Stepping out of my comfort zone


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Hello everyone,

I am Hannah from Germany and one of the SKF Global Graduates of wave 4. I joined SKF with 9 other graduates in September 2019. As you can read in the previous posts, we all started our SKF journey in Gothenburg. During our introduction month we met Group Management and we had a lot of trainings as well as fun activities in the evening.

Top: Carl, Fredrik, Kuba
Bottom from left to right: Leo, Hossem, CEO Alrik, me, Cosmina, Sören, Geannina, Sayat

After 4 weeks in sweden, we all returned to our home countries (except Cosmina 😉 ) to start our first rotation. I started in Schweinfurt, Germany, in the Project Management Office for Manufacturing. During the next 6 months I focused on Business Intelligence and improving the collaboration between our sales force and the factories. After a few months I got invited to a new project in our Wind Segment. As the wind market is continuously growing the project focused on managing and visualizing the demand for our customers in the best possible way. It was a great opportunity and I learned a lot about Supply Chain Management, New Way of Working and Demand Forecasting.

Being flexible

For all 10 graduates, it was planned to meet in Gothenburg again in March. But with the covid-19 outbreak the gathering was changed to online meetings which worked surprisingly well – and it was fantastic to catch up with all the other graduates and the Programme Team.

My second rotation at SKF

I am one of the lucky ones! It was actually planned for me to go to Prague to work on a customer experience project for East Europe. But because of the current situation, this got cancelled. But SKF is huge! So my manager arranged my second rotation within Germany – and this was done within 3 weeks! We had to look for accommodation as well as finding a new project for 6 months and a host manager in another SKF business unit. But it all got done with the support of HR, management and the Global Graduate Programme Team.

End of march I started my second rotation in the SKF Business Unit Marine – first from home and in April I was finally allowed to move to Hamburg, where our main production facility for maritime products is located! From my office I have a fantastic view on cruise vessels and container ships:

View from my office in Hamburg

During my second rotation in Hamburg I am part of an international project team – I work with people from Marketing, Business Development and Sales to understand the current Sales set-up and to look into optimization possibilities.

The Maritime sector is very global and completely different from the industrial business. And also the SKF product portfolio for the maritime industry is huge! We are not only selling bearings to shipowners and OEMs, we also selling among other products sterntube seals, couplings, oily water separators and stabilizing systems for cruise and research vessels.

This picture was taking in the assembly hall for the stabilizers in Hamburg! Aren’t they huge? I was fortunate to get the opportunity to go to a drydock in Hamburg to see a cruise vessel during reparation services. There, I also saw our stabilizing system at the bottom of the ship. Compared to the size of a cruise ship, they look like tiny tiny fins! But still, the size is enough to stabilize the entire vessel during rough sea conditions – isn’t that cool?

What comes next?

Until September I will stay in Hamburg and focus on customer interviews as well as the implementation of a new sales channel concept. In October it is planned to meet again in Gothenburg – if we are lucky this time 🙂 But in these uncertain times, nobody knows what is happening even next week.

I am not regretting joining the SKF Global Graduate Programme – it is a fantastic opportunity to start your career. In the last 11 months I met many many people from all around the world, the other graduates became my friends and the support from management is incredible. Of course, it all depends on yourself and what you want to achieve, but if you are eager to learn and open to new departments as well as business areas you get the opportunity of a lifetime!

If you have questions regarding the Programme, feel free to contact me. Until then, stay safe and take care! – Hannah

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Going With Your Gut


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Hey there!

Fredrik here from SKF Global Graduate Programme! I am an Automation and Mechatronics engineer from Chalmers University of Technology and joined SKF’s Gothenburg office in august 2019. Before this programme I spent most of my university years working and leading projects within the student union. I also spent a semester in the Netherlands writing my master thesis for a computer-chip company. There I built an algorithm that would be the foundation for a new supply chain management and planning system. My time in The Netherlands let me also meet so many different people from different cultures… It opened my eyes for the great benefits and excitement in a multi-cultural and global working environment.

A pic of Gothenburg I took a sunny day in January

Today I am part of SKF’s Group Quality, here I have been part of projects ranging from improved product designs to increased production capability.

SKF HQ in early Spring!

So how did I end up at SKF and why?
To be honest, it was all about following my gut-feeling. Early on in my last year of my master’s studies I had received a job offer from another company. It was a global consultancy firm that wanted me to come work with their data-analytics team. The job sounded very lucrative and I didn’t mind the Friday beer-tap! But during my last 6 months before graduating I felt things weren’t completely right with that choice.

