Mr. Hoang Cao Tri, Deputy CEO, Acecook Vietnam JSC 
Mr. Hoang Cao Tri, Deputy CEO, Acecook Vietnam JSC

Acecook Vietnam — a leading Southeast Asian food manufacturer with over 5,000 employees — exports its products to more than 40 countries around the world. The company is a client of Towers Watson's Ho Chi Minh City office. Mr. Tri has served as Acecook's Deputy CEO since 2001.

How do you differentiate Acecook's products from those of other players in the industry?

We consider our company to be one of the leading food companies in Vietnam. Our slogan, "Quality First," applies to not only our products but also our customer service and management system, as well as the capability of our staff.

What are some of the key business issues faced by your organization?

The challenge we face in Vietnam is a lack of government support, compared with state-owned enterprises, while the food industry is very competitive locally. Another major challenge is the shortage of skilled staff to meet our growth needs.

What's your strategy to address these business issues?

We have an innovative approach in the Vietnam food industry: We are using Japanese technical know-how to produce products suited to the local palate. We also focus on overseas markets aggressively. These strategies have resulted in rapid increases in our revenues in the last five years.

What are some of the key people-related challenges faced by food companies in Vietnam?

The availability of skilled technical staff is a challenge, as the food industry is still at a nascent stage in Vietnam. Also, Vietnam has a very small talent pool of middle managers — those with 10 to 15 years' experience — from which we can recruit.

What are some of the key trends in human capital management for your industry in Vietnam?

Given the shortage of talent locally, generally speaking, companies are thinking of new ways to attract, engage and retain employees.

How do you align Acecook's people strategy with the business strategy?

Our strategic approach is to recruit employees locally and develop them with on-the-job training and other job-related training. And we provide continuous learning and development opportunities, so they are up to date on the latest trends and new developments in technology. We also focus on employee communication. We keep employees updated about our achievements and targets, encouraging them to continually improve productivity. We want our staff to be proud to be employees of our company, as it is considered to be one of the leading food brands in Vietnam.

What strategies are you using to attract, engage and retain employees?

We get the right people to do the right job, and we create a professional environment in which they can develop. We also have a strong talent management program. And we provide benefits and career development opportunities that align with our employees' needs.

Are you planning changes to your people programs in order to maintain and strengthen your company's competitive edge in the marketplace?

Yes, we are planning to further enhance our employee learning and development programs. Furthermore, we are looking at transforming the organizational structure to align it with our business strategies. We hope this will help us drive growth.

Tell us a little about your personal interests. For example, what do you do to relax and recharge?

I love sports, and I enjoy listening to music and reading news at my leisure. Spending time with my family is the best way to relax and recharge.

What aspects of your career have been the most satisfying for you?

The most satisfying point in my career at Acecook was when our instant noodle brand reached number one status in the Vietnam market. I had set this as a long-term goal for the company 10 years ago when I started at Acecook. We finally reached this target by working together as a team. Our people — who are very important assets to our organization — made it possible.