Since Sabeco embarked on an ambitious transformation agenda to strengthen its
operational capabilities and modernise its governance system, the corporation has started to reap positive
The new packaging of Bia Saigon of Sabeco captures the optimism and desire for global recognition of Vietnamese
In order to ensure further growth and align with its continuing transformation process,
Saigon Beer-Alcohol-Beverage Corporation (Sabeco) has adopted a fresh management approach as part of its long-term
Specifically, the company strives to combine the deep local knowledge of its Vietnamese
executives who have strong insights into local production, marketing, and supply chain with the international
experience of its foreign executives to evolve towards unprecedented success.
Bennett Neo, general director of Sabeco, shared, “We are in the process of transforming
our work culture into one that combines deep local insight, pride in our company’s heritage, and respect for
Vietnamese culture with openness to global best practices and innovations. By doing this, we can strengthen our
foothold in Vietnam, and once we are ready, expand our presence in the global market.”
Tapping into local prowess
Admitting in an interview earlier this year that its brand portfolio was “all over the
place”, the company’s top leader shared that one of their immediate priorities was to clearly differentiate their
flagship brand – Bia Saigon – from competitors and target a very defined segment.
Tasked to help this turn-around is Sabeco’s deputy general director Hoang Dao Hiep, who
is responsible for planning and executing the company’s marketing and communication strategies with an aim of
enabling Sabeco to stand on par with contemporary requirements.
Hiep is known as a leading expert in marketing and management with over 20 years of
experience working in Vietnam and regional markets.
Meanwhile, deputy general director Lam Du An is another key local executive; he is
responsible for maintaining the quality of the company’s production. With 30 years of experience working for Sabeco,
he helps ensure that Sabeco continues to produce the best beer possible.
Under An’s watch, the company’s Bia Saigon Lager recently won the gold medal in the
Smallpack Lager Category at the 2019 International Brewing Awards & International Cider Awards (IBA), one of the
most prestigious awards in the global beer and cider industry. By getting this recognition, Sabeco and its Bia
Saigon brand proved that a Vietnamese product can compete on the international level.
During the year of transformation, Sabeco also appointed Nguyen Hoang Giang as General director of Satraco in charge of developing the supply chain. Giang brings with him 30 years of experience in logistics
and supply chain, which helps him strengthen the company’s operations.
Hiep, An, and Giang are part of the Vietnamese contingent in the company’s Board of
Management (BoM), and help ensure that Sabeco and its Bia Saigon brand retain their Vietnamese essence even as they
undergo continuous modernisation.
Speaking about the challenges in transforming a state-owned enterprise and its
well-known brand, he emphasised that the key is to understand the evolving tastes and needs of Vietnamese consumers.
In line with this, the southern brewer recently re-launched its flagship Bia Saigon
brand as part of the initiative to cement its leadership position in the marketplace. Bia Saigon’s rejuvenation was
kicked-off with the introduction of a new packaging design highlighting its dragon logo, a symbol long associated
with the company as well as Vietnam itself.
“Improving Bia Saigon's image is one of the necessary investments to ensure Sabeco’s
continued success. As part of our portfolio management, Bia Saigon will strengthen its affinity with millennial
customers by capturing their optimism and patriotism. This will help the brand continue to be the pride of Vietnam,”
Applying global practices
International experience, meanwhile, helps to further elevate the company and meet
global standards. In Sabeco, this is brought by Neo whose vast global experience, especially in the beer industry,
has allowed him to introduce innovations in the company’s operations, production capabilities, supply chain
management, and sales and marketing approach.
Neo is assisted in this by his fellow Singaporean colleagues – Teo Hong Keng and Melvyn
Ng – foreign BoM members who bring to Sabeco their extensive international experience in finance and sales,
respectively. The two are experts in their fields and both contribute to uplifting the company’s operations to
Employee engagement is another area where Neo introduced enhancements, specifically to
create a fair and encouraging environment as well as an empowering work culture.
|With its goal of becoming the pride of Vietnam, the
company seeks to
continue leveraging both local and international experts to preserve the values of Sabeco and its brands
while constantly adapting to the evolving market and business environment.
“Sabeco employees are empowered to make critical decisions with confidence and take full
advantage of opportunities that they believe can help us grow as a company,” shared Neo. “At the same time, we have
worked to create a more open and transparent culture as well as a competitive and globally-benchmarked approach to
compensation to keep our employees motivated.”
These innovations have already started to positively impact the company’s performance as
can be seen in its first-half financial results.
In the first half of 2019, Sabeco’s revenue reached VND18,424 billion ($801 million), an
8.5 per cent increase on-year. Its profit, meanwhile, stood at VND2,820 billion ($122.6 million), a 15.2 per cent
increase on year.
Parallel to these operational improvements, the company has also boosted the presence of
the Bia Saigon brand – and with it, Vietnam – on the international stage. Most notably, the Bia Saigon brand became
the official shirt sponsor of the English premier league football team Leicester City last year and has also
sponsored the Vietnamese national football team.
In addition to the elevated image of the Bia Saigon brand, Sabeco has also been
recognised as a strong presence in the region. Most recently, the company was among the seven Vietnamese
corporations named on Forbes Asia’s Best Over a Billion list, which comprises of the 200 top-performing listed
companies in the Asia-Pacific region which have posted revenues above $1 billion.
Notably, besides the common metrics such as profitability, revenue, and debt to equity
ratio, the prestigious list is also based on the projected growth of the company in the next five years. To appear
on the list, firms must experience consistent growth while also showing their potential for future expansion.
By making it to the list of biggest corporations in Asia, Sabeco once again affirmed its
leadership position in the F&B industry as the largest brewer in Vietnam.
The shared vision for Sabeco’s growth
The company’s continued success is due to the efforts of the whole BoM – both its
Vietnamese and foreign members – and their shared focus on Sabeco’s seven strategic pillars: sales, brand,
production, supply chain, cost, human resources, and board.
Despite their differences in background, knowledge, and expertise, each BoM member
shares the same vision for Sabeco – to become a company that is continually evolving.
As a team, Sabeco members achieved numerous prestigious awards
To help achieve its notable accolades, Sabeco has adopted a sustainable development
model to guide its long-term strategy and its quest to continue bringing pride to Vietnam. This approach is referred
to as the company’s 4C Commitment: Consumption, Conservation, Country, and Culture.
Expounding on this, Sabeco aims to become a partner of the government and other
stakeholders in promoting responsible alcohol consumption while enhancing consumer drinking experience; contributes
to preserving and protecting the environment; helps power Vietnam’s overall development through its work in the
beverage industry; and increases appreciation for Vietnamese cuisine and culture.
With its goal of becoming the pride of Vietnam, the company seeks to continue leveraging
both local and international experts to preserve the values of Sabeco and its brands while constantly adapting to
the evolving market and business environment.
Apart from contributing to the growth of the country’s economy, Sabeco is set to become
an organisation that cultivates and nurtures Vietnamese talents; contributing to the sustainable growth of
Vietnam;and accompanying the country in its general development trajectory going forward.
Source: Vietnam Investment Review