Ever since Sai Ponugoti was a student in a boarding school, he learned to pick up the three Ds that has become his foundation: Discipline, devotion, and dedication. Living in 10 cities and traveling to 50 countries, Ponugoti has overcome many challenges in different contexts. Three years ago, he finally came to Vietnam and took on the role of General Director and Country Manager of P&G Vietnam.
In this episode of the Vietnam Innovators podcast, Sai Ponugoti shared with host Hao Tran the secret behind P&G’s operation management and growth.
Since 1995, Procter & Gamble (P&G) Vietnam has maintained its position as a leading enterprise in the field of consumer goods. In Vietnam, P&G is known and trusted by consumers through familiar products such as Tide, Downy, Ariel, and Pampers.
Leading a large team with big responsibilities, Sai Ponugoti has earned some very valuable lessons:
- Vietnam is a dynamic, vibrant, and fast-developing country. Consumers want the best products, they are value-seekers but also willing to try new products.
- P&G's success comes from an integrated strategy — deliver superiority across the five vectors: product, packaging, brand communication, retail execution, and delivering value, with the mantra of “go local".
- Having close professional relationships with the government and the industry bodies brings a lot of benefits.
- The Vietnamese talents are growing in recent years.
P&G was one of the first companies to enter the Southeast Asian country. In its 27-year journey with Vietnamese consumers, Ponugoti pointed out several milestones that P&G has achieved: “The first is that we've really tried to understand the Vietnamese consumer and we've evolved in the understanding. One of the first things that we try is we look at Vietnam country as comprising at least six regions. The consumers in the Red River delta are very different from the consumers in Ho Chi Minh, very different from the consumers in Mekong, or very different from the consumers in central highlands. Over these years, the growth is immense and this really is derived from the local insight and create advertising, great understanding of the consumer and great marketing.”
To be able to continuously develop and grow over the past 20 years, P&G always adheres to the principle of focusing on people, investing in quality improvement, and developing the talent of the team to build a world-class organization, thereby bringing more and more value to consumers.
When Hao asked about talent and cultural development, Ponuguti was reminded of the quote “Culture eats strategy for breakfast" by Peter Drucker. In his opinion, success is personally defined, based on each person's choices and preferences. When it comes to culture, P&G drives the 4D culture: Daring, deliberate, decisiveness, and depth.
- Daring: Winning big, winning fast, and constantly raising the bar.
- Deliberate: Being intentional. When you make promises, they have to be kept.
- Decisiveness: Acting with a sense of urgency.
- Depth: Having accountability for business and organization.
Ponuguti also talked about the reasons why many P&G-ers stick around for a long time, even until they have to retire: “Broadly they would say three things. The first is great people to work with great colleagues, the second is the "people first" motto that you constantly see the company prioritizing, and the third thing, of course, is that the huge focus on upscaling, building the capability of people and importantly doing the right thing no matter what, whatever difficult circumstances we are faced with.”
These days, doing the right thing is important to many business owners, which sometimes are long-term investments they have to make. At P&G, equality and inclusion are the driving forces for growth and are done in a holistic and comprehensive manner. There are four pillars this company focus on: Employees, brands, partners, and communities. Each of these pillars plays a significant role in P&G’s growth over the years and contributes greatly to the success it continues to achieve.
Watch the full interview below.