Vietnam Business Fastens First New Trading Partner in Canada

“The statement – ‘A Vietnamese business couldn’t produce high quality fasteners for large customers’ motivated me to set up a new fastener production factory in Ba Ria – Vung Tau province in 2018,” said Ms. Pham Thu Mai, Chairperson and CEO of Tung Lam Manufacturing and Trading Company Limited, a small enterprise located in southeastern Vietnam. “I proved that a Vietnamese enterprise could, that my business could. And we could do it quickly.”

Even with investment in new technology, she was still struggling to supply a lead firm, which she needed to do to build her business. Ms. Mai was determined. She had a passion for her business and wanted to prove to her mother that she could turn her dream of owning a growing business reaching international markets into reality.

In October 2018, Ms. Mai signed up with the USAID Linkages for Small and Medium Enterprises (LinkSME) project at Vietnam’s largest international exhibition on machine tools and metalworking. She was eager to learn how USAID was supporting Vietnamese SMEs.

Ms. Pham Thu Mai discussing with Fastener Factory Manager about Tung Lam’s integration into lead firm supply chains. Photo courtesy: USAID LinkSME

Ms. Pham Thu Mai discussing with Fastener Factory Manager about Tung Lam’s integration into lead firm supply chains.
Photo courtesy: USAID LinkSME

After completing a capability assessment with the project in March 2019, Tung Lam was deemed ready as a potential supplier and for introduction to potential buyers through the Vietnam Association of Mechanical Industries (VAMI). Following an ISO 9001 production audit by the LinkSME technical team in June, Tung Lam identified gaps that could negatively impact their ability to produce the quantity and quality of product demanded by the new buyer, including quality management, sub-supplier management, and health, safety and environment issues. A plan for corrective actions was created and addressed. Tung Lam’s well-laid out factory, modern machinery, and experienced personnel convinced Métosak, a Canadian company manufacturing high-quality machine-welded components, to release a first prototype order to Tung Lam. After receiving the customer’s approval on the prototype, Tung Lam established a long-term supply relationship with an expected value of $200,000 per year, replacing the current supplies from China with Tung Lam’s Vietnamese-produced fasteners.

It is the first time that Tung Lam has exported to Canada, thanks to effective technical support from USAID. “It is such a milestone for Tung Lam because supplying Métosak reflects our capability to supply lead firms in supply chains. It is a steppingstone for us to supply many other international firms,” said Ms. Mai. Tung Lam has now added four new employees and four more key customers; manufacturing revenues have tripled. This assistance was facilitated by USAID through a five-year project helping Vietnamese SMEs with the objective of expanding inclusive, market-driven, private sector-led growth.

This story is made possible with the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the sole responsibility of IESC and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.


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