Today, we visited VSIP, an industrial park with its ownership and management split nearly evenly between Vietnam and Singapore (the ratio is around 49:51). Vietnam is responsible for the physical land and the township and structure planning, while Singapore supplies things like energy and water. Each country plays to their individual strengths which is what makes this partnership so beneficial. Driving through the park, I could see how extremely successful VSIP has been. This company is responsible for industrial parks that house businesses around Vietnam, including high tech manufacturing companies such as II-VI.

II-VI is a company full of highly skilled and thoroughly trained employees. They have over 10,000 employees in positions ranging from entry level to management. For every job, they have a training blueprint which outlines the necessary skills for an employee to learn. Even after an employee is trained, they’ll have regular testing done to make sure their skills are still intact and to recertify their training completion. At the beginning of II-VI’s move to Vietnam, they had an extremely high number of employees quitting after receiving many months of training. To ensure that turnover rates remain as low as possible, II-VI has now acclimated to Vietnam’s professional culture and has learned how to make its workplace desirable to employees. The reasons II-VI decided to expand to Vietnam are plentiful, but the primary focus was on the economic opportunities it could offer. Vietnam had the lowest labor cost in all of Asia at the time and offered tremendous tax benefits (such as charging no tax for the first four years of profitability!). II-VI produces thermoelectric products, precision optics, high-precision ceramic and metal-matrix composite components – none of which are unique products in and of themselves but they produce versions that are groundbreaking and unique for that reason. I was extremely excited to visit II-VI because it was undoubtedly the most engineering-friendly site visit of the trip!

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