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I am Lê Diệu Phương (“Dory”), an owner and manager at Vinh Phát.
Dory is from Ho Chi Minh City. She graduated from Vietnam University of Economics in Foreign Trade in 2004 and University of Social Sciences & Humanities Bachelor of English in 2005.
She worked in international shipping, warehousing and supply chain industry from 2002-2012. Then moved to customer service management, call center customer care distribution pharmaceutical, cosmetics, drinking water, food, chemicals & insurance from 2012-2014. In mid-2014, Vinh Phat Company was established with 2 co-founders specializing in supplying epoxy materials for the footwear processing industry, then expanding the production of processing equipment to increase productivity in shoe production.
I would like to share my experience in applying Agile Management in our company after attending Teal Unicorn training courses.
From June 2018 to June 2019 our company was in turmoil, in crisis and on the way to dissolve, despite having a strong position in the market and financially. After 5 years of existence and development, it was hard to let it go, but maintaining it was also too much for us.
There were some big issues:
– Late delivery, technical errors.
– Delivery staff and drivers were rude, aggressive with other suppliers when delivery goods. They physically attacked other suppliers when delivering goods at the customer’s warehouse.
– We faced the risk of the contracts with eight very big clients being cancelled.
– Customers had to wait for quotations for too long and when they received them, they had already found other suppliers.
– Losing stock, and not knowing the number of goods delivered or not delivered even though goods were taken out of the warehouse.
– Every 2 weeks there were about 2-3 employees leaving. Everyone including employees and managers were frustrated and wanted to quit their jobs. The boss persuaded them by raising their salary but they still threatened to leave after a few days. Recruitment costs increased continuously.
– Employees left without handing work over to someone else and caused significant losses.
– Bad communication, people didn’t understand each other.
– The board of directors did not see where to begin to deal with those problems. Everyone blamed each other instead of trying to find common goals.
– We faced pressure to complete orders on time, so we asked relatives to introduce new staff and we failed to detect false declarations of employees.
– We had employed one gangster who was the most wanted by the police. He tried to chase out all hard-working employees and brought his mates to set up a gang in the company.
– Employees fought each other when the boss was absent. The surveillance camera was broken continuously.
– People often had to work overtime, they finished working very late at 22-23:00 for all week. Employees were not allowed to have holidays or weekends which led to bad quality, slower progress, and increased errors.
– Losing money due to uncontrolled large quantities of goods delivered and mixing up between orders.
– The accountant could not manage customer debt and money to be paid to suppliers. She forgot to issue or failed to provide accurate invoices to clients. Customers didn’t remind her and they didn’t pay us.
– Shareholders, founders, and manager gradually did things for their own advantage, earned their own profits for themselves. They played unfairly with each other and planned to withdraw their shares.
– The outsourced accounting service that was in charge of tax reporting was late, therefore the tax authorities fined us many times. Also, they were always late on the requests of the board of directors and required additional fees to complete anything.
….. The atmosphere was about to suffocate.
In July 2019, I attended several training courses from Teal Unicorn and I have been applying the thinking ever since. Here are some improvements I have made:
– Employees use kanban boards to track deliveries and production
– We have backups system so when employees need to have a holiday or sick leave there are people to replace them. Stop running the people and system more than 100%.
– Employees who left us found out the company environment is better so they wanted to return to work.
– The gangster was invited to go quietly. [Cherry is a motivational coach 🙂]
– Accountants and purchasing staff were trained. They are using technology to track information better.
– We trust and empower employees so they work more effectively.
– I gave the accountant a week to finish the tax report and they finished it in 2 days. They filed a 3-year document in 2 weeks.
– The company gradually and clearly understand accounting books and gets them in order. We aren’t in fear of penalties because of the errors in the accounting system by unscheduled audits anymore.
– The director, assistants, employees find it much easier to breathe and relieved of pressure. Employees are allowed to take time off when they want.
– I organized an outing trip for employees and their family to show appreciation to them and the employees who have contributed to the company. The employees are happy, and they all want to stay with us.
– Orders increased 3 times, customers were happy and they now order more new production.
– The director got out of the mess and has time to find new customers and wins more bids.
– Delivery team behave politely and professionally to customers.
– Staff feel proud to wear uniforms when delivering and interacting with customers.
– Employees are ready to take more work. They have a lot of ideas for improving their work.
– We are still improving and changing continuously.
I realise how lucky I am to have the opportunity to learn new ways of working and managing from Teal Unicorn. Since I worked out my way of applying them, my life and work have changed to be much better.
Today is more than a happy day for me when I realise how much things have changed and progressed at the speed of light, I calculated in units of months not years.
I am no longer tormented with the view that women have to put aside their jobs and careers so that they can wholeheartedly support their families and children. I don’t feel that I am a selfish woman anymore when going out to learn new knowledge and doing things I wanted to do. Now I understand that if a mother is not happy, she can’t make her husband and children happy.
I am no longer just dreaming about a better life, I start taking actions and change step by step from where I am.
Thank you, Cherry Vu, to wake me up to become me today. I love my life more and I have an encouragement to change, to be more steadfastness, to make progress and bring a lot of value to myself, my children, and my family.
Dory is one of the bravest amongst our students, who has been through this tough time, and still maintains the sweetest smile. We are so happy to have helped. This story is a good example of how the ideas of New Ways of Working are general; they have an impact on lives and society as well as work.