The start of an adventure

“I was asked whether I was interested in a job as a technical manager for LVD Malaysia. I would be the link between the Southeast Asian branches and the Belgian head office and run the new Experience Center. In addition, also familiarise the local sales and service teams with the latest technologies, at the time mainly fiber laser, Easy-Form and the CADMAN-JOB software.”

“I had been with LVD for eight years, first in world service and later as an application engineer in the XP Center. As an industrial engineer, the mix of technical work and travel was perfect for me. I had fond memories of a tour I had once made in Malaysia. The adventure called and I confidently said 'Yes'." “The preparation for my job was quite a challenge. Until then, I had always worked for the laser cutting division, now I also had to master the bending and punching technology. I also had to arrange things at home and say goodbye to family and friends. In April 2016, I left for Malaysia with only two suitcases.”

Exploring the market 

“At work I quickly found my feet; training local colleagues, organising fairs and participating in the official opening of the Experience Center. To get to know the market, the subsidiaries and the customers as quickly as possible, I installed machines myself and also visited customers with sales. Those first two years I travelled a lot, one day I installed a machine in Indonesia and the next day I was at a trade fair in Thailand.”

“The effort has paid off, now the service teams need less support and I follow up on new countries, such as Vietnam and the Philippines. In addition, I am responsible for integrating all LVD software packages and for recruitments. To keep up to date with all the latest developments, I am in close contact with LVD in Belgium, LVD North America and LVD CNC Tech in China.”

At Metaltech 2023: Tom Hennejonck, Lieven Vanhoenacker (LVD International Sales), Peter Van Acker (Belgian Ambassador in Malaysia) and Joshua Tan (LVD Managing Director South East Asia)

At Metaltech 2023: Tom Hennejonck, Lieven Vanhoenacker (LVD International Sales), Peter Van Acker (Belgian Ambassador in Malaysia) and Joshua Tan (LVD Managing Director South East Asia)

Creative and flexible

“However, selling high-tech machine in the Asian market is not easy. The companies here are very price conscious and difficult to convince of the added value of automation or CADMAN integration, among other things. I am proud of the fact that as a team we have succeeded in selling the first fiber laser in Vietnam. Because we didn’t have a subsidiary at the time and the competition was fierce.”

“We achieved this through intensive discussions during multiple visits with the customer. We provided him a full cost study for his actual parts and we invited him to a demonstration of the actual machine cutting his parts within the specified time frame.” “In 2020, the world came to a standstill due to the coronavirus. Asia was particularly affected. We couldn’t even travel until last year. But we quickly adapted and also learned to install complex machines, do test runs and provide training from a distance via video call, using webcams and remote support software.”

LVD Malaysia Tom Hennejonck
LVD Malaysia Tom Hennejonck

The best of both worlds

“After seven years, I feel completely at home here. First of all thanks to my family; my Malaysian wife and our little daughter. Together we enjoy traveling around Malaysia, the nature is wonderful. I also love the bustling capital of Kuala Lumpur with its fantastic architecture, such as the Petronas Twin Towers, and its many restaurants and shops. All this half an hour from my door.”

"Honestly? Integrating in Malaysia has been easier than expected. I don’t completely have to miss out on Belgian culture either. Other Belgian families live here. We come together at Easter, Saint Nicholas, King's Day, and then enjoy a cold beer and a tasty waffle. Yes, I have found my destiny here.”