Meet the people at Westermo

Tomas, Technical Support

Tomas Malmqvist has worked at Westermo since 1987 and knows everything there is to know about Westermo products and solutions. Today he provides excellent technical support to customers globally.

 

You have been working at Westermo for a long time; please tell us how it all started

It all started back in 1987. After studying electronics and communications at high school I attended a special course on microcomputer science. Westermo then asked me to do a degree project about microdata techniques. A few months after completing the project, Tore Andersson, the Westermo CEO at that time, asked if I would be interested in working at Westermo. I was actually working as a cabinetmaker, but this was a fantastic opportunity, so I said `yes’ and started the very next week!

Initially I was involved in building and testing products within the production department. Every day I learned something new about the products and their technical features. Occasionally the technical support department would receive a large number of questions and because I had a good understanding of the products I was able to provide assistance.

With the arrival of the PC and the new technologies that came with it, I was given the responsibility of developing different product constructions using a CAD system - I combined this work with providing technical support to customers. At that time I was part of the R&D department and as the department grew I got the opportunity to train the new engineers that joined the company. The growth of the R&D department enabled Westermo to expand its areas of expertise and for individuals to fine tune their knowledge and become subject matter experts. Because of the amount of experience I had gained with the company, my expertise and understanding of the products, it was a natural step for me to specialise in providing technical support.

What do you do at Westermo today?
Today the whole world is my workplace and I provide support to customers around the globe. Westermo actually works with very skilled and knowledgeable distributors that are able to support customers that have installed Westermo products. But today Westermo is not only offering industrial networking devices, it is also providing complete networking solutions. As a result of moving away from a product focused market, the complexity of the questions we receive is increasing. Ten years ago the answers to most questions could be found in a product manual, but with phenomenon arising in complex networks it’s not so simple.

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My work is therefore all about solving problems and trying to fill the gap between the product manuals and the knowledge of the onsite technicians. Of course you can obtain a lot of information from the product manuals, but when you are working with large and often complex industrial networks you need to look at the bigger picture. This is where our extensive knowledge and expertise becomes so important. Ten years ago we could answer most questions immediately. Today we need to investigate, evaluate and sometimes perform tests before we can provide the right solution. Some questions can even be too complex and time-consuming for the support department. In these situations the case is forwarded to our `Network Application Team’ who specialise in new applications and can deliver the solution the customer needs.

With the world as your office, I imagine there are a lot of challenges in your job?
Product development is moving very quickly and it can be a real challenge to keep up with the R&D department. No matter what the pace of development is, we still need to be able to provide the highest levels of technical support.

Another challenge we face is the language barrier. We now have contact with people from all over the world and they often have a time-sensitive problem that needs a fast response. To ensure we provide the right solution a lot of time is spent understanding the specific problem and the customer’s situation. We always investigate thoroughly, asking lots of questions and rephrasing them, if needed, to make sure we fully understand the problem.

Facing new support cases every day certainly makes my job both challenging and exciting, but the best thing about my job is when we have a satisfied customer that no longer has a problem thanks to the great support we have provided.


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