Day 11: Over and Out

I regret to inform you, Brian and Moriah as well as the rest of my 2 or 3 other blog followers (lol), that today is my last blog post of Plus 3 Vietnam 2017. So let’s get to it, today was a double site tour day in place of all classes at UEF. We began with a bit of a later start today at 8 am, which was nice, and we bused to a location that goes by the name of Vietnam Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP). This is an industrial park corporation in conjunction with the Vietnam and Singapore governments. There are 7 separate industrial parks (aka integrated communities) throughout the country of Vietnam through VSIP and 5 of them are located close to the two major cities of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. This partnership between Singapore and Vietnam began when the Vietnamese government approached Singapore asking for help with this industrial park project. The project includes building parks with industrial buildings as well as affordable employee housing, hence the title of “integrated communities”. The partnership and company of VSIP began in 1996 and has recently celebrated its 20 year anniversary. In those 20 years it is the largest and most profitable industrial park corporation in Vietnam and a rare partnership of its kind these days with another country. VSIP accepts all types of industries within its complexes and also offers multiple types of payment and lease contracts. Interesting site visit and it’s a business I had no previously thought about it.

To Segway into our next site visit, it is actually a company who is based out of the first VSIP industrial park in Ho Chi Minh City. This company, which is also my specific assigned company to research, goes by the name of II-VI Vietnam Incorporated. This company was founded in 2005 and is a subsidiary of II-VI Incorporated which was founded in 1971 and is headquartered in Pennsylvania. This corporation is a vertically integrated materials engineering business. This means that from the first stages of materials processing to final products that are shipped out to customers, all production and assembly occurs within II-VI incorporated. Pieces and components of the final products are shipped between the international II-VI branch locations because not all subsidiaries execute the same processes. Our tour guide today was Mr. David Baker, the chief engineer of II-VI Vietnam incorporated. Mr. Baker has been in Vietnam since day 1 of this branch’s production and he was able to answer all of our questions sufficiently.

First, when asked about why II-VI chose to set up facilities in Vietnam he had actually already prepared another slide show to answer that question. According to Mr. Baker, II-VI has been a profitable and continually expanding innovator in the engineering materials industry since it’s second year of existence because it continues to stay ahead of its competition in all facets. To further explain this, II-VI is continually purchasing out other companies, investing in new materials for the future, and moving production locations to low cost and highly skilled areas. II-VI had a location in an industrial park in Singapore and when costs of labor and property went up they moved some production to Vietnam where costs were lower and the new Vietnam Singapore Industrial Park was up and coming. Aside from just strategic methods of expanding and staying ahead of its competition, Mr. Baker also explained to us how II-VI works to successfully overcome continuing challenges and simply produce the highest quality engineered materials possible. 

An example of a great challenge that most engineering corporations face in Vietnam is employee turnover around the Tet holiday. Because demand in this industrial park for skilled engineers is very high, these employees know that when they can get a new job if they need. Consequently, these employees go home for the Tet holiday and simply do not return for a few months. To combat this turnover epidemic, II-VI holds bonuses until after the holiday and they also provide additional benefits for returning employees. As a result they have the lowest turnover rate in all of the industrial park. 

I have mentioned that II-VI specializes in highly engineered materials but that is a vague definition. This corporation has a focus on 3 main areas which are laser solutions, photonics and performance products. The laser solutions and photonics sectors includes working on lasers and optics as well as making semi conductors smaller. One important thing to know is the Vietnam subsidiary focuses on this optics sector. The performance products sector involves work in a number of different fields, one of which is the military. An example of a materials product that II-VI provided for the military is the sapphire glass window that serves as a housing unit for the targeting system of the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightening II fighter jet. This is an extremely interesting topic to me because I researched this jet for my Pitt freshman engineering conference. 

Additional products among the 3 main focus areas are laser cutting heads, green lasers, optical elements and more. These products can be extremely specific or they can just be sold as components to a larger product. II-VI partners with numerous companies by selling them these component products that will be incorporated into larger products or services. An extensive list of those partners is included in the image from the II-VI presentation below.  

I believe I have provided a detailed explanation of both VSIP and  II-VI Vietnam Incorporated. That encompasses the bulk of today’s activities and is essentially my summary for the day. Here are some pictures below.

Thanks for following my blog these past 2 weeks. I hope I didn’t bore you. It’s been two of the best weeks of my life! I’m excited to look back on these memories and be able to reminisce about my days “back in Nam”.


P.S. The featured image for this blog post is the traditional Ao Dais provided to us that we will be wearing to our farewell dinner! Anyway,

Over and out.


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