Million dollar factory of workers

Ho Chi Minh City As a worker who lost his job when the factory was cut, Mr. Nguyen Van Tri was thin. Lap Phuc Company specializes in precision molds, earning $4 million per year for export.

In the days leading up to Tet, Lap Phuc Co., Ltd's 10,000 m2 production warehouse (quarter 7) has turned on and off the final stages for mold orders to be exported to the US. Male worker Vo Nhut Han stared intently at the control screen, a satisfied expression when the machine was in trial operation.

Anh Hân (áo xanh) thao tác trên máy móc. Ảnh: Lê Tuyết

Han (blue shirt) works on machines. Photo: Le Tuyet

After graduating from mechanical engineering secondary school, the young Tien Giang joined Lap Phuc. After 15 years, he is one of the skilled carpenters in the factory, with a monthly income of about 20 million VND. Asking for a stable salary, saving, he and his wife bought land and built a house in the city. "I will definitely work in Lap Phuc until I float," said the 38-year-old male worker.

Standing on the machine with Mr. Han is Mr. Nguyen Van Tri, the general director who is also the oldest worker of the factory. "In a working day, I only have one hour to work as a manager, but I stay as a manager and do carpentry with my brothers," said the man in his 60s. He compared himself to having a "base" as a worker, so even if he went to bed, he still had to burn engine oil to withstand it.

Mr. Tri is the eldest son in a family of 10 brothers. On the day of national reunification, he had just finished vocational high school. To have money to support his father and child, he applied to work as a worker at Southern Agricultural Machinery Company in Bien Hoa (Dong Nai), nearly 40 km from home. While many people fear the distance is too far, he persistently pursues it. In order not to get bored, during three hours sitting in the car going to work, he read books related to gas machines to increase his knowledge.

Need only, eager to learn, after a few years as a worker, Mr. Tri started to manage with the highest position as manager. In 1994, the company reduced the payroll, he lost his job at the age of 35 after 18 years of working. Knowing many professions related to mechanics, he decided to start a business with the mold industry because he thought that any object needs a mold. Good mold, the product will be beautiful, quality.

At that time, the Chinese stereotype was systematic. In order not to be "squeezed to death", he chose a separate branch, not focusing on household appliances but making clock molds and fans. To have the best product, he borrowed 120,000 USD from relatives to buy a CNC milling machine, which is one of the modern machines imported to Vietnam 25 years ago.

In 2002, Mr. Tri's production facility officially became the company. However, the step in the development journey of Lap Phuc must be mentioned in 2005. Enterprises were allowed to borrow VND 6 billion from the city's stimulus capital to buy machinery from Switzerland. Technological innovation, the company's customers are also higher, get rid of low-level stereotypes.

Ông Trí kiểm tra thiết bị máy móc ở xưởng. Ảnh: Lê Tuyết

He checked the equipment at the warehouse. Photo: Le Tuyet

From the first customer, Colgate, Lap Phuc expanded to domestic FDI enterprises with investment capital from Europe and the US. Eight years ago, with a stimulus loan of 40 billion dong, he invested in more machinery, built standard housing to jump in and bury the car model, exporting to the US. After nearly 30 years, small mechanical car has now become a company with export revenue of 4 million USD per year.

However, Mr. Tri's road to bringing products to the world is not smooth. Lap Phuc is facing fierce competition with Chinese enterprises, which is the oldest brother in the industry. "When I first started, Chinese factories had built a solid foothold, so it was extremely difficult to get in," Mr. Tri said.

Because according to him, when two products are of similar quality and price, customers will choose a Chinese supplier because of the preference where they have experience. To compete, Mr. Tri determined that the price must be cheaper and the quality must be better, according to the standards of Japanese enterprises.

Taking advantage of the former skilled machinery, he buys second-hand Japanese machinery and then repairs and improves to run the early stages of the product. To the finishing stage, the product is made entirely on new machines to achieve the most beautiful, precise mold. When the cost of the machine goes down, the price will go down as well.

In recent years, when the US imposed high tariffs on goods from China, Lap Phuc benefited when the tax was only 1/4 of the mold of the Chinese factory. As a result, the company's orders are always abundant, even when the whole world enters a general recession.

Not only overcoming the competition to kill orders, Mr. Tri also had to find ways to retain employees. Currently, Lap Phuc has 180 employees, earning 10-40 million VND per month, depending on the position of new workers or skilled workers, engineers. To keep being people, businesses must ensure income for workers.

"No matter how good I am, if my salary is not enough to live, I will leave," Mr. Tri said. Next, it is necessary to build a decent manager, improve the company's position so that employees believe in the sustainable development of the business.

Xưởng sản xuất tự động không cần công nhân ở Lập Phúc. Ảnh: Lê Tuyết

Automatic factory without workers in Lap Phuc. Photo: Le Tuyet

According to Mr. Tri, many people in this field always want to pursue a career or have a clear division of work, workers cannot know how the machine operator operates to create a product. However, in Lap Phuc, if a worker wants to learn a trade, knowing all the stages, how to calculate product costs... will support and guide. Many people who have improved their skills and experience have branched out on their own or found new opportunities elsewhere.

"I don't feel sad about that, I'm still happy because the modeling community in our country will grow stronger," said Mr. Tri. For him, the competition at this time is Chinese, Japanese and Korean bosses, not Vietnamese workers eager to learn. Over the years, Lap Phuc has become an atomizer for many colleges and universities with a major in mechanical engineering.

Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City Electrical and Mechanical Association Do Phuoc Tong said from a worker, Mr. Tri has risen to become a good business owner, the factory has many high quality product lines. Lap Phuc is one of the few Vietnamese enterprises that invest heavily in technology and machinery to enter the big playing field in the G7 countries, especially the burning mold industry.