I wanted to do something that mattered. A job that directly had an impact and improvement for everyone that would use the products of my company. To be able to be part of something from concept to product is both challenging and rewarding and has a certain appeal. Well, what is the appeal of this at a bearing company specifically?

A technician mounting a bearing at our customers site

I bet none of you ever think about bearings (unless you are an SKF employee). But it is an essential component of literally everything that moves. Bearings have been used by humans as tools for thousands of years. Yet we still push the boundary with new developments to this day of these seemingly forgotten mechanical component in our modern era. How can you improve something that has been improved for thousands of years? What is left to be improved? This challenge really peaks my interest.

Then there is the manufacturing. Taking one advice from this post, it’s that the simplest of products are often hiding enormous complexity. The rolling element inside a bearing, appears to be a piece of metal, pressed into a convex shape, seeming easily mass produced and inexpensive. Yet it is the most crucial component and carrier of large cost due to its uncompromising dependence to never fail – if a single rolling element fails, a whole machine will most likely fail. Due to this there are strenuous manufacturing processes with precision tools and countless engineering hours spent behind simply making this piece of metal spin flawlessly between two rings. If that doesn’t make an engineering mind-blow then I don’t know what will.

What have I been doing the past months during the pandemic?
Just like everyone else the developments around COVID-19 has minimized the possibility for international travel… At first, of course, this was a bummer. But just like always we adapt and find new ways of enjoying life that we previously had not considered. The plan was that I was going to work with supplier development in India but instead I got to stay in Gothenburg working with a digitalization project! Specifically, communication and sales – Things we engineers’ usually can improve upon. 😉

Luckily being stuck in Sweden had some benefits…

Outside of work I’ve spent more time in the Swedish nature with old friends. No fish this time but we brought back-up hotdogs – equally enjoyable!

It’s been a fun journey so far and I’m looking forward to the coming months of getting in contact with customers (maybe even visit them if that becomes OK again). Seeing their facilities, understanding their processes and challenges. Its important to come out and see the real world of the customer, or you’ll never produce products that someone actually needs. Exciting times await ahead…

Until next time!

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It’s happening!


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Hello! Hej! Привет! Сәлем!

My name is Sayat and I am a Global Graduate at SKF. I am currently on my first assignment within Industrial Sales in Russia. Originally I am from Kazakhstan so the first rotation which is supposed to be at your home country is actually international for me. Pretty cool, huh?

Posing wasn’t easy

I joined SKF in July last year. At that time I started in our local office in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Shortly after that, all of the Wave 4 Global Graduates got to meet with each other in our Headquarter in Gothenburg, Sweden in September. This has been my most cherished memory of being a Global Graduate so far. Ten young bright talented smart open-minded ready-to-help funny people stuck together for a month. Sounds like a reality TV show commercial 🙂

Wave 4 but Leo is missing. Posing got easier in crowd 🙂

As you might already know, after our Introduction Month everybody went back to their local units across the world. In October I moved to Moscow, Russia to start my first rotation. I became a part of the Strategic Accounts Department which runs our business with the Key Accounts all over the biggest country in the world – 11 time zones! As a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering I have never imagined myself in Sales and this experience has been a complete turnaround in my perception of how B2B sales work. I highly encourage everyone to have such experience at some point of their career which would take you out of your comfort zone and bring up all the skills you never imagined you had in you! This is what happened to me and I am absolutely happy about it!

SKF office in Russia is based in one of the buildings behind me

Soon I will be moving on for my second rotation which will be at our factory in Schweinfurt, Germany. This is something I’ve been looking forward to since the very beginning because working in production is my lifelong dream. I am extremely grateful to the Programme for providing such opportunities to fresh university graduates. Besides pursuing my career goals I will also get to travel the world which is amazing, isn’t it? Wait for me, Europe! 🙂

Overall, SKF Global Graduate Programme proves to be one of the best choices I’ve made in my not-so-long-not-so-short life. This is the quickest yet the most challenging yet the most rewarding way to start and boost your career. Reminiscing about where I was a year ago, I would advise to those reading this post to reach out to me or any other Global Graduate for further pieces of advice. I am sure you’ll get the answers you are looking for!

Take care!

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Finalizing my American Experience


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Seven months ago, I arrived here in North Carolina for my third assignment as part of Husqvarna Group’s Global Trainee Program (now named Global Pioneer Program). Today, I got special permission to go to the office one last time and clear out my American-style cubicle. I have been working from home in isolation for the last couple of weeks and it’s time for me to return to Europe. Quite the different working scenario than I had in mind when coming here, but nobody else knew that a worldwide pandemic was going to happen either.

