An entrepreneur with a permanent contract and a mission

Published on by Development & Engineering

Days are always too short for Senior Technology Manager Eddy Allefs (56). At NTS he is responsible for business development. Besides, exploring new markets, chances and services for the company, he deepens existing customer relations and every now and then he also wears a recruitment hat. He uses his solid and extensive network, knowhow and years of experience in high tech to take NTS even one step further. Eddy gets most energy out of combining technology, business and people. He sets the bar high, for NTS and for himself. “I would like to do a lot more but time really is my enemy.”

If it were possible Eddy Allefs would be on his feet 24/7. Besides exploring opportunities for NTS, being a mentor to start-ups at HighTechXL and having conversations with experts who could be of added value to NTS, he writes columns for Techwatch about very diverse subjects such as Blockchain, AI and the circular economy. An entrepreneur with a permanent contract that relies on his ethical compass to take the right steps at the right moment.

Technological development in unprecedented acceleration

“I really like the developments that you see at this moment and especially in this region,” Eddy says. “What you see, is that at this moment technology is in an unprecedented acceleration. When you look at the societal challenges that we are facing then there really is no more time to lose. Technology offers an answer and that is why you see that technologies like Additive manufacturing, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics are currently developing extremely fast.”

Initially chose for a practical education

“My career started at Philips in the electronics lab. I had just graduated in Analog Electronics at HAN University of Applied Sciences. Before that I had finished pre-university and I consciously chose for a university of applied sciences as I was raised in a very practical way. My father was a practical man and that is why I chose a practical education. I found analogue electronics appealing and I was always fixing radios and so on. At Philips I quickly noticed that academics and employees with a higher professional education were treated in a very different way. At present that is not the case anymore but, in those days, a scientific education simply offered you a lot more opportunities.”

Generalist study was spot on

“That is why I chose to participate in a part-time academic education business administration and that was spot on. You address the essence of a great variety of topics without having to know the in-depth details. This generalist approach suits me. I can find the specialists that I need. When I can combine people, business processes and technology in my work, I am happy.”

Never let go of the content

“Although I like to remain on the main outlines, I never let go of the technology. You cannot fulfil my role without having a sound understanding of the content. I for instance know the difference between a control technician with knowledge of dynamics or a dynamic with know-how of control engineering and I enjoy challenging my stakeholders to explain what they do and why they do it to me in layman’s terms. During the process I become a bit smarter myself.”

Taking companies further

“When I look back at my career then I mainly made it possible for companies to take the next step. At Victron for example my job was to guide production and to phase products. I introduced project-based working. In my work at DAF I started recording criteria that suppliers needed to comply with instead of that we adjusted our way of working to what suppliers delivered. For that time that was a pretty ground-breaking way of working.”

Challenge is in the content

“At Victron I was asked to lead its subsidiary company. That is what I did. As R&D man I focussed on cleaning up the product portfolio and I tried to turn it into a project organisation. The only thing was that the company was not ready for it. Whereas the project business offered enormous opportunities. During that process, at a certain moment, someone pointed out to me that I shouldn’t forget to get people on board. I really learned a lot about that soft aspects of the job but at a certain moment I really missed the technology. I stagnated, learned too little myself and I started to miss the high-tech. The challenge to me really was in the content.”

ASML is the most extreme that you can find in high-tech

“That is why I worked for ASML for ten years. When it comes to high-tech that really is the most extreme you can find. The craziness then simply attracts you. At a certain moment I left ASML but after a number of years I returned. After I returned at ASML I became group leader Mechatronics. It was a great experience but line management is something that at a certain moment didn’t offer me enough satisfaction anymore.”  

Combination of technology, business and people

“At a certain moment I looked at what gave the most energy and that really is the combination of technology, business and people. That is what I found at NTS. I am actually an entrepreneur here with a permanent contract and I have an extremely free role. I try to take NTS a step further by using my track record, experience and network and by making smart connections. That gives me a lot of energy.”

Trying to lift NTS to a higher level

“Here, I operate on the interface of technology and business. Sometimes I propose leads, at other moments I am in charge of the sales process and sometimes I work on new business or try to lift the internal organisation to a higher level in order for us to unburden our customers even further. In this process I of course have my targets and, in the end, history will have to point out if I will have succeeded. I set the bar high. For myself and for NTS.”

Time is my enemy

“Within the internal organisation there is a lot to do as well. I for example speak with a Chines company next week to explore a development project that matches with our existing production in Asia. Also, every now and then I also help NTS’ recruiters by introducing them to suitable candidates, we are organising a technology day for all technicians in the company and I am detailing some of the value propositions that are part of NTS’ identity project. I would like to do more but time really is my enemy.”

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