Leading Onwards to a Greener Future with
Zero-Carbon in Machinery

Chien  0:05  
Hello everyone, welcome to a another episode of Spark Your Vision where we invite business leaders from various industries to share with us their experience and insights, trending topics that's currently shaping the business world. So before we begin, let me introduce the team. My name is Chien and I will be the host for today's show, along with two talented co-hosts, Alice and Johnson. Please say hi to everyone.

Alice  0:56
Hi, everyone. I'm Alice.

Johnson  0:58  
Hi, everyone. I'm Johnson.

Chien  1:00  
Without further ado, let me introduce our special guests today. Catherine Huang, the director of the general management division at Victor Taichung. Victor Taichung is one of the leading machine tool builder companies in the world. And unlike many companies that just assemble machines, Victor Taichung has its own foundry allows it to build machine from the ground up using its own casting and spindles. So Catherine, please introduce yourself and also a brief elevator introduction of your company.

Catherine  1:00  
Hello, everyone, I'm Catherine from Victor Taichung. It's a pleasure to be invited to this podcast, I'll have a brief introduction about my company. Basically, we do machinery tools and plastic injection machines, and from like, standardized machines to like Total Solutions nowadays.

Chien  1:48  
Thank you, Catherine. I mean, you and I, we have some common backgrounds, I guess you and I studied abroad, you obviously on the other side of the pond in UK, and I was in the United States. And I believe we both major in the same department, right? We both studied economics when we were in college. Also at the same time, we both have some corporate experience prior to our current experiences. So instead of diving into business aspect of it, let's warm things up a little bit. You know, on a lighter side, as we all know, you're a third generation business leader in a family business with a non-technical background plus a female in a very male-oriented industry, instead of the disadvantages that usually people ask you about. What I actually want to learn about is how has your unique background hopefully will be advantageous in terms of taking Victor Taichung forward in the future.

Catherine  2:44  
I think there are three advantage I want to share about and the first one is we don't really have many female staff, factories, so probably less than 20%. And people usually see it as a disadvantage, but I do you see that as an advantage. Because when you try to ask people, like some questions, they are actually more friendly to you. And then the second one are the things you do good and then they think, obviously, you have to do it in this way. But when you do things not as good as they expected, then they will have some, you know, gossip around and that kind of stuff. So you have to be really self disciplined. So I think that's advantage in a way. Yeah. And then the third one is you actually get a lot of resources, of course that you have to use this resources, like in a good way. If you do so then that really helps like in your business.

Chien  3:37  
No, no, no, you're totally right. Especially like I said, in such a male-oriented industry, and plus your non-technical background, right. I think those are all very complementary to the existing workforce. And so having you joining the company is like a breath of fresh air to some extent.

Yeah. Okay. So as we all know, at least has two or three years due to the pandemic, all the businesses around the world has essentially unaffected that to some extent the business process has changed forever. And Winston Churchill once said in 1940s, towards the end of World War Two, right, so never let a good crisis go to waste. I would definitely call this pandemic a huge crisis. Right. And then plus, furthermore, it's probably a Black Swan. Hopefully, it doesn't happen again in our lifetime, but how has Victor timezone coped with the pandemic? And then furthermore, how has it hopefully in the new normal thrive going forward?

Catherine  4:32  
From my point of view, I think the pandemic it's actually, of course, it's a bad thing for like the whole world. But then for the business world, maybe it's a good thing to speed up all the digital transformation. For our website, we actually do like a visual tool. Yeah, I also do a video showroom. And this enables all the foreign agents and customers to see our new factories and to see our products. And then the second thing is that if we do this platform, then the sells when they go to customer sites, they can actually use this platform to take orders from the customers.

Chien  5:07  
Oh, directly. Okay.

Catherine  5:07  
Yeah, so usually you use like a lot of paperwork. But now you can actually try to order from the iPad. And then I think most importantly, is we need to collect all this data from this platform. For example, if we have the datas for our spare parts, we can know like, which particular spare part is more easily to be damaged.

