Exciting times as a global trainee at Husqvarna Group


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Hi everyone, now it’s time for me to write another post about my experience of the Trainee Program at Husqvarna Group. I wrote my last post, more than a year ago, and I can’t believe that it has already been a year. I guess time flies when you have fun!

Now I’m sitting in northern England reflecting over my last 1,5 years and I’m grateful to be a part of this great company and Trainee Program. What great experiences and learnings I’ve got during this time, I’m sure it will have a positive impact on the rest of my career. I will soon move back to Sweden after being in England for 6 months working in Manufacturing Engineering and Product Support.

Mandatory football match  (Newcastle)

But before I start my next rotation I will fly to Shanghai for a week of training with the other trainees. During this week we will visit our manufacturing sites in China as well as the main office in Shanghai, which I very much look forward to. These weeks in between the rotations are great! It is always fun the meet all the other trainees and share laughs and experiences. We also get a great opportunity to boost our career and increase the understanding about the challenges and opportunities within the Group.

The last six months, I’ve spent in our factory in the UK, where we make our robotic lawnmowers. It has been a great experience with great co-workers, both at work and outside of work. During this period I have spent half my time with the manufacturing Engineering team, focusing on new technologies and automation opportunities. The second part I’ve spent with Product Support, where my focus has been more towards process development activities.

This will probably be my last blog post here, but not the last from the trainees at Husqvarna Group, don’t forget to check them out! And if you are interested in hearing more about the Trainee Program and manufacturing, let me know in a comment.

Picture from presentation skills training in Charlotte NC. (Part of last training)

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From Fika to Electrification


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What do Swedish coffee breaks, internet of things, chainsaws, lithium batteries, and robots all have in common?……….me. I have interacted extensively with all of these things and many more through my time as a Global Trainee with Husqvarna Group.

I joined Husqvarna Group after finishing my electrical engineering bachelors at Georgia Tech in the summer of 2016. My trainee journey began at the R&D test department of the North American headquarters based in Charlotte, NC. It was a wonderful way to get hands on exposure to the products and begin building, what was to become, a very extensive network of useful connections.

Product training in the forest of Huskvarna –   Battery Chainsaw

Come September I traded in my steel toed boots for a pair of tight jeans and a parka, then boarded my first flight for Stockholm, Sweden.

In Stockholm, I joined up with the other trainees for a week of introduction to the global organization. Here is where I had my first experience with the Swedish tradition of Fika: a coffee break with colleagues and friends that’s often accompanied by a nice pastry (to really understand just check out the Fika song https://youtu.be/oRIeytEXGhQ).

Breast Cancer Awareness in the Stockholm Office

I jumped right into my next rotation with the Stockholm based Technology Office. In the technology office, I worked extensively with the Battery Box project. An exercise in IoT, sharing economies, and strategic corporate partnerships. It was an exciting experience to stretch our thinking around how we interact with our customers.

After a few months, I headed south to the thriving metropolis of Huskvarna, the namesake and largest Swedish site of our Group. In Huskvarna I worked initially with the Pro Battery test team. I got to work extensively with our line of professional lithium powered hand tools and their related products. This gave me a terrific opportunity to familiarize myself with the lithium batteries systems that are rapidly changing the face of the industry. While in Huskvarna I also had the privilege of working with the Automower development team. The Automowers are easily the most electrically complex products in our portfolio and many will argue that they are the future of several segments of the industry. Here I was given the opportunity to help map the development process for the hardware team and in doing so became quite familiar with all the onboard systems.

Before I knew it 9 months had passed and it was time for me to head back to my home base in Charlotte. I ventured out from my technical background to spend 6 months working with our purchasing team. It is always important to work outside of your comfort zone sometimes and I found that I very much enjoyed the face time I got with our current and potential suppliers. I have gained a new appreciation for what they do and I am very glad I had the chance to experience a new perspective.

Trainee Project Management Training in Ulm, Germany

As I am wrapping up my time in Charlotte and preparing for my next and final international rotation in Germany, I look back on the last year and a half. My time in Sweden was a fantastic cultural experience. My world view has been expanded and I made friends and connections that will follow me for a lifetime. What stands out most clearly is just how valuable that cultural experience is, especially in this international work place. I am so grateful for all the technical knowledge that I’ve learned in my time so far. It is obvious that the future of this industry is intertwined with technology such as lithium power and IoT, and it is imperative that we facilitate development in those areas. However, what I value the most from my time as a trainee and what I believe will take me the furthest, are the relationships I have developed along the way.

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Living it up in Japan


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こんにちわ みんなさん!

