic and hard-working, which is different from the aging Japanese workforce. "The Vietnamese market is developing, while it is saturated in Japan. Therefore, I hope that the local enterprises will go further in the future," he stated. — VNS

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