Touring Vietnam with WACKER ON WHEELS - Wacker Chemie AG

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Touring Vietnam with

When Bui Dang Khoa drives up to the construction site in his truck, at first the workers are surprised. “WACKER đồng hành cùng xây dựng” is written in white letters on the orange rear panels of the van. It is Vietnamese for “WACKER on Wheels.” Their eyes widen even further when Khoa, wearing a blue polo shirt and white helmet, opens the rear door and a complete demo lab appears behind him.

Bui Dang Khoa is always looking for new ways of using the WOW mobile laboratory. This young engineer has plenty of ideas up his sleeve.

This mobile demo lab is a clever and innovative idea for the emerging market in Vietnam. “WACKER on Wheels” features a top-notch equipped truck presenting application examples and hand-on demonstrations of polymer-modified construction materials, such as tile adhesives, self-leveling flooring compounds and skim coats. Thirty-three-year-old Khoa, who heads this project, has been running various road-shows through major Vietnamese cities since the second half of 2013. To date, he has visited more than 20 construction sites, various educational institutions, customers, distributors, and other decision makers in the construction industry. The responses are always very enthusiastic, he reports: “This is the first time they have seen something like this.”

Khoa’s hometown is Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, where WACKER has its regional office staffed by 8 employees. The city, a colorful and bustling metropolis that functions as the country’s economic hub, is home to some eight million people. Given the size of the city, there are still comparably few cars on the road. Instead, there are far more scooters than cars on the boulevards flanked by palm trees. Khoa, too, is the proud owner of a dark-blue scooter.

At the end of January, Vietnam celebrates Tết Nguyên Đán, the New Year according to the moon calendar. Many young people travel back to the countryside at this time to be with their families. It can be a long journey because this coastal country is shaped like a long “S” winding along the Pacific for a distance of 3,000 kilometers. The quality of the highways has yet to catch up with the momentum of the economy as Vietnam continues to develop. Khoa is optimistic about the future: the market is growing fast and so is WACKER in Vietnam.

When Bui Dang Khoa (left) drives up to the construction site with the mobile laboratory, at first the workers can’t believe their eyes.

He recently attended a training program in Shanghai and China’s development made a deep impression on him. Together with the city-state of Singapore, these are two excellent examples of the progress in the region. Khoa knows Singapore well, because that’s where WACKER Chemicals South Asia has its headquarters: He worked on preparing and executing the WOW project together with the local team there.

The approach is so novel that Khoa often has difficulties arranging appointments because, for example, the project managers cannot imagine the concept of a mobile lab. “They always ask: “What do you want to sell?” and I have to patiently explain the idea.” WACKER pro-actively penetrates all local markets with their products, supported by a network of Technical Centers in the region. Showing and/or explaining the benefits of modern building products is one example of intensifying and creating awareness of new developments in the construction industry. The WOW concept goes even one step further under the motto “if the customer can’t come to us, we will go to the customer”, explaining why Khoa is always on the move.

At the beginning of 2014, Khoa was promoted to sales manager. He continues to look for new ways of putting WOW to use. He has now started to intensify his network with architects who are in the position to influence project specifications and can accelerate awareness in entire construction industry accordingly. The time is right for change and growth, and this is exactly what 2014, The Year of the Horse, is expected to bring to Asia.