My name is Jacob Eriksson and I’m a global trainee in R&D, Husqvarna Division. I am currently six weeks in to my third rotation in R&D in Kawagoe, Japan, located roughly 1h by train from central Tokyo.

Besides working as an engineer in ongoing projects, part of my assignment is to look for opportunities to improve cross-site collaboration between our R&D departments and how we work with knowledge management. This gives me an opportunity to assist in strategic and administrative work while also working on the nitty gritty details in form of engineering work. A good balance of micro and macro so to speak.

Being able to spend 6 months living and working in another country is an amazing opportunity that comes with the Husqvarna Group Global Trainee Program. My first weeks here in Japan has been nothing short of fantastic. My weeks have been packed with exploration, dinners with colleagues, important learnings and the occasional culture clash (some of them being synchronized exercise twice a day and pizza with corn and mayonnaise). To learn about the differences between the Japanese market compared to the other ones we operate in has been especially interesting. The terrain, ageing population and agricultural system gives the Japanese market its own set of unique challenges that we need to tackle.

To make a list of all the great experiences I have had here so far would take too long, but some of the favorites are: 20m Gundam statues, hundreds of years old temples, Tokyo motor show, cat cafés(!), hot springs,  meandering through a pulsating night time Tokyo and fantastic food.

My time so far in the Husqvarna Group Global Trainee Program has been full of awesome experiences together with my fellow trainees and coworkers. My personal development curve has been the steepest that I have experienced so far and the opportunities for challenges and growth is second to none. I can guarantee that if you join the trainee program you will get the opportunity to make your own set of awesome experiences while traveling the world and maximizing your personal development.

P.S A bonus is that when working in Japanese R&D you get a cool uniform D.S

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Counting steps in retrospect


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As I’m drafting this post, I’m on the train to Huskvarna to prepare Husqvarna’s latest IoT (Internet of Things) initiative, the Husqvarna Battery Box, for an upcoming Innovation Expo happening in the next week. Hence, I decided to contemplate about my journey in a setting that aptly depicts my overall experience as a Husqvarna Global Trainee so far: always on-the-go, dynamic and continuously learning while adapting to changing landscapes along the way.

The Husqvarna Battery Box

They say time passes the quickest when you’re having fun and I can’t refute that! I’ve reached half-time in my trainee journey after working in Husqvarna Group for a year. I’m also in the midst of my third assignment now, with Group Technology Office in Stockholm.

If there was one word to sum up my experience so far, it’s growth. This is where I’ve gained first-hand experience in being part of a business’ digital transformation. It’s no surprise that in our modern world, every business is a digital business – organizations need to either adapt or die, disrupt or be disrupted.

Now here’s a brief reflection into my current assignment’s experience:

As a company with more than 325 years of heritage, what does digital transformation mean for Husqvarna Group? How should we evolve to thrive in the digital space? How could we leverage technological capabilities to deliver substantial value for Husqvarna Group and our customers? How might we leverage upcoming technological trends to achieve our business goals and vision? What are the changes that we, as an organization, have to anticipate, accept, and prepare for? How should we then prioritize and manage these changes to succeed in digital transformation? What is our strategy towards innovation? Surely these questions beget a whole spectrum of underlying questions, so how should we best find answers we need? So…that’s merely a glimpse and guess what, I’ve barely begun.

I’ve been introduced to the realm of design thinking and working with “wicked problems” in an applied way. Being a digital marketer venturing into different yet related fields, I’m compelled to adopt an entirely different perspective and new thinking paradigms (which makes it exciting!).

The amazing Brand & Marketing Team (Gardena and Husqvarna Group)!

In retrospect, I’m glad I’ve made the decision to undertake this challenge and step out from my comfort zone in Singapore. I’ve been taken to places, allowing me to gain so much more through the valuable exposure and relationships I’ve built across the organization in my various assignments. I’m thankful for this ride…!

“Nästa station, Huskvarna”, an announcement reverberates through the train, it’s time to check out! Vi ses!

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Jönköping – a city that keeps surprising


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Hello there!

My name is Maja and I am a trainee within HR. Working as an HR-trainee at Husqvarna is truly an experience. I finished my second assignment in our finance team in September and I just moved to the US for 6 months – do I have to say I’m excited?? 🙂
The trainee program and the tasks have been a true experience so far. Coming to the finance department with an HR background was challenging to say the least. But with the challenge came a lot of learnings. If I’d guess about my future I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the most important rotation in my trainee program.

