Minh Long I Co. Ltd., a leading Vietnamese designer and manufacturer of ceramics for markets including France, Japan and the U.S., wanted to transform its IT infrastructure to expand its business and global market reach. By working with Microsoft, Minh Long was able to implement effective management and administration systems with Azure and Office 365 — paving the way for the company to maximize Vietnam’s rapidly advancing infrastructure.
Maintaining traditional principles while embracing technology
For over 45 years, Minh Long has been designing and producing high-quality ceramics, continuing an artisanal legacy spanning four generations. By following to the traditional principles and artistic vision of the company’s founder, Mr. Ly Ngoc Minh, the company has steadily grown to become one of Vietnam’s leading ceramics producers — reaching markets in Asia, Europe and North America.
While the techniques behind the creation of Minh Long’s world-class ceramics have grown increasingly complex over time — so too has the IT infrastructure technology and software needed to run the company’s management and administrative processes efficiently. “Back when I first started working for the company, we only had three computers, which were not networked and ran Microsoft Word and Corel Office Perfect,” says Ly Huy Sang, Deputy General Director, Minh Long I Co. Ltd. “At the time, we realized that we needed the latest software to maximize the effectiveness of technology, and from that point on, we began investing heavily in computerization and software.”
Through investment in technology, Minh Long was able to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of daily activities with the latest hardware and software solutions — enabling it to achieve consistent business growth. “We eventually established a server system, adopted Microsoft Office Suite, created a database with Microsoft Access,” says Huy Sang.”
However, as Minh Long continued on its journey towards becoming a multinational organization, it became increasingly apparent that it was starting to outgrow its existing IT infrastructure — it needed solutions that improved productivity, convenience, and security. “While ceramics production depends on effective techniques and technology, running a company effectively depends on having the right management system, especially information management,” says Huy Sang. “This is a big challenge for our company.”
Dealing with cracks in the IT infrastructure environment
To create ceramics such as porcelain, expansion, “compatibility” and “fit” are forces that must work together to create a flawless piece of functional ware. If a heated ceramic object taken from a kiln is coated with a glaze that cannot expand seamlessly over the surface and bond with the material — crack lines or flaking can occur — impacting the product’s strength and appearance. Minh Long was facing a similar situation with its previous IT environment as “crack” lines were beginning to show due to business growth.First, the company’s use of a variety of email and collaboration systems proved too difficult for employees to synchronize; reducing workplace efficiency. Second, the company used on-premises servers and third-party software for its ERP system, which was not cost-efficient. Third, Minh Long’s database was running on Microsoft Access, which could only manage small to medium levels of data, reducing the ERP’s efficiency. To transform its IT infrastructure, Minh Long needed digital solutions fit for a multinational.
First, the company’s use of a variety of email and collaboration systems proved too difficult for employees to synchronize; reducing workplace efficiency. Second, the company used on-premises servers and third-party software for its ERP system, which was not cost-efficient. Third, Minh Long’s database was running on Microsoft Access, which could only manage small to medium levels of data, reducing the ERP’s efficiency. To transform its IT infrastructure, Minh Long needed digital solutions fit for a multinational.
“There are two important things we needed to consider when building up an IT system — the productivity of the system and information security for optimal system efficiency,” relates Huy Sang. “For these reasons, we chose an inclusive solution from Microsoft that was synchronized in one platform, which reduces the possibility of errors because of better compatibility.”
Office 365 was selected for its ability to synchronize email and collaboration seamlessly. Microsoft’s .Net framework, Visual Studio and Azure were selected to help Minh Long maximize its ERP’s effectiveness. Microsoft SQL Server was selected to support the company’s need for a secure and cost-effective database solution. “To develop Minh Long into a multinational, we needed to strengthen our management and administration systems… and compared to traditional systems, Office 365 was far more effective and efficient,” says Huy Sang.
Synchronized email and improved collaboration
With Minh Long using an assorted variety of email systems and productivity applications — “simple” processes such as checking email, managing a calendar or sharing files became a huge challenge. However, since adopting Office 365 as its synchronized platform for email and collaboration, Minh Long has seen a dramatic improvement in productivity. “Staff are empowered to check email on any device, at any time, with 100% email synchronization,” says Huy Sang. “We no longer had to manage email manually by downloading and copying emails from one computer to another as employees could check and reply to emails from a single, shared account — an amazing feature.”
Cost-effective ERP management and security on the cloud
Minh Long needed a cost-effective and manageable way to maximize its ERP system’s effectiveness. The company transitioned from its third-party ERP system to building its own with Visual Studio to run on Microsoft’s .Net framework, providing cost-effective ERP management and improved productivity. Minh Long is also in the process of migrating its entire ERP to the cloud with Azure, improving its security while reducing its CAPEX on on-premises servers. “In the near future, we want to move our entire ERP to Azure for convenience,” says Huy Sang. “Although Vietnam has limited infrastructure, we expect local internet providers to upgrade from 3G to 4G networks and increase transmission bandwidth very soon.”
Secure and efficient database solution
Minh Long’s Access database just wasn’t adequate enough to support the company’s growing business and data needs. After evaluating several market-leading solutions, Microsoft SQL Server was selected for its cost-effectiveness, stability, and security — enabling Minh Long to quickly and easily access key data such as department reports on product damage during the manufacturing process. “Having an information management system that updates automatically and is accessible reduces human errors and improves our manufacturing efficiency,” says Huy Sang.
“Having an information management system that updates automatically and is accessible reduces human errors and improves our manufacturing efficiency.”
Ly Huy Sang: Deputy General Director
Minh Long I Co. Ltd.
Source: Customer Stories