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Monday, June 6, 2011

Conference Report

The LogSo conference was a great success for me. I think a little disappointing for the organizers due to low attendance, but well worth the trip for me. I learned a tremendous amount about both the challenges and opportunities here, primarily in the supply chain area. I also met some great people, locally and throughout the southeast Asia region.

There were a few key things that kept being discussed over and over at the LogSo conference. First was infrastructure, or the lack thereof. That's an issue that is going to depend mainly on the government, but there is a role for the private sector.

The second, and maybe more important is the general lack of knowledge of supply chain and it's importance to the success of any business. Many people spoke of the lack of awareness about supply chain among executive and senior management, let alone at the lower levels. The awareness is slowly growing, but it is well behind other countries in the region and the more developed countries in the world.

Since there is only a nascent awareness of supply chain, there is also a severe lack of education and training in all aspects of operations and supply chain. The two organizations that spoke at, Vietnam Supply Chain Community & Vietnam Supply Chain Insights / LogSo, are trying to do their part to increase the knowledge in supply chain areas.

Another very important factor discussed was human resource and workforce issues. There is a shortage of people with the skills and education that is needed by companies. That is with specific supply chain knowledge and general education and basic work skills.

But with all the challenges they face, companies are optimistic and many are doing very well.

As far as my presentations went, they went well. I had a lot of good comments after my lunch presentation. After my workshop, I had a couple of gentlemen tell me it was a great presentation. Then after my last presentation on Supply Chain Trends, a man told me how much he and his employees liked it.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Live From LogSo

Well, the lighting doesn't work for picture taking.

The conference is going well, at least from my perspective. Some presentations are in English, others are in Vietnamese. But there are headphones so you can listen to a translator. Interesting, since this is my first time in this environment.

I have been meeting many interesting and pleasant people from all over Asia. It is a very different environment when you realize that here, the U.S. Is not the center of the universe. In all the talks and discussions, the focus is on the region and surrounding countries. Even talking about the customer base, it is customers in the region, Australia, Europe, and the U.S., in about equal measure. China comes up a lot, but not as much as I would have expected.

Well, almost time for lunch.

Vietnam Day 3

More traffic photos and a few conference pics. Detail later.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Da Food! Da Food!

Wow, what a meal! I had heard about how good the food is here in Vietnam, but I had no idea. My host took me for what he called authentic Vietnamese food. He selected about five different dishes, each one better than the last.

I don't know the details, but included was wild boar, oysters, a local fish, very fresh, as I saw them take it out of a tank with a net. Enjoy the pictures.

Oh, and the local beer, Saigon bia, was good too.

Vietnam Day 1

I arrived in Ho Chi Minh City about 10:00 pm last night. The crush of people waiting for arriving passengers was quite amazing. Luckily my hotel sent a car to pick me up, and the driver had my name on a long stick so I could see it above the crowd.

After 18 hours of flying, I went right to sleep. My internal clock is not set yet, so I got about 5 hours of sleep before waking up.

After a great breakfast (buffet) at the hotel, I went out for a walk. The heat and humidity was a bit more than I'm used to these days, so I ended up not going very far. Just got a little feel for the place. Crossing the street was not quite as difficult as I expected, but, man, you do have to keep your eyes open and you just have to go.

My host then picked me up and we went for coffee and lunch while talking business. They make good coffee here, this ain't Starbucks. I don't know what I had for lunch, some sort of noodle soup, but it was really good. My host told me we would go to a top of the line pho place another time.

On the schedule for this evening is to go out and try some local beers. Not too many, though, as I've got my first presentation at lunch tomorrow.