Panels & Furniture Asia Sep/Oct 2019

26 IN PERSON WITH CHANGE COMES OPPORTUNITY As the trade war wages on between the U.S. and China, it has generatednewandunexpectedopportunities forHOMAGASIA. Udo Mauerer, recently appointed vice president of HOMAG Asia Pacific (APAC) & China since March, is coming onboard well-prepared and with great insights of the market. He has been with HOMAG since 2002, with several leadership andmanagement roles in sales, but always in APAC and China. PFA recently had the chance to catch up with him. T he LIGNA trade show has always been an important barometer of the global woodworking machinery market. Despite a great amount of nervousness caused by the trade dispute, Mauerer found the responses from the APAC region to be better than expected. “At first, we weren’t sure how customers would be reacting, whether they would be willing to spend their time and their money to come to Europe. But in the end, the turnout was much better. We had a lot of customers coming in organised tours from Taiwan, Malaysia and Thailand, where we arranged for them to visit some reference installations in Europe to show them the latest technology, production processes and how things are done in Europe…we probably had 60 to 70 customers organised in 3 separate tours.” 2018, A CHALLENGING YEAR Nonetheless, 2018 has been a challenging year for HOMAG Asia, following a slow-down in the market. HOMAG’s office in Singapore is currently undergoing some restructuring to improve market coverage. “We realised that we do not have enough manpower in the market. The market was good, but we did not have enough capacity to follow up on all the enquiries. In the next couple of months, we will set up an improved sales and service framework here in Southeast Asia for HOMAG Asia,” shared Mauerer. By Szeto Hiu Yan