Chien  5:08  
So it helps your opt, you know, to optimize the inventory and preparation process as well.

Catherine  5:30  
Yeah, because cash flow is very important. So that's what we have been trying to do.

Chien  5:36  
Well, so it looks like you guys, don't let a crisis go to waste. I mean, you guys really took advantage of to sort of upgrade yourself, not only to give the customers a virtual showcase or showroom, giving customers a different experience, right, engaging with you guys virtually during the pandemic. And then furthermore, integrating with the data, right? So you guys are not only, you know, the manual process, but now it's very data-driven.

So prior to Victor Taichung, I know you were actually with Mercedes Benz, right. And you were actually specializing in marketing. And so how has that experience, to some extent, to help you with some of the efforts in Victor Taichung right now? And then furthermore, in terms of the digital marketing, like, what role does it play in the new normal?

Catherine  6:23  
When I first went back to the company, it was about 12 years ago, I spent a lot of time on marketing and branding. And then we didn't have Facebook. So we actually created a Facebook then a couple years ago, I heard that the young people, they don't use Facebook anymore. They use IG, right? So you have IG, okay. And then of course, LinkedIn as well. Okay. And then about two years ago, we started to do this brand reengineering project. Yeah. And we try to look for the difference between the concept of our brand positionings. So in order to find this difference, we spend a lot of time on this project. And then we also have this new corporate film, the idea is based on the Disney's Toy Story, so all the machines are being personified. Yeah. So it's actually quite interesting.

Chien  7:10  
Just to share with you I was actually watching this last night, and my two kids were actually next to me. And they actually enjoyed the film because like I said, that you had really interesting characters names as well as the voiceover. So I think that was very, very creative.

Catherine  7:23  
Yeah, so we have this very famous YouTuber call "I'm serious."

Chien  7:28  

Catherine  7:29  
I don't know any of you heard of them? Chao Ren Zhen Shao Nian?

Chien  7:31  
Okay. Yeah, I'm serious.

Catherine  7:33  
Yeah. He's actually quite famous within our industry. Okay. Actually, it was like, much more popular than we expected. Because it was released last March. And since then, we have more than 1.7 million viewers.

Chien  8:12  
Oh, wow. Okay. Yeah, it's very good.

Catherine  8:18  
So, I think that's like a different way to do different marketing strategies during the pandemic.

Chien  7:57  
And I think your experience from Mercedes Benz really contributed that a lot of businesses don't focus or don't prioritize marketing. But I think on your end, you know, for example, that Toy Story video, you know, the YouTuber, I think you really try to some extent, tell that story to not only to your customers, but also the end user as well. So I think that's a really, really good. Okay, so, I mean, one of the trending topics nowadays, in the business world is really about, you know, ESG social impact and social responsibility and so forth. And in terms of ESG itself, let me have Alice share some statistics with our audience. Alice, please.

Alice  8:38  
The experts believe that the importance of ESG will only increase in the future. So according to KPMG 2022's report sustainability is that about 96% of the world's top 250 companies are reporting the stainability and ESG matters. And they're also according to the United Nation that for manufacturing about a supply chain contains 90% of the environmental impact. So that represent critical risks to the ESG agenda. And we also understand that Victor Taichung has already transformed your factories and working environment into more environmentally friendly. So we want to know how did you guys start this initiative or implement the concept of ESG?

Catherine  9:30  
I think 2013 is actually a turning point for us. Because at that year, we were quite lucky to get the land within the Taichung City Precision Machinery Innovation Technical Park. So we have for the green parts, I can share some of the things we have done our factories, we have solar energy on the roof, and I think we do is the rainwater recycling. And then we have the Eco Regen Park and we also use a lot of LED light bulbs, smart lighting systems save electricity. So far we calculate we have saved around 15% of the electricity. And we have this ice storage air conditioning system as well. Yeah, so I think this is quite rare to hear. We also have these two underground pipes, which is, it's called an induced draught system. Essentially, it can do the exchange of cold air and hot air. And we also have low-E glass within our building. This is to reduce temperature of the inner space.

