All businesses have to struggle hard to survive the pandemic. However, they are keeping calm and optimistic, because the 'alluvium will come after the floods'.
Tran Tien Phat and his workers in 2019 (Photo: Datalogic)
Having worked for Datalogic Vietnam, an Italian invested enterprise, for 13 years, CEO Tran Tien Phat said the last four months have been the most stressful time for businesses as they have faced unprecedented problems. One of the problems is how to ensure safety and maintain production for 500 workers.
Phat said running production under the 'three on-the-site' model costs a lot of money. Workers have to be paid higher for overtime work. They also need special care to ensure the best health conditions. The enterprise has to pay for periodic health examinations for workers.
The policy puts the task of ensuring workers' health as the top priority, above business efficiency, which helps the enterprise retain hundreds of workers who, together with the enterprise, experienced tough social distancing days.
"Every day, we listened to workers' complaints about their difficulties when working under the 'three on-the-site' mode. We would satisfy workers' requests and explain to them if the requests were unreasonable," he said.
"Behave towards workers with your heart, they will reply with their heart," he said.
Dai Phuc Land's CEO Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong said one of the biggest concerns of the enterprise during the pandemic is ensuring pay and welfare for workers.
In the first two months of lockdowns, workers still had 100 percent of their salaries and in the next two months, the salaries slightly decreased. Though employees worked from home, the company maintained the same policy so that workers felt secure.
The pandemic upset the enterprise's business plan. While revenue dropped dramatically, the business still had to pay money to preserve the workforce and the achievements it gained over the last 10 years.
The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) reported that 85,500 businesses had to leave the market in the first eight months of the year, an increase of 24.2 percent over the same period in 2020.
"This is a historic upheaval, not only for Vietnam, but other countries as well. This requires businesses to keep calm when coping with the pandemic and find flexible solutions," she said.
Floods bring alluvium
In mid-July, when material prices and production costs increased because of lockdowns, some poultry egg companies incurred losses. The HCM City Department of Industry and Trade then allowed egg suppliers to increase the prices.
However, Pham Thi Huan, General Director of Ba Huan, did not raise the selling prices. She said enterprises needed to help stabilize the market. If they raised prices in the difficult period, the move would cause serious fluctuations and the price stabilization program would lose its humanitarian purpose.
Huan twice refused the department's suggestion to raise egg prices. The enterprise continued to sell eggs at below production costs, accepting losses.
"You do business throughout your life, not just at this moment. Human life is the most precious thing. If we can survive the pandemic, we will gradually recover the economy," she said.
She went on to say that the pandemic has had great impact on all businesses and businesspeople. But alluvium will follow the floods.
Meanwhile, Nguyen Hoai Thanh, the owner of Dong Tay Barber Shop chain, helped people by sending his staff to quarantine zones and field hospitals to give free haircuts to physicians, medical workers and people who had the demand. Forty five units in HCM City with 20,000 people have received the service since July 20.
Thanh said his staff understood that being present at hospitals means facing high risks, but they still continued the work, preparing for the worst to come – becoming infected, or staying in quarantine zones.
The long lockdown in HCM City has caused shocks to many businesses. But they have overcome difficulties, while maintaining operation and contributing to society in their own ways.
Huong said she would choose the word 'adaptation' to describe the business circle in the Covid epicenters of HCM City and southern provinces because of their resilience and flexible adaptation to the pandemic and market developments.
Tran Kim Nga of MM Mega Market said she believes that 'nothing is impossible', and with solidarity and resilience, Vietnam's businesses will regain their strength and develop strongly in the future.
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