“MaKMED sells ship engines and provides service worldwide. If you buy a ship with a MaKMED engine, you enter a long-term relationship with the company, since the engines remain in service during the ship’s entire life cycle. For the entire period, MaKMED takes care of maintenance, from engine overhauls to emergency repairs. We don’t just deliver the parts, we’re a full-service organization.
When I arrived there, I soon saw that a new strategy was called for. The people on the team with whom I would work had their heart in the business. My first priority was to create clarity: what are we going to do, what are the expectations. When all of us had regained our confidence and positive outlook, the focus returned: we’re going do what we’re good at, full steam ahead.
What I really enjoy is the experience of being in a different culture. You need to respect cultural differences, embrace them, and modify your approach and behavior accordingly. That’s how you’re the most effective. For example, to canvass new business, I regularly visit companies in countries like Algeria or Tunisia, together with a technician or someone in sales. In such situations, responding sensitively to the culture is key. It is customary in these countries to build a relationship. You don’t mention business when you first meet the person. But, success is not always guaranteed: sometimes you think you’ve achieved something, only to find out that ou’ve spoken with the wrong person. That’s a lesson I’ve learned and it’s a valid one to observe when working in North African countries.”
At MaKMED everyone beams confidence in the future in what is today a stable and profitable company, and Olaf is pleased that his sales manager is ready to take over. In the Netherlands a new role within Pon awaits him.