Catherine  9:31  
And for the pellets we used to use the older one's

Chien  10:37  
The traditional one.

Catherine  10:38  
Yeah, the traditional one, but the for the older ones when it got wasted. You have to burn it, you get a lot of pollution. So now we use the aluminium plated zinc Ira material.

Chien  10:48  
Oh, so that's reusable.

Catherine  10:49  
Yeah. Reusable, and it's more like environmentally friendly as well.

Chien  10:53  
So it's currently already in in progress. Okay. very futuristic. Johnson. Yeah. You have some statistics as well. Right. Yeah. You want to share with Catherine?

Johnson  11:03  
Yeah, another big question, zero carbon transformation. And recently European Union governments have started to aim to reach carbon neutral by 2050. With a carbon border tax the machine as a pollution price on certain imports to EU. And we will definitely undermine the competitors from other countries. Does this policy have any impact on your business strategy or decision playing? And what is Victor Taichung's approach to zero carbon transformation?

Catherine  11:37  
So far, we actually haven't really got any requests from the customers. We don't really have any legal ones.

Chien  11:44  
Okay. So it's a good thing. Right?

Catherine  11:46  
Yeah. It's a good thing. But we believe that maybe within one or two years, I don't know the customers will be starting to asking for all this, what we have been doing from last year, we joined this called, so called Zero Carbon University. Yeah. It's kind of like a platform. The concept is they gather a couple of the companies from all over Taiwan, they have some of the professional mentors, and then they have some classes for us. And then they give us some consulting help, so that we know like how to do these kinds of things. And also, we set up this ESG committee internally. Oh, yeah. So I think this is quite important from last year, we actually take this project very seriously. And also, we have this internal event is called the environmental fighter. Wow. Yeah. And this is basically, we want everyone to have a chance to provide any suggestions which can reduce carbon, and that if they give really good proposals, and that is accepted by us, then we can give them bonus, okay. And also, our goal is actually to reduce 5% of the carbon emission each year. In the near future, we hope to create this energy cloud. So all the data is can be shown on the cloud.  

Chien  13:08  
So you sort of let everyone be a part of this process. That's wonderful. I think, especially not only are you even though, like you said, legally, you're not required to do it now. But you are proactively planning for it already. Right? So whereas a lot of times in the traditional industries, people are reacting, whereas you guys are planning and they're looking forward to what's about to happen, you know, forward looking, so that is great. So, as we know, Victor Taichung was founded in 1954. In fact, next year 2024 will be 70th anniversary. Congratulations. You know, not many companies can say that they've been around for that long, just to share with us or share with the audience, some tidbits, I mean, any special activities planned for this 70th anniversary.

Catherine  13:51  
We will have some special events this year. For example, in TIMTOS in March, all foreign customers and agents, some of them will come back to Taiwan.

Chien  14:02  
Oh, wow.

Catherine  14:02  
Yeah. This is probably the first time after the pandemic. Yeah, so they haven't been back to Taiwan for probably more than three years.

Chien  14:09  
Okay. So they have to make sure that they come to Taiwan.

Catherine  14:11  
Yes. And then we also have this very special event is called customers returned to their mother's home. Basically, the idea is from my granddad, because he always tells us that to sell a machine is like to marry off a daughter. That's a good analogy. So then, when your daughter is married to daughters' husbands how they have to have more kids, right?

Chien  14:35  

Catherine  14:35  
So in terms of machines, you have to help your customers to make money. So that's basically the concept.  

Chien  14:41  
Okay. Okay. So it's like a big family gathering, you know, and not only with the customers as well as the employees as well as even these different partners that you work with globally. So it looks like in 2023 will be a critical year for many of the businesses obviously, now, borders are opening up and in fact, many businesses are starting to consider once again, the traditional face to face business activities. Right. So one of the more important activities, usually for a lot of our machine industry is the exhibition trade shows. And in fact, to kick things off in the new year, TIMTOS will be one of the key events that Victor Taichung will be participating in March. So are you doing anything in terms of pre-event to sort of promote this or get ready for this event?

