Advancing local capacity – Key to seamless production

13:53 | 15/09/2021 Science - Technology

As a part of its localization strategy, GE has been reinforcing trainings and technology transformation in Vietnam over the years. The strategy proves to be heading towards the right direction when the pandemic happened. While foreign experts’ movement was restricted, the Vietnamese crew has managed to ensure a smooth production for highly digital facilities.

At GE Hai Phong – one of the seven GE brilliant factories in the world, local employees perform their tasks effectively and efficiently. This is a prime example to show the effectiveness of combining international tech platforms with domestic resources.

Innovatively overcoming challenges

A normal working day for Dinh Huu Hoang, Facility & Maintenance Manager of GE Renewable Energy Hai Phong, usually begins with a meeting with the production team. This is the most efficient way to review the overall scope of work and provide effective solutions.

As line of defence for his department, Hoang tries his best to ensure that the machines and systems operate smoothly and achieve maximum efficiency. Before the pandemic, GE Hai Phong’s maintenance team had received the help of foreign experts for some specific machines. However, amid travel restrictions, it is challenging for these experts to come immediately, thus Hoang and his team had to learn and to find new solutions for machinery tasks.

advancing local capacity key to seamless production

A learning session at GE Hai Phong

As a highly digital facility, GE Hai Phong has about 500 machines, many of which are specialised ones designed to suit each customer’s requirements. The facility has changed its machinery system every 1-2 years to meet the needs of its customers, reducing a third of the time compared to before. To adapt flexibly, the FM team is required to constantly update new technology and come up with adaptive solutions that fit the context, according to Hoang. When tinkering by themselves, the Vietnamese team can get a grasp about the operating mechanisms of new machines. Instead of repairing, the FM department focuses on incident prevention. Additionally, the team also promotes automation among all employees.

advancing local capacity key to seamless production
Dinh Huu Hoang, Facility & Maintenance Manager of GE Renewable Energy Hai Phong

“Innovation is at the core of GE’s operations, and this is what we talk about every day. The COVID-19 pandemic is an obstacle but also an opportunity for local employees to improve their skills, accelerate tech applications, and adapt to the Fourth Industrial Revolution trend. We use the instruction videos for self-installation and then train Vietnamese staffs to operate and maintain. By actively updating technology during the operation, many initiatives have been brought up in redesigning the system or creating new systems to fit the production context”, Hoang shared.

Many innovative ideas proposed by the FM department have further helped GE Renewable Energy Hai Phong improve productivity and reduce costs, while also protecting the environment.

For example, in 2019, the FM department collaborated with the IT team to successfully build a maintenance support software for the GE Hai Phong plant. Previously, the maintenance department did not have a data centre as well as operation management software, so they encountered many obstacles. After more than a year of researching and testing, the system has operated smoothly, bringing many advantages to the facility.

In another case, when installing new equipment without the help of foreign experts, the technical team strives to research day and night to find new solutions, ensure production and, at the same time, save costs for the factory.

“For example, when the facility had to install a million-dollar grinder without the foreign expert’s help, we were really worried. However, thanks to the continuous learning efforts, the technical team has successfully installed it. Up to now, this job no longer needs foreign expert to be here physically,” Hoang explained.

“People often think that this is a tedious job when we talk about machines. But for us, each situation is very different, not repetitive, and always has its own and different ways to solve problems in the most thorough and effective way. In this environment, I am very proud to work with creative and innovative colleagues to bring value to the department as well as the plant.”

Key to seamless production

The initiative, creativity, and unwavering determination in difficult situations to maintain the production of the employees at GE’s Hai Phong plant are what makes the localisation and local capacity building strategy a success. Over the years, GE’s localisation strategy has proved to be very effective. Ultimately, GE does not only employ fully Vietnamese staff but also trains employees to GE expects.

“Previously, I worked in production. The nature of that work was completely different from maintenance. Simply put, from requiring other departments to ensure smooth production, I’m now working as a production service provider specialised in machinery. This is a huge challenge. But for GE, this is not something uncommon. All employees have the opportunity to try different positions and different challenges. GE empowers me to make decisions in this new area. It was not an easy task but with the help of my colleagues and personal efforts, I quickly adapt myself in the new job, ensuring production efficiency for the plant,” Hoang added.

Along with Hoang, his entire team is now being able to control and manage the machines and assembly lines in the plant. Despite many challenges imposed by the pandemic, GE Hai Phong has still being able to launch new products. The plant ensures that exports of wind turbine components and mechanical products remained seamless to serve the global production of renewable energy.

According to Pham Hong Son, President of GE Vietnam, GE Hai Phong significantly contributes to the overall success of GE and serves as a key example of combining international technology platforms with domestic resources.

“GE has given special attention to the Hai Phong facility and our Vietnamese staffs. The entire staffs of GE Hai Phong will be qualified and capable of controlling machines and assembly lines after proper trainings. This is the outcome of GE’s extensive training programme that focuses on uplifting the young and talented generation of workforce,” said Son.