They said at a recent roundtable discussion and workshop that keeping up with the latest trends and technologies was imperative for the economy to remain relevant and competitive.
Organised by Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Embassy of Sweden and Business Sweden –the Swedish Trade and Investment Council, the event aimed to strengthen collaboration between the two countries by sharing experiences and practices on technological innovations.
Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam Pereric Hogberg said that trade and investment between the two countries had been growing steadily, but there was room for further increase.
The challenges that Vietnam faces in ensuring sustainable manufacturing and establishing itself as a global hub can be met effectively with expertise and solutions from Swedish companies, he said.
Innovation was an important factor in Sweden’s success, he added, noting that the country was ranked second in the Global Innovation Index.
Deputy Director General of the Vietnam Industry Agency under Ministry of Industry and Trade, Pham Anh Tuan, said that with the orientation towards industrialisation as the core economic momentum, manufacturing was receiving significant attention from both the Government and private sector.
Over the past few years, Vietnam has seen a fast growing food and beverage manufacturing sector. Electronics and automotive components manufacturing were also growing quickly, fueled by major companies like Samsung moving their manufacturing and assembly operations to Vietnam, he said.
“However, in order to stay competitive and relevant, Vietnam needs to keep up with the latest trends and technologies in manufacturing,” he added.
Tuan said that Sweden was considered one of the most sustainable and innovative countries in the world and its companies had a long history of providing world-class manufacturing solutions within assembly tools, packing equipment, automation, digitalisation and information technology.
Sweden is seen as one of the leading nations in applying Industry 4.0.
Brian Hull, general director of ABB Vietnam, said that Industry 4.0 did not mean the removal of all existing manufacturing infrastructure and building something new.
The matter is to upgrade and improve existing ones, to keep innovating to increase efficiency, productivity and sustainability, according to Hull.
"No single company can adapt to Industry 4.0 alone; it requires co-operative work," he added.
For example, the ABB uses Microsoft platforms to develop and provide solutions to its clients. In Vietnam, ABB has provided Heineken with medium voltage products, transformers, motor control centres, compact secondary substations, engineering packages, site management and so on.
The ABB has provided Vinasoy – a food company, with with automated pouch pick and place and box palletting systems that have resulted in greater safety and hygiene, consistency and precision in packing and less manpower.
The use of robots for various applications in electronics manufacturer including pick and place, materials handling and machine handling can generate better quality and reliability, as also locally responsive support combination.
Alan Fam, Business Line Manager, General Industry at Atlas Copco, said that data was the most important factor in Industry 4.0. "Data has to be collected, processed and used to provide smarter and more efficient manufacturing solutions," he said.
Fam spoke of manufacturing intelligence – a software to gather a corporation’s manufacturing data from many sources for reporting, analysis and communication between enterprise-level and plant-floor systems. He said the software’s primary goal was to turn amounts of manufacturing data into real knowledge, driving business productivity.
Nguyen Hoang Viet, manager of Technology Department at Thai Nguyen province-based Song Cong Diesel Company said that the company provided mechanical parts for both domestic and international partners.
He said his company was looking for investment and co-operation to improve its manufacturing technology towards improved productivity and efficiency while meeting domestic and international requirements.
Nguyen Chi Hung, deputy director of Hanoi-based Vietnam Automatic Machinery Manufacturing, said that many Vietnamese enterprises needed innovations, and his company consulted and provided suitable technologies to its customers.
By learning about innovations and new technologies from major manufacturers, his company could become a bridge to connect technology providers with users, he said.
Earlier, in his meeting with the Swedish manufacturing delegation, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong said that Vietnam’s readiness for Industry 4.0 was relatively modest because its starting point was low and not much value had been added to its industrial production process.
Vietnam wanted to develop its manufacturing sector with “reasonable structure,” and use advanced technologies to become more competitive so that it can join the global value chain at least in some industries, Vuong said.
He also said that Vietnam had been fostering the application of information technologies in management and operations, considering it a priority in its industrialisation and modernisation process.
The country was also paying a lot of attention to preparing its human resources to master modern technologies and become innovative, he said.
He noted that small and medium sized enterprises in Vietnam faced difficulties in accessing credit and acquiring management skills especially in shifting to new modern technologies.