One thing that cannot be overstated is the value of the network you get as a trainee. First of all you get the opportunity to work in multiple divisions in multiple countries. In addition to that you have your trainee group which consists of people from all over the world and who are spread out over all different divisions and countries within the company. After the trainee program you are most likely one of very few people who can honestly say that you know what’s really going on in the company 😉

So the question your probably still asking yourself… How is it to live and work in Huskvarna, a tiny village outside of Jönköping?
When I first moved to Jönköping I was blown away of how beautiful the city is. It’s literally on the beach of Vättern. I moved here from Gothenburg and I had never been to the area before. If you come from a bigger city, I can totally understand that you might be a bit hesitant to moving to a smaller city…But let me just say, – you won’t regret it. Jönköping is a really nice city, with a broad selection of bars, restaurants and cafés. It’s also very close to the nature (the views of Vättern is breathtaking) and has many sites to explore in the nearby area.

So to sum up. The absolute best thing of the trainee program is all the amazing people you will meet. Husqvarna is a very international company so prepare yourself to meet new friends from all over the world. There is always something going on, after works, events and other activities to join every weekend.

All the best,
Maja

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Continuing a Long Legacy of Industry Leadership


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My name is Joe Beck, and I’m one of the two American Global Trainees currently living in the great city of Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. I’m working as a Trainee for Commercial Lawn and Garden Sales in the Husqvarna division. This segment deals with all of Husqvarna’s commercial end users who rely on our products every day to get the job done on time while maximizing their output and profit.

 

Husqvarna’s Global Trainee Program is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. To date, this position has taken me to Europe twice, all across the Eastern US, to industry-wide expositions, and to corporate top management conferences. I’ve met Husqvarna employees from Executive Vice Presidents to factory workers; from service representatives to the company CEO. I’ve recently celebrated my 1-year work anniversary, and I’m incredibly proud to say that I work for a company as open, dynamic, and exciting as Husqvarna Group. I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity, and I’m excited to see what challenges lie ahead for us Trainees in the months ahead.

 

As I rotate through each department in my program roadmap, my duties vary vastly from one role to the next. Each day is a new day, and every project I work on demands the utmost skill and attention. It is a truly challenging and stimulating work environment. To date, I’ve ridden with salesmen across the country, trained brand ambassadors, facilitated industry-wide trade shows for Husqvarna, and designed and executed several marketing strategies and advertisement campaigns. I’ve also worked on a variety of fascinating projects, including robotics marketing, data management, sales analytics, and product management.

 

As multi-faceted as this program is, its also important to realize the strong role that each of us trainees play in the future of Husqvarna Group. Our company is over 325 years old, and has a renowned passion for innovation and constantly looking ahead for the next big trend. Its up to us, as future leaders in this incredible company, to carry on this legacy. Although the challenge may be great, and the marketplace may become even more dynamic with the passing years, I have no doubts that with the guidance of our teammates, that legacy will remain strong for years to come.

 

All the best,

 

Joe Beck

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Ready when you are!


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Ciao Ragazzi, my name is Giuseppe and I graduated within International Logistics and Supply Management in Sweden (MSc, in Jönköping). After finishing my studies I started my exciting journey as a Global Trainee for the Husqvarna Group.

Since then I got to know amazing people while working within international project groups and along different departments. Allow me to quickly recap the last 10 months:

I started my international rotation in Ulm (Germany), where I was working for the Logistics department. While working in Ulm I was responsible to reduce the logistics costs by improving the stock levels and establishing a new delivery concept together with a card board supplier. In addition to that, I also got the opportunity to undertake a pre-study for an automated warehouse solution for our spare parts logistics warehouse in Laichingen. Both tasks were characterized by the fact that I could not really apply theories and knowledge I acquired throughout my studies. Thus, it made the tasks extremely interesting since I had to think outside the box and move out of my comfort zone.

Meanwhile, I have already past 4 months of my second rotation. I am now based in Aycliffe, UK, where I am working within Supply Chain Management and Sales. My learning curve throughout the last couple of months was amazing. I got assigned with the role as a Project Manager and I am currently setting up a new customer, thereby coordinating logistical, sales, financial & IT related topics. I actually never expected to get a similar amount of responsibility assigned, before I started this program. Hence, I am really happy that I got this chance to prove myself in an competitive global environment.

Aside from the work, one of the best things about being a Global Trainee for Husqvarna Group, is the opportunity to meet new people from different cultures. I have made many new friends in the past couple of months, and have also had the pleasure of exploring the variety of nature that the cities of the UK have to offer.

Can’t wait to tell you more about my stay in Sweden as well as our next training modules in the USA and China.