I’m at the end of my assignment where I’ve had the great opportunity to work with sales excellence development within the North American sales organization. It is a truly fantastic experience to move to another country and live and work there. While the cultural difference between northern Europe and U.S. might seem small, there are still disparities that can affect how some decisions are made. It’s very hard to predict and explain without experiencing it first-hand, but it can be business critical, especially if one of your main undertakings is stakeholder management. One of my targets I strived for was to primarily use the information provided to me by the local U.S. organization for the sales excellence assignment. This was in order to tailor the solutions to the market, keeping it recognizable to the individuals undergoing it, and capitalizing on the pride of everyone contributing to joint development. In my view, this has proven to be even more successful than I initially expected. The process of collaboration culturally and altering the product after influential differences has been one of the key learnings and will continue to bring value to me in understanding new situations and sentiments.     

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has of course been a multitude of changes and challenges arising in everyday life and work. Luckily, I had most of this assignment completed before the more serious disruptions occurred. The last great challenge is to get back to Europe, but so far, the flights are still going, let’s hope it continues that way!

A big thank you to all the wonderful people I have worked with and everyone I have met, and I’m looking forward to seeing you all again under better circumstances!

Charlotte, North Carolina.

Desolate highways and a clear message being sent out.

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People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it


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Simon Sinek, a motivational speaker, said “people don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.” when talking about how great companies describe why they exist, instead of what they do. As an engineer, you might be preoccupied with the daily work of product development and what you do, but to be successful you should think of the whole customer journey. Because aftermarket is not the end but rather the beginning of the customer relationship. I think taking the front end perspective of your business is a great opportunity to reflect on why you do what you do. Husqvarna Group has constantly changed what they do, but not why they do it. That remains the same − to create great customer experiences.

I am now 3/4 into my global trainee program at Husqvarna Group and I am recently home from a five-month rotation in Charlotte, NC, USA. I had the privilege to spend time with the Brand & Marketing function there working on how we continue to serve robotic lawnmowers to the North American market. I worked on everything from GTM-strategy to prepping material for product launches. A truly unique experience that I can thank the global trainee program for (now called Global Pioneer Program).

Charlotte, NC – Where Husqvarna’s North America division is represented.
GIE+EXPO in Kentucky: The biggest lawn and garden show in North America.
On a weekend trip to NYC.

Next up for me is with product management, robotics back in Sweden. Hopefully, I can apply some learnings from the NA market and the great people I’ve gotten to know. With a renewed sense of why I do what I do.

Until next time!

Best regards, Erik Jilnö

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How is it like to be a Global Graduate?


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I´m Geannina, Costa Rican Global Graduate based in Gothenburg. I came to Sweden to pursue my Master´s Degree in Leadership and Management in International Context, in one of the most beautiful places: Kalmar. After finishing my degree, I stayed to have the experience of being a graduate at SKF and I am fully enjoying it!

What am I currently doing?

I am part of the Learning and Development department, working with the Leadership Academy. My goal is to create a global learning framework for our leaders in SKF, so they can have formal and digital guidance about which competencies and topics are needed to drive our 2025 strategy. Moreover, I work with side projects such as a non-biased recruitment process. With this, I hope to contribute to building an even more diverse and inclusive workplace, values that I believe in and live every day in my company.

However, not all is only about working 🙂 I also enjoy Gothenburg a lot, meet new friends, do weekend trips and learn about Swedish culture.

Where am I going next?

A lot of travelling and projects are coming this year! as my first rotation abroad, I will go to South-Africa and Kenya. My project is about e-commerce and sales and we are coordinating all the final details. After this travel, all the graduates are gathering in Gothenburg for two weeks and I am already looking forward to sharing with all of them again! We are from all around the world: China, Kazakhstan, France, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Poland, and Costa Rica. This guarantees to each of us a truly international network, not only for business but also for friendships!

My third rotation is in Pune, India. My project will be within HR but there are no specific details already set and I am open to listening to what do my Indian colleagues need my collaboration with!

So far, this experience has been one of the most enriching times of my life. Working and travelling at the same time gives you a unique perspective of the business. I feel that I have a place at SKF, where my colleagues are always open to listen to my opinion, to teach me and to support me to grow as a professional.

If you like challenges and personal and professional growth, I would definitely recommend you to be part of a Global Graduate Programme 🙂

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Sport as inclusion enabler


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Presentation

My name is Hossem. Recently involved at SKF as a Global Graduate, I am based in St Cyr factory in France! I have a mechanical engineering background from the University of Technology of Compiègne. During my studies, I spent 2 semesters abroad: in Dresden (Germany) and in Pohang (South Korea).

