Thanks to the trade war between the US and China, Vietnam is emerging as what some are calling, the ‘next China’. The country has progressively ramped up its manufacturing capabilities in efforts to attract foreign investors.
And it’s working. To date, Vietnam is enjoying a boost in services and exports, which should drive its economic growth to 7%. Germany-headquartered FRIWO is one such company that found opportunity in Vietnam.
Present in all of the world’s key markets from Europe to Asia and the US, FRIWO chose Vietnam to offer its customers the best of both worlds – German manufacturing expertise with favourable manufacturing conditions.
“This allows us to serve our customers best,” says FRIWO Vietnam General Director Artur Petrosjan. “Our German know-how combined with Vietnam’s attractive production conditions allows us to be price competitive while ensuring German quality – something that is very important to our customers.”
FRIWO is a world-class innovative system supplier of smart power supply units and drive solutions for the tool, industrial, medical and e-mobility sectors. In 1971, it created the world’s first plug-in power supply unit.
And the company has since produced well over a billion power supply solutions, gaining it leading technological expertise and a winning position in a very saturated market. “We need to be innovative to be around in the future,” Artur says.
“We have made great progress in 2019 towards our goal of further developing our service portfolio, especially with regard to intelligent digital drive control systems in the field of e-mobility. Through integrated hardware and software solutions, we can now offer our customers new application possibilities.
As a supplier of innovative drive technology systems, we provide all components required for a modern electric drive train from a single source – including the necessary control and service software. Our goal is to offer users an incomparable driving experience.
“There is a lot of competition, and our competitors are not sleeping. But the competition is good for us. It pushes us to work harder to make FRIWO Vietnam the best.”
The company began building up its R&D department in Vietnam almost two years ago. Under the lead of a German engineer, FRIWO’s employees are trained to handle all customer requests.
“Innovation is very important to our business,” he shares.
“As such, our R&D department is quite big. And we work with our OEM customers from a very early stage to innovate new products, continually expanding our portfolio. They really listen to our input because of our reputation. FRIWO has been developing power supplies for more than 50 years, so it’s clear we know what we’re doing.”
Innovation is very important to our business.
Artur, on the other hand, is relatively new to the business. He started with the company in 2018 as Business Operations Manager at the headquarters in Ostbevern and quickly moved up the ladder, earning him the opportunity to run FRIWO Vietnam.
“They asked me if I could imagine moving to Vietnam to run the facilities there. I always wanted to live abroad, so it was an easy decision to make,” he shares.
“My wife and I have been here for just over a year now and everything is going well. The task here is very challenging, but I see a bright future for FRIWO Vietnam.”
Part of that future is a stronger workforce. Artur plans to add around 500 people to FRIWO Vietnam, growing it to roughly 2,000 employees. Furthermore, he’s overseeing the Group’s newest objective, FRIWO in Transformation, which will move everything related to power supply that is currently produced in Poland, China and even Germany to Vietnam.
“We call it FIT,” he says. “Right now, my target is to make sure this transformation process is successful, by getting FRIWO Vietnam ready to produce everything currently coming from China, Poland and Germany. I need to make sure this process runs smoothly so there’s no impact on our end customers.”
He’s also looking to streamline operations. Currently, the company operates out of three different facilities, but Artur hopes to soon whittle that number down to one.
“Moving into one big facility will not only make it easier operationally, but will also give us more production area, setting us up for future growth,” he explains.
FRIWO’s suppliers are also critical to its future growth, which is why Artur is such a strong believer in creating long-term relationships. “I have a slogan that really sums up FRIWO’s key to success: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together,’’’ he says.
“We have very long-term relationships with our key suppliers. They support us and we support them, so they are extremely good relationships. For true success, you can’t do it alone. You must work with your team, your customers and your suppliers.”