I am Nguyen Thi Binh (53 years old), currently the General Director of Nguyen Binh Production Trading Service Joint Stock Company. Five years ago, I appeared on the show Shark Tank to raise $5 million for 20% of Nguyen Binh’s vermicelli stock. After the pandemic, the company’s business situation was more difficult, but I still stayed with the profession, looking for ways to upgrade the quality of my products.
My working hours are not fixed, sometimes I can’t sleep for 2 days. Every day there are many orders, I work until 10pm to take a break. This morning, I went to work early, and Mrs. Ba – the owner of the rice mill, came to check the books and the situation of rice supplied during the last Lunar New Year to the noodle factory.
My company uses Oxy 10 rice (not too new, not too old). The price of rice is increasing so we have to negotiate to come up with a stable price for both sides.
Because I started work quite early, I didn’t have time to eat breakfast, when I was busy, I only ate one meal a day. In the family, I am in charge of the company, and my husband takes care of the kitchen for his wife and two sons. The whole family rarely has the opportunity to eat together. He is a vegetarian, his two children are still in school, and I stay in the workshop all day, so each person can take care of their own meals.
In my meals, I prioritize using home-grown, non-chemical vegetables from the garden in Cu Chi. I just went down to the garden to harvest vegetables. My employees love toads with salt and pepper, we often eat them together at breaks.
All day I received countless phone calls about all kinds of problems. In a single meal, there were 4-5 people calling to order, sometimes solving mechanical problems. This is Mai Anh (4 years old) – my adopted granddaughter. The baby is usually taken care of by me, when I have free time, I will take care of her food and water. I quite like playing with children.
After finishing the meal, I started going down to the workshop to check the stages. The noodle shop is next to the office, so it is convenient to move. Because the factory has many new employees, my job is a bit harder.
I’m checking the noodle making process. To produce vermicelli fibers, it takes 7 days to soak and brew rice, through many stages. Just being careless at any stage can affect product quality or cause damage.
Before packing, vermicelli will be passed through UV light to kill bacteria.
I and Dat – a mechanical expert, checked the automatic packaging machine that we designed by ourselves. We use the solution of reinvesting in machinery because we do not have enough capital to industrialize 100%. In the workshop, everyone is a “worker”, that is, doing whatever they do. Me too, the machines at the factory are all “made” by me thanks to the original mechanics I have learned, so I know the principles to fix.
In addition to production management, I also worry about foreign affairs, sometimes “rolling out” with workers in the factory. If any part is missing, I will jump in to do it. My friends in the accounting department even joked that I work more than my workers.
After finishing work at the vermicelli factory, I went upstairs again to check on the production of pho, wet cakes… It’s always hot in the vermicelli production oven, it’s not easy for anyone not familiar with it.
At Bun Nguyen Binh, I supply from vermicelli, pho, to noodle soup, wet cake depending on the order. The company is currently distributing multi-channels such as online sales, industrial kitchens, supermarkets, traditional markets … to bring clean products to many consumers.
In the afternoon, I interviewed employees to apply for a delivery position at the company. After Tet, many workers did not have time to enter, so they lacked many positions. Employees are supported on-site accommodation to facilitate work.
The office staff are checking orders. After the Covid-19 epidemic, the company’s revenue was not good, product output was narrower when a series of industrial kitchens closed, many stores could not sell. Moreover, cheap dirty noodles appear in the market, making competition difficult.
After 25 years of rolling in the market, going through enough ups and downs, I thank myself for not giving up. Currently, I am fortunate that my two sons have started helping their mother with many things, from working at the factory to delivering goods to managing media. The youngest brother, Quang Thong, is only in grade 11 but has raised the intention of going into the economic sector to accompany his mother in the future.
I consider myself a workaholic. For me, making vermicelli has become something that I have to consciously preserve, develop, and sometimes stick with for the rest of my life. In the future, I cherish the plan of a noodle factory with full of advanced technology equipment, hoping that my clean and quality products appear in the meals of Vietnamese families.