Taking over the business of his father, Dinh Hong Ky, CEO of Secoin Joint Stock Company place the Company in the global market through high quality tiles. “Always produce differentiating products that no one has done until now”, that is a Blue Ocean in which the company and the businessman successfully creates for himself.
With you, what makes the success for Secoin today?
In Secoin, there are 3 slogans throughout the over 25-year operation as the foundation for the success of the Company. The first one is “For an enterprise of leading brain”. From the very first days of the establishment, Board of Directors has concentrated on building an enterprise on the value of knowledge.
The second is “Reaching beyond the country’s border to exploit the local potential”. The target “reaching beyond the country’s border” was conducted in the early 1990s, when Secoin was in significant difficulty. Secoin sent selected staff to Europe and other countries. The process of “reaching beyond the country’s border” helped Secoin grow up and identify their own way in the transfer of non-burnt building material technologies; offer over 50 turn-key factories all over the country. Recently, “reaching beyond the country’s border” is increasingly identified when the tiles branded Secoin are placed to 45 countries over 5 continents.
The third is “Always original so as to be the pioneer of all times”. This is also the mission throughout all manufacturing activities in Secoin. Our strategy is always innovative in manufacturing product with unique form, special combination between modern technique and long-term tradition of Vietnam.
Competing in the building material industry in Vietnam is fierce, how do you make your “blue ocean”?
The world of building material is large and diversified. We do not join in the type of building materials which are fundamental and confronted with the high competition like others investment in cement, steel, ceramic tile …, but we are in an open market place which is the non-burnt building materials. In this field, we always make pioneer target which means Secoin make the first and brand new products in the market.
Being the first leader, we accept to face with the early uncertainties, but when obtaining the place in the market, the company’s position is importantly sustainable. Thus, our products are chosen to utilize in the largest projects of the country and exported to many different countries. For this reason, we are honor to receive the name - our colleagues and the market give for us – “King of non-burnt tiles”, “King of outdoor tiles”, were evaluated as the pioneer by Misnistry of Construction and Building Material Associate and contribute to create the non-burnt building material industry in Vietnam.
Secoin’s products are in 45 countries over the world. When expanding the activities to overseas market, in your opinion, which are important things to help the Company compete with the competitors?
When going global, the significant thing is that we have to position our products. It is very difficult if we compete with the world by airplanes, cars, computers, steel … But if we have a big brand for the strong products of Vietnam like rice, coffee, fine arts, tile …, we have our own value in the world. Do not try reach to big fancy things and lose own strengths.
For example, for the field of producing tiles, our competitors are big companies with the long-term tradition in Mexico, Morroco, Chile, Tunisia, Brazil, … To compete with them, apart from quality, delivery time (the essential must-have elements) our strengths are giving brain into each products, utilizing the craftsmanship of Vietnamese tile artists to make unique tile products, differentiation can feel at the very first time. Besides that, Secoin tiles are the point of “capture the value” of traditional history of Vietnam and the Asian and Western beauty, suitable with the value of classical and modern architecture. Moreover, we have local skillful labor force and reasonable cost to offer the competitive price in the global market.
Following the above elements, Secoin’s tiles gain the competitive advantage. In the encaustic cement tile field, Secoin has been evaluated as the manufacturer with the world largest producing scale. A big company in America operating in the tile business has asked us who our competitors are and our answer is “Our competitor is us”. In recent 3 year period, the orders have always been over our production capacity. We have to overcome ourselves to satisfy increasing needs all over the world to maintain the leading position.
Could you please share your experiences successful for bringing your products to overseas market?
To be successful in overseas, we must understand what they want and what we have. We have to manufacture the products they needs, not the things we like.
There is a time period when Vietnamese tiles was seen as a low-class and cheap products, only used by low income people. However, in the perspective of developed countries, they are hand-made products with natural beauty and high artistic innovative value. So that, when we confidently develop this products following “their own style” and bring advanced technologies to make perfect quality tile, the result is all products are welcomed widely.
This is the reason why 30% of recent outdoor building materials in Japan is artistic outdoor pavers of Secoin, 85% of encaustic tile segment in Israel belongs to Secoin, pool paver of Secoin has widely in 5 states of Australia and 80% of encaustic tile brand in Europe is produced by Secoin. The number of international exporting markets will not stop at 45 and be surely increasing.
Profitable rate of building material industry following many enterprise is very low, even loss in exportation. How do you solve this problem?
This is right in the building material field; the profitable rate over the capital is not high due to the competition of many companies for same products. Supply is over demand, a cruel competition makes several companies have to sell under the cost price that is understandable.
In Secoin, we always bring unique and differentiated products to the market. Although the segment is quite small, we are entirely able to make profitable products, even extremely high profitable ones when there are few competitors and our products are unique.
To gain competitive advantage and effectivity, we do not make the best products with the cheapest price, but we make them with the most optimum rate between our price and quality.
There are some suggestions regarding to purchasing shares of Secoin but you rejected. So, what is your long-term developing orientation for Secoin?
Secoin is a joint stock company, but the core value is the family company. The main owners are our family members. With the successful lessons of many family companies in the world, we keep the family company model as the core now and forever. However, we expand the company model for our partners and staff participating to contribute for the achievements of Secoin. Secoin’s point of view in selecting partners is this partner who has truly contributed to the activities of production and business of Secoin, not basically as the financial investment partners. We do not intend to change Secoin to become a public company.
Recently, there is a long-term traditional family company in Singapore as our distributor who wants to purchase stocks of Secoin but we suggest Secoin should not be listed on stock market and keep the core value of trational family company in the tile field. They think that is the fundamental for sustainable development of Secoin. In the future, Secoin will maintain the core activities to produce non-burnt building materials manufacture – friendly environmental products.
To catch this dream, beside the existing steps, what are the new ones Secoin intends to do?
The Secoin’s products are hand-made but management systems are built following the international standards. This is an important thing to work with the global distribution groups. Recently, Secoin have signed the global distribution contract a large global group has an Asian head office in Hong Kong.
Current international business is not only a traditional way of selling and buying, but also focus on building the partnership based on a series of global value. We create strategy for each country, following that, our partners and us build a series of value as the chains linked tightly together from manufacturers to end-users, including logistics, distributors, retailers, design consultants, building own brand in each country … For that, we are able to set up the business network which has both globalization in the flat world and sustainability over the generations.
Translation from The Stock Investment magazine, dated October 10, 2014