Before joining SKF, I was working in Morocco as a project manager to launch a new factory in the aerospace industry with french and german experts.

I developed a passion for international industrial projects thanks to 2 french professors I met during my engineering studies. Since, I am always looking for new challenges in international projects: That’s why I joined the Global Graduate Programme!

My first rotation – St Cyr France

I am doing my first rotation in the Deep Groove Ball Bearing (DGBB) factory in St Cyr, close to Tours in France. When I joined SKF, I directly asked my manager to be involved in a project close to the manufacturing operation, that’s what I got!

Some words about the project: Enhancing the competitiveness of a specific channel

To put it simple, factories have 2 big challenges:

  • The first challenge is the capacity to serve the market. In otherwords, being able to produce the right products for the right customers on time and with the quality expected.
  • The second challenge is to be able to control manufacturing costs.

Being able to control and manage this tandem-challenges is a key success factor for a factory.

The first challenge, basically having the capacity to serve the customers, is a never-ending process that every factory employee has to keep in mind. Customer satisfaction is our top priority and all the teams are fully involved to reach it.

My project is completely under the second challenge scope. I am leading a project of cost reduction in one of our DGBB factory channel. The idea is to investigate in the complete value chain to find new cost reduction levers. Design, material costs, channel organization are the big topics I am working on. With the St Cyr teams, we really did great work, and I am now implementing the activities that we have identified to reach our target!

Sport as inclusion enabler

My home town is quite from St Cyr, I am coming from Grande-Synthe near to Dunkirk in North of France. When I arrived, I had no friends and no family here. So I decided to be part of the SKF football team to meet new people and also to maintain my Zeus divine body”.

It was definitly a good idea. When you are practicing sport, there is no hierarchical or social position, the only objective is to play together and win the game! Then, it is easier for you to make friends!

As Plato advised us, it is also a way of having a balance between the body and the mind: “We should not exercise the body without the joint assistance of the mind; nor exercise the mind without the joint assistance of the body.”

So let’s exercise!

Hossem

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Connecting in China


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Ni Hao,

As I am writing this post, I am sitting at home working and will only be back in the office next week Thursday. What happened? Last week, I ended my rotation in China prematurely because of the Coronavirus and went back to Sweden. The last couple of weeks, I will finish my rotation remotely and already transition into my new rotation.

At Husqvarna Group, we follow a local production strategy meaning that we try to produce products for the local markets tailored to the local needs. We produce many entry level products in Changzhou for the global market and some semi-professional products for the APAC market.

Me in a temple in Changzhou

I was in Changzhou to learn more about our manufacturing plant in China during a six month rotation. Once again, I had the opportunity to discover a new culture, a new environment and meet new people. But this time was different. Relocating to China, even if it is only for some months, brings a lot more challenges than moving to Sweden.

Visiting Japan

Our factories are tightly connected and supply many components to each other. As a matter of fact, our Japanese factory in Kawagoe is one of our biggest suppliers and vice versa. And since I came to learn all about the manufacturing in APAC, I went to Japan for two weeks talking about our business together and visiting suppliers. Our plant in Japan produces mostly for the Japanese market and mainly the brand Zenoah (Red Max in the US).

Testing our japanese ride-on mower

After two months in China, Japan felt like the opposite in many aspects (a little bit like Sweden if you ask me). Especially business meetings with suppliers are certainly an experience in Japan. There are many etiquettes one must stick to. For example: Before the meeting formally starts, everyone will introduce themselves to everyone formally handing over their visiting cards (hold them with both hands and study the content when you receive them). Then hand over your card and say a few words about yourself and your title. I really should have been more aware of that and I should have packed my visiting cards when I went to Japan. It was quite awkward to tell everyone that I do not have my visiting cards with me. But I am a trainee to learn, so it’s fine.

Learning to adapt in China

What you need to know about me is that I am fairly self-reliant. I have learned from early on to manage by myself. But with a strategy of being self-reliant you run into a wall in China. That is for two reasons: 1. You cannot manage on your own there. Even the most trivial things become major challenges. How do you find a supermarket? Google maps? Doesn’t work. Then the Chinese maps. Search term? It will not find supermarkets for you. But if you translate supermarkets into Chinese you get results. But then you get like 100 results and most of them are these super tiny kiosks. Long story short: I learned to rely more on my colleagues. 2. The Chinese are very happy to help out. Asking for help also helps making friends there. They want to build a trustful relationship and if they can help you with something, it’s a start. Also in a work context I rely on team work much more in China than I used to in Sweden.