In diesem Sinne, see you soon & arrivederci!

Giuseppe Anello

Global Trainee Logistics & Operations

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Travelling the customer journey


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Have you ever perceived how you make decisions every day? We all constantly record and evaluate information, both consciously and unconsciously, and try to figure out the best choice for reaching short- and longtime goals. This applies to your leisure time activities, your choice of food, what tasks you concentrate on in work, and also what you buy. What has this to do with my work as a global marketing trainee in one of the biggest forest- and garden companies in the world? Let me take you on my customer journey.


David Vogl,
here on a non-customer related journey

 

The customer journey

For us as a manufacturer, it is crucial that we can reach the customer during their decision process. Very often, it’s not only about the product itself, but a lot of times you have many more factors like brand reputation, emotion or former experience with a brand as a decision criteria.

A good model for describing the basic relationship steps between a customer and a brand is the conversion funnel, that the following graph illustrates.

It begins with the overall awareness of a brand. Does the customer even recognize a brand? The next steps show, if a customer knows more than the name of a brand (Familiarity), if they would consider it for purchase (Consideration), and finally if they would prefer the brand over another when choosing a product for a need. Of course, from the top you lose potential customers since not everybody that is aware of the brand will finally purchase the product of this brand.

You can imagine, that you perform better if you lose as few potential customers as possible during the journey.

Building the basics

Of course, given the market you cannot focus on all steps equally. My first assignment is a good example of awareness building.

During this rotation, I was working amongst other projects on the market introduction of our brand in the UK from a global brand management perspective. Pretty few people know GARDENA on the rainy island. Hence, I learned a lot about building a customer base.

What makes us stick out compared to other customers? Which channels have the biggest impact? What is the best time for penetrating the market? How can we provide assets with the deducted messages from market research?

A lot of question marks, and a lot of step by step actions characterized this important part of my first half year.

Improving a growing market

Currently, in my second assignment I am working in Sweden. Here, the brand is already much more established, but still a lot of potential for growing. Once you have a certain level of awareness, it makes sense to more concentrate on activities further down the funnel. What can you do for a person considering or preferring your brand and product over others?

For this purpose, I am working on optimizing our point of sales performance. At the point of sales, the customer actively decides between the brands he considers for his actual purchase, so it is crucial to perform well there. Therefore, I define main stores and improve activities for a high impact in actual sales. This applies for physical stores as well as online.

Daily work

Of course, I am not only working on strategic topics. There are also a lot of hands-on tasks that help understand the different facets and needs in the departments. Below, I am depicted with my Swedish colleagues at our Husqvarna Group annual shareholder meeting, where I prepared the GARDENA division’s participation.

 

 More to learn

What I also enjoy a lot is, that I can develop more besides work tasks. I get room for developing other skills like lean management techniques or project management.

For my daily work, the most important take away from those trainings is the concept of continuous improvement. The idea is to constantly question and improve current situations, and to standardize them for establishing better habits. In my opinion, this applies for a lot of work- and non-work related situations in life.

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Competing for an Old Bowling Pin


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Two weeks ago, I had a really awesome experience when I participated in the Group Operations (GO) Annual Meeting. This was the first time I met the entire GO team, because it consists of people who are quite geographically dispersed during their day-to-day work.

Besides listening to a lot of good presentations, it was also super interesting to participate in small workshops that focused on areas in which GO can continue to support the divisions and the overall Group. During the afternoon and evening, we had a really fun team building event with a number of competitions, and needless to say, my great team won the whole thing. The picture is of me celebrating with the “vintage” (read: old and battered) bowling pin trophy .

 

Me and the awesome trophy

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After Sales – a bit more than selling spare parts and accessories.


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Hi, I am Steffen and after finishing my MSc in International Management I am now one of the Global Trainees at the Husqvarna group working for the Global After Sales department in Huskvarna.

I am partly responsible to develop, structure and govern material, that helps both our dealers and local sales departments to improve service business. That includes basically everything, for example workshop concepts and processes, service marketing, customer and spare parts management as well as sales and technical skills.

Besides the development of content, I also got the chance to promote our concepts in several global meetings, where I presented our project to Sales and After Sales Managers from different areas all over the world.

Soon I will be located in Germany to support the implementation of our project, which comprises service business analyses of pilot dealers as well as setting up and holding training seminars.

Looking forward to that, I will keep the memories of great weekends and road trips with colleagues, whom I can now call friends. Not least I will miss fishing in the great area of Småland – there is nothing more relaxing than catching your own dinner in a quiet forest after work.
 

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