A recent forum held at RMIT Vietnam’s Saigon South campus discussed the challenges facing logistics and supply chain management in the country.
The 2017 Innovation Forum, which took place on 22 August, covered healthcare, IT, education and sustainability, with speakers from both abroad and within Vietnam covering important issues related to these sectors.
The morning panel looked at healthcare, with seven experts delivering their thoughts on the subject. Two explored logistics and supply chain management in Vietnam, a difficult area given the country’s diverse climate and long distances between population centres.
Tony Mullen, Vice President of Supply Chain Management at DSKH, a Swiss logistics company, explained that quality, integrity, temperature control and dealing with counterfeits are major challenges facing supply chains in Vietnam.
“We have invested over US$1 million in transportation infrastructure in Vietnam,” he shared. “We offer end-to-end delivery in every province to 20,500 customers.”
DSKH has conducted 500,000 deliveries with over 800,000 orders on 708 delivery routes, even to relatively remote locations like Sa Pa in the northwest.
Meanwhile Robert Kruit, Country Manager for Zuellig Pharma, talked about the importance of maintaining cold-chain delivery integrity for vaccines.
“For people who live in Vietnam and read Vietnamese newspapers, you may read articles about vaccines,” he shared. “Very often they are then connected to adverse events with children, so they get vaccinated and have a reaction which is not good, and this causes a scare.”
Vaccines can go bad thanks to improper storage, for example in Styrofoam boxes with uneven quality. “What we have done, given that we are concerned about cold-chain integrity, is conduct many tests on these boxes in our laboratory and identified a number of key risks,” Mr Kruit said.
“For example, the density is not always the same; it may differ from supplier to supplier and [from] day to day.”
These are the types of real-world problems which RMIT Vietnam students confront in their logistics program, according to Associate Professor Mathews Nkhoma, Head of the School of Business & Management.
“If you look at the structure of Vietnam, you have Hanoi in the north and Ho Chi Minh City in the south,” he says. “So students need to understand that if they want to ship goods or materials, what are the issues they need to be thinking about before they start planning a structure?”
“One of the things that’s unique about our program in logistics is we’re working with real companies that are in Vietnam,” Nkhoma adds. “This semester we’re working on case studies with Lazada and Tiki.vn…our students are actually working with the CEOs of these companies on how they can solve business problems in Vietnam.”
About Innovation Forum 2017
The 2017 Innovation Forum was hosted on 22 August by RMIT University Vietnam, in conjunction with University of Medicine and Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh City, and Pharma Group, and supported by the Australian Government.
Story: Michael Tatarski