I’m Dam Thi Diu, Director of Lien Anh Production Trading and Service Company supplying fresh and safe vegetables in Northern Vietnam. From start-up until now, we have made many significant business development steps. The Business Development project of YWAM Mercy Vietnam, sponsored by COM and Swiss Create, contributed a great deal to our success.
When I worked in supermarkets, I identified many troubling problems related to fresh food and noted its huge demand. I decided to move to a food company to learn and personally went to some areas growing vegetables to investigate. In 2015, I visited a community in Hoai Duc District. I saw this area had rich land and farmers had good techniques in growing vegetables, but no guarantee of a market for their output. I started developing the idea of establishing a company supplying fresh and safe vegetables that meet VietGAP standards (Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practice), and also connecting with farming households in this area to help them improve their income and their quality of life.
After more than a year facing many obstacles including building a customer base, maintaining consistency in the cultivation process, and gaining the trust of farmers, our products are being sold in some big supermarkets and used in many schools in the provinces of Hanoi, Bac Giang, Bac Ninh, Son La and Moc Chau. However, at that time, our internal management system was not effective. In 2017, I attended the Small and Medium Enterprises Development program of YWAM Mercy Vietnam after being introduced by Mr. Van, also a participant of the program. Business knowledge and useful lessons in the training courses helped me change my mindset towards innovation and professionalism. I learned to document the production management processes to achieve better efficiency for farmers as well as to ensure the promised benefits to consumers.
I documented all the rules and regulations of my company and applied Swiss Create management tools, Production Optimization processes and 5S (Sort – Set – Shine – Standardize – Sustain), not only in our administration office, but also on the farm. I instructed farmers to keep a farming diary to guarantee quality and to provide transparent product information for traceability. Employee morale has increased after providing insurance and welfare policies for laborers and organizing team-building activities.
My company has created jobs for over 30 employees and guaranteed a market for the output of nearly 100 farming households in Hoai Duc and surrounding areas, but management tasks are still controlled well.
Learning from Swiss Create’s lessons, we recently registered trademarks for our products. To build a stronger brand, I always communicate and raise awareness for farmers and employees about the importance of keeping high quality to bring real value to customers, and also about maintaining and improving our management system. I am also working to change our legal structure in order for farming households to have a stake in the business, so we can manage the business together, and in that way they receive more benefit from our mutual success.