We want to give you more insight into the people behind your ebike and what we do at MODMO.
So we are publishing a series of interviews with our staff members, delving into what they do and how their professional background informs their day to day jobs at MODMO.
This week, we meet Gavin Bailey, General Manager for our Vietnam team. He heads up over 45 people in the Vietnam office, overseeing various departments from IoT to R&D. We caught up with Gavin to ask him more about what he does and what this means for you.
What is your role at MODMO?
I joined MODMO in November 2021 as the General Manager in Vietnam, to be responsible for building the company in Vietnam, increasing the headcount and then developing the business and scaling up. It’s exciting. There's a lot of work to do but we’re on our way.
I like the multicultural side of working here. We've had a lot of foreign expats working here and the others are Vietnamese so it's the multicultural working environment that I enjoy the most.
Some newer team members are still a little shy about mingling and mixing with the team and working together. That takes a bit of time. Breaking that barrier means interacting with all the team members, regardless of their language proficiency, and making them feel like they're part of MODMO.
I also believe in team building exercises and weekends away. They’re very important in keeping a unit together and just building that culture. There's always time to find where the team can enjoy themselves outside of work. At least once a month, it’s a really good thing to get everyone together and just enjoy ourselves and look back and reflect on the progress we make as we move forward.
Tell us a bit about your background - what did you do before MODMO?
My background is in the manufacturing sector, everything from electronics, to industrial equipment.
I did a bit of work around electronics back home in Australia but Japan is where I solidified my career. I worked for Toshiba, in sales and marketing predominantly, but my scope of work was very, very broad. I was the jack of all trades because I was the only foreigner working in Toshiba out of 70,000 staff, so they saw that as an opportunity, especially for international business with their affiliates and clients.
So whenever a new project arose, I was in the centre of everything that happened and the key communication link to all the different entities in those projects - electronics, mechanical engineering, supply chain, procurement, product development. Everything except HR, basically.
Then I moved to Vietnam where I continued to work for other major Japanese corporations. It was in a very similar sector, precision electronics, making the tony motors that go into the phones, the vibrating mechanism.
I did that until last year. All of that background is probably, I'd say, 14 years, working in Japanese manufacturing.
How does your background inform what you do with MODMO now?
Well that experience with the cross border supply chain, product development, sales and marketing, that was all international so the interaction was always between Japan and international affiliates and customers. Communication is similar at MODMO - we are an international team.
I was also involved in a startup in Vietnam, very similar to MODMO, so having that two years under my belt, working in the startup environment, also brings a lot of value to MODMO from that sense.
Just the understanding of what it takes to grow a startup into a business - it’s important to have your core team together.
It's very difficult to build a team of strangers into a working operation. I think it's all about taking our time and communicating the right information amongst people. It's about encouraging the culture of friendliness, and openness.
What’s it like to manage such a quickly growing team?
So a lot of the hires we're bringing in are very key to the growth of the company. We’re sort of beefing up the resources in each department with the volume of workload that we're taking on as well.
It's predominantly engineers, we have IoT, and our app department, which is another area where we're focusing on building headcount. A lot of focus has been around the R&D department, mechanical engineering and electronics engineering.
Then the IoT department, we have the IT manager and now, who is very, very helpful considering the additions not only in headcount, but also in tasks involving our platform or our systems as well.
Some of the other key roles are the Sourcing Engineers, and the Supply Quality Engineers - in a startup in its infancy, to have a solid supply chain takes a lot of work, and to make it strong we need quality engineers and sourcing engineers. We're very thankful that we have sourcing and SQEs on board now, and that is key to solidifying our supply chain - having those key members there.
Finally, what is your main goal as GM of MODMO Vietnam?
I think for MODMO Vietnam, the most important thing is producing quality bikes. To produce those high quality e-bikes in a scale up environment is challenging to say the least, but this presents us with the ideal opportunity to focus intently on the challenges, developing more transparency with regards to quality control in our pre-production processes.
Although we don't have direct contact with our customers, I feel that with the course we're taking we can have a real impact in this way.
On a people level, for my team here in Vietnam, the most important thing is to accommodate for differences in culture and understand one another - to keep our team happy. Since I joined MODMO, I think one of the standout things that I've noticed with our team is they’re becoming more efficient in the way they do their work. We're moving ahead in leaps and bounds.
They're pulling together, they're enjoying themselves, they're friendly with each other, they do their work, and I think the feedback reverberating with people outside of MODMO is that the culture there is great, which is exactly what you want.
Gavin will be focussing on production and on growing our MODMO team over the coming months, managing the daily operations of our Vietnam office. To keep up to date with news from Vietnam, and our progress as a company, visit our Youtube channel, Facebook or Instagram, or sign up to our email list. You can also contact customer support on firstname.lastname@example.org