The philosophy to help Nestlé Vietnam combat Covid-19
According to some reports over the past time, Vietnam has recorded a remarkable growth in the number of companies that stop operating due to the outbreak and re-emergence of Covid-19.
Amidst the novel pandemic, Nestlé Vietnam showed its different way based on its sustainability objectives of which helping employees, partners and communities to weather the storm have been placed top priority.
Binu Jacob, CEO of Nestlé Vietnam shared with TheLEADER that although there have been some changes in demand, it is still early to quantify the overall financial impact of the outbreak. Ensuring the health and safety of employees, families and consumers remains Nestlé Vietnam’s priority.
“We are committed to ensuring continued production and delivery of our foods and beverages for Vietnamese consumers. To achieve this, we continue to work closely with our supply chain distribution and retail partners.”
In the context of new wave Covid-19, Nestlé Vietnam keep its commitment to stand side by side with partners and government agencies in supporting Vietnam. It wants to encourage the community and consumers to live healthily and actively together to overcome the pandemic.
CEO revealed that Nestlé Vietnam has prioritized three issues in combating both the first and the second Covid-19 wave, of which the first is protecting its employees and ensuring that they remain safe, healthy, and supported.
The second priority is to maintain production and business activities in order to avoid supply breakdown during an outbreak.
Jacob said that Nestlé Vietnam has made efforts to coordinate with primary and secondary suppliers, ensuring sufficient input sources in the context that nearly 90 per cent of the brand's products distributed in Vietnam are manufactured in place.
During the outbreak in Danang, the brand has applied many different ways with the same goal through flexibly adjusting production plans, sharing production with many different suppliers to make sure any changes to the plan can be applied within one to two days.
The most remarkable thing in the crisis management of Nestlé Vietnam is to uphold the role of the community - a step that not every business dare to take during the crisis.
Jacob believes that "If we focus on making differences in people's lives in the right way, we will create business for ourselves. In his mind, process is more important than results and if focusing on customers, employees and communities, businesses will grow for a long term."
In the first wave of Covid-19 in mid-March, Nestlé Vietnam had actively worked with the government, local authorities, and partners to implement various programmes since mid-March. This included the donation of VND12 billion (over $520,000) in products and cash to the communities that needed it and to hospitals and frontline workers who dealt with the pandemic and 88,000 medical masks to the Ministry of Health and centres for disease control in five provinces.
About 22,000 of its out-of-home partners were supported with free Nestlé products worth around VND22 billion (about $950,000) in total.
In the second wave in Danang, Nestlé Vietnam and its member firm La Vie Company provided nearly 700,000 products to frontline staff who are fighting against the Covid-19 pandemic in affected localities.
Sustainability goal in which the quality of life and the future of customers and the community were improved is what the brand want to reach, instead of the number of partners who has been supported or product volume provide, he stated.
Adapting to new conditions
“I was in China during the peak of the Covid-19 crisis and to some extent, this prepared me reasonably well for taking on the new responsibility in the peak of the Covid-19 crisis in Vietnam. But having said that, every situation is unique, and I am still unlearning and re-learning on how to handle the situation in Vietnam”, he shared.
It did not help that the day he officially took over. April 1 was also the day the company moved to Work from Home mode and leading a new team in a crisis situation while working from home was the first challenge for Jacob.
“But thankfully, we have a very driven, resilient team and together we created Project STORM with 5+1 streams that worked on focused priorities and clear responsibilities and this structured process helped us weather the initial part of the crisis”.
People is the heart of Nestlé Vietnam's business, so the brand has tried its best to keep the human factor healthy and safe by a series of measures. It also increases wages and benefits in March as planned instead of cutting salary like many other companies.
It also stands side by side with its employees through the hotline that help them to get advices from doctors about Covid-19.
The impact of the coronavirus has been felt around the world. In the F&B industry, it is seen that the consumers’ confidence lies in products with high quality and good for their health. In the pandemic, the health of senior citizens and children are prioritized, the good nutritious products for these groups are searched extensively.
In the economy with many uncertainties, CEO of Nestlé Vietnam said that businesses should prioritize cash flow instead of profits and focus on flexibility as well as embrace new ways of doing business like digitizing.
Along with that, the head of businesses need to make choices and boldly remove unnecessary problems.