“The potential of technological innovations to agribusiness is immense. It makes sense to move now and claim first player gains while benefiting the society and the environment.”

Captains of Industry Leadership Interview: David John Whitehead, Chairman — Mavin Group

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Interview by: Tu Gioi Thieu

Captains of Industry Leadership Interview: David John Whitehead, Chairman — Mavin Group 1

 

Agriculture is one of the key industries in Vietnam. What are the top three opportunities and challenges agribusinesses currently facing?

Vietnam’s advantages – favorable climate, globalization, rising use of technology – have contributed to the rapid progress of the agriculture industry over the past few decades. Today, a fast-growing middle class increasingly sophisticated about food choices is intensifying demand for safe and hygienic food.

Agribusinesses making the most of this backdrop with modern-day innovations and technologies will thrive. We need to look at how to redefine business models, reengineer business processes, and reinvent the way our workforces work to stay relevant for the future.

Our greatest challenge is to be a sustainable yet developed agriculture industry. That extends into resource use efficiency, farmer welfare, food safety and quality. As a sector, we’ve made excellent progress but also raised concerns about sustainability. Our major task ahead is to generate more economic value for the value chain with less resources.

 

Please tell us a little bit about Mavin Group, its key areas of focus and growth ambitions.

When first developing the concept for a leading agribusiness in Vietnam, we realized we needed control over our operations with a vertically integrated system – Farm to Table concept. So, started out as a small animal feed miller in 2004, we began to work towards our full integrated supply chain vision like today.

Mavin is one of the very limited enterprises that manage to successfully implemented the “From Farm to Table” supply chain in Vietnam. We supply to the farmers feed, piglets, veterinary medicine as well as taking care of their output as input for certified meat processing factory.

We’re also the first enterprise in Vietnam to implement highly automat- ed system in all the production process to increase productivity and limit the negative effects on the environment. Our products are safe, clean and traceable.

2020 has produced a set of challenges around COVID-19, but we have minimized the effect of the disease on our people and our operations. We have imported duck and chicken genetics and will grow our poultry farming and breeding businesses.

We are looking forward to the opportunities and challenges in 2021 and beyond. Our ambitions are to further develop our business in Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and stay well within the top 10 agribusinesses in Vietnam.

 

“Digital transformation” and “Industry 4.0” are buzzwords frequently making the headlines. Few, however, relate them to agribusinesses. Mavin Group is one of the pioneers in Vietnam’s agriculture industry to pursue digital transformation. Why is this something Mavin has decided to do now instead of delaying for a few more years?

Globally, industries are disrupted because of digital transformation. The agriculture industry will experience a similar disruption. It’s just a matter of time. Digital technologies are transforming production and efficiency across the world, including livestock agriculture.

Businesses willing to innovate can benefit from connected farms, new production equipment, automated control systems. These offer increased productivity, higher cost savings, better quality, and improved environmental protection.

Our Digital Transformation program will be carried out from 2019 to 2023, and includes 4 key pillars: ERP, cloud computing, digitalization and smart manufacturing, with a goal of transforming Mavin into Vietnam’s most innovative agribusiness in the next 5 years. In 2019, the program was kicked-started with SAP S/4HANA project at Mavin Feed. From 2020 onwards, ERP implementation will be expanded into Mavin Group’s other businesses such as livestock, food, animal health, and human capital management.

The potential of technological innovations to agribusiness is immense. It makes sense to move now and claim first player gains while benefiting the society and the environment.

 

Mavin Group partnered with SAP to build a firm foundation for your sustainable digital transformation and growth plan. Please elaborate on this partnership.

Our digital transformation ambition and future growth plans center on People, Platform and Technology as key success factors. SAP offers a clear value proposition around these:

People.

Alignment in terms of strategy and execution across our executive levels: This facilitates open communication we know is critical for successful digital transformations.

Platform.

Value from the digital agribusiness platform based on SAP S/4HANA: We see how it can help us operate with less resources while generating greater outcomes.

Technology.

SAP is an innovation leader: This means access to next generation technologies to help us innovate and grow.
We also wanted to ensure that whatever technologies we choose will allow us to be ready for tomorrow’s business needs. Questions we asked included: Can a new technology grow with our organization? Can it support our existing business processes while we develop new ones in a fast-changing digital economy? Will it meet the expectations of our customer, employees, and partners? Will it help us unlock new value? Having asked some tough questions, we decided that SAP S/4 HANA ERP is the right choice for us. Mavin’s Feed ERP implementation went live after 199 days but the partnership does not stop here. This successful implementation sets the foundation for Mavin’s future deployments to our other business areas.

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