About this series
Building Asia is a collection of business stories on CNA that examines the financial forces driving Asia's position as an economic powerhouse.
Vachamon – Creating greater financial connectivity is the 18th episode in the Building Asia with UOB series and was first aired on 15 November 2021. It looks at how UOB helped Vachamon Food, a leading fruits importer in Thailand, with the digitising of its business processes.
Wipavee Watcharakorn (CEO, Vachamon Food):
Vachamon is Thailand’s leading fruit supplier.
We grew from a small shop to an import business, and now, an online store.
Whenever a challenge presents itself, we find an opportunity.
Thitita Jeeyasak (CFO and COO, Vachamon Food):
We are a family run business that started in 1992 by selling vegetables seeds to farmers.
Later through partnerships in China, we began exporting Thai fruit to the Chinese market and introducing new fruit from China to Thai consumers.
We started banking with UOB in 2018. They were not our main banker, but we were impressed by their level of service.
Andy Cheah (Head of Wholesale Banking, UOB Thailand):
We recognised Vachamon’s ambition to evolve beyond traditional wholesale, and their need for greater financial connectivity.
UOB has a broad suite of Treasury products and solutions, and in-depth knowledge of local markets and local regulations.
This places us in a good position as a key banking partner who can advise and tailor solutions for customers with specific needs, like Vachamon.
Vachamon needed a digital solution because there are many unpredictable factors in the fruit business.
By digitalising, our management and staff can have an efficient overview of products and shipments.
UOB regularly organises networking sessions, seminars and business support programs and we invited Vachamon to these events.
Through our Smart Business Transformation Program, we introduced them to The FinLab, our innovation accelerator.
The programme set them on the path to digitalising the many aspects of their business operations.
When UOB introduced us to the BizSmart program, we found that the business software could be tailored to our needs.
Now we can plan and forecast sales, giving us better terms with the supermarkets we work with. And our inventory became more organised with less stock-taking errors. We started to collect data and that allows us to make better decisions on sales.
The Vachamon relationship grew because they recognised how important financial connectivity was to their business. Both across geographies, and through technology.
This meant they were able to not just maintain, but improve on their operations, even during the supply disruptions that came with COVID-19. Supermarkets and consumers could therefore continue to enjoy fresh produce.
With our new digital outlook, we can further innovate.
We have started Fresh Living, which is our direct-to-customer online site.
It has already seen strong growth and with UOB’s continued advice and solutions, we look to develop it more extensively so that consumers can enjoy easier access to fresh produce from all around the world.