CEO Nguyen Manh Hung: Nafoods Group Proactively Faces Challenges, Steadily Moves Toward Goals

CEO Nguyen Manh Hung: Nafoods Group Proactively Faces Challenges, Steadily Moves Toward Goals

“Facing numerous unpredictable challenges, daring to and knowing how to ‘overcome difficulties, seize opportunities, and keep pace with trends’ is the confidence, courage, belief, and ambition of Vietnamese businesses”, said Mr. Nguyen Manh Hung, CEO of Nafoods Group.

In 2023, the broad economic landscape appeared gray, with a contracted market and reduced orders. However, in Nghe An, many businesses have successfully overcame challenges to “maintain their position,” and Nafoods Group was a notable example. On the first day of the new year 2024, had a conversation with Mr. Nguyen Manh Hung, CEO of Nafoods Group.

ông Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng - CEO Nafoods Group/Mr. Nguyen Manh Hung, CEO of Nafoods Group
Mr. Nguyen Manh Hung, CEO of Nafoods Group

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought significant challenges to many Vietnamese businesses. How did Nafoods Group strategize to cope and successfully “maintain its position?”

CEO Nguyen Manh Hung: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a considerable impact on Vietnam’s economy and affected various aspects of economic and social life in many partner countries. Activities such as import-export, logistics, and agriculture have been severely affected. To adapt and survive during this challenging period, Nafoods had to find decisive directions.

Specifically, Nafoods continues to perfect its overall transformation. This transformation focuses on three main aspects: business model, operational model, and risk management.

In terms of the business model, instead of concentrating on our core products, Nafoods shifted towards a service-oriented model for the agricultural ecosystem. This includes providing services such as sales, quality management, logistics, and customer care for industry partners and small-scale producers. We expanded our core agricultural product group from five main fruits to gradually include vegetables, seeds, and increased the value of service and sales per customer. We also developed a proactive sales team to enhance autonomy and innovation.

During this period, Nafoods made specific changes to the operational model to be timely and align with the overall system transformation. We focused on flexible manufacturing management and business planning. The management and operation model was built on a platform of concentration and specialization, digital transformation, and information transparency.

In parallel with the transformation of business and operational models, Nafoods focused on improving the quality of risk management by proactively predicting and planning for complex issues arising from customers, markets, and products. Additionally, we minimized the impact of financial and liquidity risks, invested flexibly in upgrading machinery and equipment, and automated production processes to ensure stable operations under all circumstances.

Especially, the implementation of process standardization, delegation, and the comprehensive digital application have been one of Nafoods’ correct directions up to now.

Digital transformation is a crucial factor that needs to be vigorously applied to production and business during the difficult period after the pandemic. As of now, Nafoods has completed more than 30 subsystems and put them into operation, serving specialized activities in various departments. These subsystems are built based on practical needs and proposals from specialized departments combined with the common requirements of the system.

Thanks to the early and synchronized deployment, the comprehensive digital application in Nafoods’ system has shown positive signs and brought clear efficiency, saving time, costs, and manpower in the operation and production of the entire system. At the same time, through the integration, statistical analysis, and objective data management with specialized tools and software, all departments have easily obtained an overview but still ensured detailed information, enabling them to make accurate decisions at each moment.

Lastly, building a management system has been also paid attention. The workforce has been enhancing associated with the culture and core values of the company, focusing on training, developing the capacity to build strategies, action plans, leadership skills, and key decision-making personnel in line with appropriate KPI policies.

Tổ nông nghiệp công nghệ cao tây nguyên của ctcp nafoods group/Central Highlands high-tech agriculture group of nafoods group corporation
Overview of the High-Tech Agricultural Complex Project in Tay Nguyen of Nafoods Group Joint Stock Company

Given that the pandemic has been controlled, but conflicts have erupted in some places, affecting the global economy, how has Nafoods been impacted, and what is your view on the economic situation in the coming time?

CEO Nguyen Manh Hung: After we stepped out of the grip of the raging COVID-19 pandemic, it was thought that the world would return to its old order, but the flames of another “war” quietly smoldered and flared up. The “war” in the global economy is inflation due to the breaking of the supply chain affecting goods, supply and demand, and prices. Nafoods is not exempt from these influences, and the damage will lead to reduced consumption, reduced sales, hindering investment cooperation.

Nafoods will continue to adhere to its vision, mission, and development strategy for the closed agricultural value chain from seeds, cultivation, processing, and export of frozen fruit juices, dried fruits, seeds, and fresh fruits. With nearly 30 years of experience in production, in the face of continuous changes, Nafoods Group again has to take transformative steps, with the message for 2024 being “enhancing knowledge, efficient operation, and accelerating task processing.”

In summary, in this period, although the global situation is unpredictable, the business environment in Vietnam still has many bright spots. Nafoods continues to maintain its vision and mission in production and business activities as well as social responsibility, faithfully fulfilling commitments to partners, customers, shareholders, employees, and farmers. This is the factor helping Nafoods Group develop sustainably.

What plans does Nafoods have for the future?

CEO Nguyen Manh Hung: Acknowledging that challenges still exist but opportunities are not few, Nafoods is giving attention to and focusing on expanding the development strategy in the domestic consumption market, increasing export markets to countries less affected by the two wars, such as Australia, Asia, etc. These are potential markets that we have targeted before.

In addition, we are conducting in-depth research and development of new agricultural products, new product lines to explore new markets, increase market share, and attract investment.

Furthermore, regarding management work, Nafoods has officially restructured according to a professional model, applying management to the system to lay the groundwork for development until 2026. In addition, the company has added many new personnel for critical specialized positions, focusing on training and improving the quality, emphasizing on development and nurturing the workforce.

In terms of production and business, to proactively supply and control the quality of raw materials, Nafoods is particularly focused on developing raw material areas, building cultivation areas, and applying specialized software such as Cropin, Fast Business, CRM, SRM.

On the other hand, Nafoods is also focusing on improving production capacity, inaugurating the High-tech Agriculture Complex in Tay Nguyen with an area of 10 hectares, including a high-tech crop research center, a production plant for sorting, packaging, and preserving exported fruits, and a high-tech agriculture area.

For the business segment, in addition to continuing to expand export markets (currently Nafoods’ products are present in more than 70 countries worldwide), Nafoods has officially marked its return to the domestic market with the main product line being dried fruits and various nuts.

2024 is a year of preparation for the 30th anniversary of the formation and development of the company. With the proactive approach, overcoming challenges, and steadily moving towards the goal, Nafoods Group will continue to strive to align with the global development trend and elevate the value of Vietnamese agriculture.

In your opinion, what decisions should be made to support businesses during this difficult period?

CEO Nguyen Manh Hung: In a context where production and business are still difficult, now more than ever, the Government needs to synchronize support solutions to help businesses survive and sustain, which help access to capital, reduce costs, offer preferential loans as well as improve the business environment for easier market access.

At the same time, it is necessary to synchronously issue many policies such as tax and fee exemptions and reductions along with orientations and solutions to harmonize fiscal and monetary policies, leading to financial stability in the context of national financial risks. Also, promoting public investment is so necessary that businesses can easily access loans and restore production and business.

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