The Danish Business Association Singapore (DABS) awarded Lars K. Nielsen of Denjet Marine ‘Business Man of the Year’ 2017 coinciding with the annual Gala Dinner.
”This is the first year DABS has this award and of course I am happy/proud to have won it. There are many other Danes in Singapore that have done well for many years so it is a “nice feeling” to be recognised for your achievements. Den-Jet has won several awards but personally this will be my first,” Lars K. Nielsen tells ScandAsia
What made even more exciting was that fact that he had no idea he had been selected as the winner.
”I had absolutely no idea that I was going to be selected so that it took me by surprise is a bit of an understatement – it took a while to sink in,” he miles. ”In fact, during the speech from the presenter I mentioned to a friend: ‘Oh, this sounds like if so-and-so could be winning the award’, which I felt was a very good choice – but it turned out to be me he was talking about! The nomination/selection was done by other DABS members.”
“The week after the DABS party I received a “proper“ certificate as a replacement for the initial “home-made” one I received during the award. I celebrated the night I received it and that’s about it – life goes on but it’s a great memory to have.”
ScandAsia asked Lars to give the background to Den-Jet Marine and the business journey so far. He begins by telling the background to why he came to Singapore in the first place: “I started my Asian adventure back in June 1993, when I had the opportunity to work for a local company with 50% Danish ownership within the same industry as we are in today. The original two-year adventure became a 24-year permanent stay.”
“Den-Jet Marine Pte Ltd was incorporated late 2004 in Singapore and is part of the Den-Jet Group of companies. We manufacture water jetting equipment used for removing damaged coating and rust on steel surfaces. Our main customers are ship owners and management companies.“
Lars explains that Den-Jet Marine Pte Ltd is handling the Marine market worldwide from Singapore, using their Denmark office as the logistic hub for European deliveries. The majority of their customers are Europeans and in Asia the bigger markets are Hong Kong and Singapore.
“The first five years was really hard work until the foundation for the business was achieved. Working 14 hours per day was the norm but it was fun at the same time to see that each year we achieved high growth rates. Today we have established ourselves in the market and become the market leader in many of areas we operate in – life has become a little easier in some ways. Today we have 20 people working in Singapore and another 30 in Denmark,” he reflects.
”There are several milestones when you think back over the last ten years. Surviving the first 3 years I guess is one of the biggest as many new companies face cash flow problems etc. when you experience relative high growth rates. Being able to purchase our own building in Singapore was for sure a very satisfying step as well as being able to conclude that we had become a market leader in various geographic areas.
“Adaptation and problem solving are the keywords when we approach our potential customers. We are very focused on adapting our products to the actual needs of the end user,” Lars explains when it comes to their differentiation and that may have contributed to their success. “We do not sell machines but solutions to the problems the owners are facing maintaining their vessels. Anyone can be a catalogue salesman, but actually understanding the situation our end users are facing makes the difference when you approach new customers.”
Then there is the small matter of the market conditions in the shipping industry…
”There is no doubt that the market we operate in has been in bad shape for the last few years, but fortunately the vessels still rust so our market as such has not become so affected. We do feel that the customers are more price-sensitive and we have to be more focused on collecting payment but overall we have still been able to achieve growth even during the so called bad years.”