My fellow scholars and I visited the factory of one of Adidas’ suppliers, Laiyih Group, a footwear production company. The company is based in Taiwan, but has a factory in Ho Chi Minh City and other parts of the world.

We visited the factory in May along with Hinrich Foundation Education and Training Coordinator Tara Phan and Adidas Product Creation Process Manager Garry Nguyen.

A factory tour of LaiYih, one of Adidas’ suppliers 1
The group poses in front of the Laiyih factory in Ho Chi Minh City.

The session started with a presentation on the early years of the company and its efforts to be eco-conscious and sustainable, which I found very interesting. For instance, the company plants trees around the area to counter air pollution and recycles water that can be reused by firefighters.

After this presentation, we were split into two groups to see the actual production lines.

A factory tour of LaiYih, one of Adidas’ suppliers 2
Mr. Neo Chin Eng, Laiyih’s HR manager, talks to the group about the company’s beginnings.

Sewing was the first task of the first production line, which had a quality control station at the end. The second production line was dedicated to cutting, assembling and drying heels. At this section, the unnecessary parts were cut off, and the shoes were taken to a heating room to dry. These then go through the final production lines of lacing, packaging and storage.

The last part of the tour took place at the third floor, where we observed the color printing and automated cutting processes. We then headed back to the meeting room with Mr. Neo Chin Eng, Laiyih’s HR manager. We talked about what we learned and even had the chance to ask Mr. Neo all our questions.

A factory tour of LaiYih, one of Adidas’ suppliers 3
The scholars learn how automated cutting machines work.

The factory tour might have only lasted for a few hours, but I had gained new knowledge and was able to apply what I learned during lectures in school. This experience was highly valuable to me, and I am thankful to HF, Adidas and Laiyih for this rare opportunity.

About the author – Ho Hin Hein (Hugo)
A factory tour of LaiYih, one of Adidas’ suppliers 4

Hugo was awarded the Hinrich Foundation Global Trade Leader Scholarship 2017 to pursue his Master’s degree in Global Production and Engineering Management at Vietnamese-German University (VGU), co-sponsored by the Hinrich Foundation and adidas Myanmar.