There are obviously many more dimensions that require adaptation when you move into another culture that I will not mention here but I think it is important to adapt, not assimilate. I, for example, will always keep my personality and my directness or bluntness at times but I can carefully choose when to show it. If you want to read more about this I recommend the book “The Culture Map” by Erin Meyer.

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The Fujitsu Grads


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Hej!

Nu börjar våren närma sig och det är snart ett år sen vi som blev antagna i graduateprogrammet 2019 sökte våra tjänster. Så nu när det drar ihop sig för 2020-gänget att skicka in ansökningar så är det väl hög tid att vi presenterar oss.

Jag som skriver heter Kajsa Hultén och jag pluggade Civilekonom med inriktning management i Jönköping. Där gjorde också Jana Schwarz sin master inom International Business, dessförinnan läste hon sin kandidat i Business Administration and Economics i Tyskland på Universität Passau. Vi är båda projektledar-graduates och jobbar för närvarande med olika typer av projektstöd internt och mot kund.

Vi har även våra två Civilingenjörer i Industriell Ekonomi som är på konsultsidan – Kajsa Eckerwall som läste i Luleå och Oskar Hagman som sitter på Göteborgskontoret där han säkert känner sig hemma efter fem år på Chalmers. De har dock lite olika typer av tjänster då Oskar jobbar med Business Consulting och Kajsa med Strategy Consulting.

Wilmer Tjernberg (System Design Consultant) som även han är placerad i Göteborg är kanske den mest tekniska av oss med sin examen i User Experience Design från Högskolan i Skövde.

Sist men inte minst är Daniel Eklund. Daniel läste Service Management på Lunds Universitet vilket tog in honom på banan Service Sales och Business Development.

Att jobba på Fujitsu är på många sätt lärorikt. Vad jag ser som den stora fördelen, framförallt som första arbetsplats efter examen, är att det är väldigt högt i tak och det är en miljö som andas ödmjukhet. Man får möjligheten att arbeta med kunniga människor inom olika områden som alla erbjuder en hjälpande hand och jag har aldrig känt att man inte kan visa sin osäkerhet när man börjar på ett uppdrag. Tvärtom är folk väldigt måna om att man ska förstå grunderna och är därför stöttande i ens utveckling framåt. Det är också väldigt kul att arbeta med den typ av kunder vi har och det stora spann av tjänster och produkter vi erbjuder gör att inget konto kommer vara det andra likt.

Graduate programmet är inte Sverige baserat utan är ett samarbete mellan flera av de Europeiska kontoren. Detta innebär att man får möjlighet att åka på olika utbildningar i Europa, för vårt år är det framförallt Storbritannien och Tyskland. Min andra månad på företaget var jag i England i tre veckor tillsammans med de andra projektledar-graduatesen från Tyskland, Finland, Irland, Frankrike och Storbritannien för att ha en snabbgenomgång i projektledning och Fujitsus processer. Detta avspeglar den internationella miljö vi jobbar i varje dag då man har kollegor som är placerade runt om i världen.  

Jag hoppas du fått en liten bild av Fujitsu som företag och programmet vi erbjuder nyutexade. Håll utkik här för fler uppdateringar!

Mvh,

Kajsa

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What it’s like moving from Charlotte, U.S to Huskvarna, Sweden


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I started my second rotation at Husqvarna Group in Test Engineering before moving on to Product Management and my third rotation. Both of these placements have been in Charlotte, North Caroline. In the Product Management rotation I worked with robotic lawnmowers and battery-handheld products. I worked with a couple of different universities, attending field days and talking to professors about different research opportunities. Also assisting with the launch of robotic lawn mowers in North America.

I helped build a few displays, like shown in the image, for Lowes in the Charlotte area as well as one in our Research and Development office in Charlotte. For the battery handheld part of the assignment I focused on the current landscape of battery handheld tools and the different trends in the market.

In November 2019 I moved to Huskvarna, Sweden and started with Drive Systems Engineering. As a part of the Drive Systems Engineering team I am working with new battery development from a hardware and systems perspective.

So, what is it like moving to Huskvarna after living in North Carolina and Georgia USA? After living in two places that are not very cold in the winter and normally sunny meant quite a change to Sweden in November. However, whatever I lost in terms of lack of sun and the cold weather, I gained in a very warm welcome from my Swedish colleagues and fika. I was able to walk to work with the snowy view portrayed in the photo.

Then Christmas time came and I was greeted to this amazing tree.

For the rest of my trainee journey I will join the Primary development group for robotic lawnmowers. I am excited to see what this rotation will bring. Until then I look forward to learning and being able to provide my input in the battery development.

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