Catherine  15:29  
I think we will do some online promotions for the TIMTOS and already invited our foreign agents and customer to come so they already know this information.

Chien  15:39  
And then in terms of the products or as well as technology that will be exhibited at the event, any sneak peek that you can share with us that will be showcased highlight at the event titles.

Catherine  15:53  
This year, we still focus on the smart bit smart the manufacturer is of course as smarter.

Chien  16:00  
Smarter, yes, smartest, smartest.

Catherine  16:04  
And therefore the green bits will have something greener. So in terms of the smart bit we have this automation with the robot applications, of course some new equipments people haven't seen before. And we have the multitasking 5-Axis machines as well. And for the greener parts we have the energy saving carbon reduction and ESG app on our Victor's smallbox.

Chien  16:27 
So from all those highlights, definitely if you are going to be at TIMTOS make sure to drop by Victor Taichung's booth because it is almost a glimpse to the future of machinery industry. And the event organizer, obviously TIMTOS is expecting to have a lot more international buyers this year. Is there a short invitation message and you would like to share to welcome aside from your own buyers and even new buyers to your booth? And then do you know your booth number? Maybe you can share that.

Catherine  16:57  
Okay. I think that's the most important thing. Our booth number is J0617.

Chien  17:02  

Catherine  17:03  

Chien  17:04  
Definitely. So make sure to check out TIMTOS event the physical event will be from March 6 to March 11 at the Taipei Nangang exhibition, like what Catherine is saying, make sure to drop by Victor Taichung's booth at J0617 and say hi, right. Okay, so Cath, once again, thanks for coming on the show today, we all learned a lot about the company Victor Taichung and its future plans and some of the advancements and technologies and not only in the ESG part, but also some of the upcoming products that will be showcased at the event. So furthermore, we also learned about how your unique background contributed to a lot of the sort of the transformation that has gone underwent these past 10 years or so. Definitely looking forward to more transformation down the road. So my last question to you is one of your mottos in life is "Don't give up so easily until you try hard enough. Make sure you'll never regret in life, right?" To be honest, this is one of the things I live by too, as well, everything I do, I tried to minimize regret. I think that's the ultimate way of living, right. So this way, you won't always have to second thought yourself. But just to close out the session, is there anything you'd like to share something that if you had a chance to redo whether it be personal or business, it's fine, if you would like to share with the audience.

Catherine  18:20  
The thing in my lifetime that I regretted the most was that actually I was asked by my dad to go to Japan after I finished my master's degree. But then I didn't do that because I came back straight away to Taiwan to start my job in Taipei. Okay. But then if the time can go back then I should have done it should have done I should have done it. Because, yes. Because I'm Japanese is like another language I always wanted to learn, then I think if you don't have the environment, you can't really learn the language properly. Yeah. So even till now I have like so many years of Japanese classes. I can't really speak any Japanese.

Chien  18:55  
But you know, it's never too late. Right? Yeah. You know what they say learning is a lifelong process. So there is always going to be another opportunity to sort of redo that process.

Catherine  19:05  
It's just like, your memories gets worse when you get older.

Chien  19:08  
Oh, yeah, that's part of the process. You know, that's why we have Google Translate for nowadays, right. So if you forget, you can always use Google Translate to sort of help you, you know, the ones where you forget. Awesome once again, you know, thanks Cath for your time today. That's all for today. And thanks for listening. And make sure to subscribe to the podcast channel for more additional insights from business leaders across the world. And also do leave your comments and feedback in the terms of the show. And then don't forget to give us a five star rating. And you can always follow us on LinkedIn as well as Facebook for new episodes, as well as even video teasers for the ones that we are just recording right now. So anyway, see you all again and thanks for your time. Thank you. Bye bye.

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