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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Make every day Count!


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Whenever we thought about a trainee program the first definition on our minds could be “development and challenge”.

I can say that after almost 6 months as a Global Trainee in such an international organization those 2 Worlds are just the beginning to start describing the full experience this has represented for me.

Every day I feel like taking advantage of new learning possibilities I may face during meetings, projects, ideas, or small talks I may have with my colleagues, I feel this 2 years are running so fast and we need to appreciate and take every challenge as an opportunity to be better tomorrow.

Yesterday I was starting my first rotation, meeting all the trainees in the different functions and taking our introduction module together. Today they are already excellent friends, we have shared a lot of fun activities and I am closing this first part to begin the second assignment with the same or even more enthusiasm as the first one.

Only thing left to say is “Enjoy every day of this experience, because soon we will be looking behind us and see how much we have grown from it”.

 

 

1st. training module – Sweden

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Exciting times ahead!


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The year of 2016 was the year when I graduated as Master of Science in Industrial Engineering, it was also the year when I was hired as a global trainee at Husqvarna Group. I started my two year program the fall of 2016. So far it have been an exciting time, with a lot of new impressions, which I will tell you about in this short blog post.

Each global trainee has its own focus area, with a specified development plan guiding four assignment rotations for the coming two years. Me, as global trainee within manufacturing started my first assignment at Manufacturing Engineering at the Husqvarna site in Huskvarna.

My first two weeks at Husqvarna started with an introduction to the manufacturing site, which is a very interesting one; as it contains the whole value chain. The process starts with a piece of metal and ends with a final product ready to be delivered to a dealer. During these two weeks; me and a fellow trainee got to spend time understanding the everyday work of the different functions within manufacturing. Most interesting was the days we got to assembly products on the assembly line, it gave me understanding of the product and the challenging work for my colleagues.

Me during product testing at the first training module.

The first assignment was kicked off with a training module and introduction to the Husqvarna division with start in and end at Husqvarna Headquarters in Stockholm. During this training module I got to meet all the other global trainees for the first time, and we had a great time as we learned about the products and the business of Husqvarna.

Huskvarna site is currently going through an industrial revolution where we are moving towards industry 4.0. As my first assignment I got to participate in this exciting journey as project manager of a pre-study. The pre-study included movement from manual assembly towards a semi-automated assembly for one of our fast growing product categories. The finalization of the pre-study meant a presentation for the management team, and now the project is moving towards the next step.

I will soon change assignment and thereby perspective. I will move to the product department for the product category which I worked with within manufacturing. It will be interesting to experience both the delivery and receiving end of the development process, and I’m certain that I have an exciting time ahead of me.

Best regards;

Olof Gustafsson

Global trainee Manufacturing, Husqvarna Division

Husqvarna Group

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What you measure


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Andriy Shyhska

Andriy Shyshka

Three months ago I reached the final point of my program. Still a global trainee, I get to spend my last rotation gradually assuming responsibilities of my target position of data scientist at Big Data squad of DSS. In addition, as a side project that lately managed to consume most of my time, I joined a team that works with organizing one of the most important internal conferences we have in the group – an area just as natural to Lisa Barrehag as it was out of my comfort zone. I think that was exactly what People & Organization had in mind when sending me on this quest.

Nonetheless, conferences aside, my main responsibility at the moment is the analysis of IoT data that we gather from our connected products and digital services: Gardena Smart System, Husqvarna Fleet Services and Automower Connect. I believe that each of these solutions constitute a compelling offer to our customers, unmatched by anything our competitors have in stock. I also share the vision with my colleagues that there is even greater value to be unlocked from our ability to measure exactly how our products are being used and how they are performing in the field. If we ask the right questions, this data can help us make better design decisions when developing new products, we can be much better in anticipating customer demand and act proactively addressing our clients’ needs  before they get a chance to articulate them.

digitization

Our connected products and digital services: Gardena Smart System, Husqvarna Fleet Services and Automower Connect.

I would like to say that we are the first to realize the potential, but that would simply not be true. Look in your pocket and you will find the most recent example of how data analysis done right can accelerate the progress. Yes, I mean your smartphone. The statistics about each action that you take, each button press, each application crash or unused feature is being collected by the manufacturer (unless you happen to be German and simply don’t share your data). This is why just in a few years we made a giant leap in phone cameras and screens and why every phone manufacturer is working  hard to remove unnecessary hardware buttons and ports. Useful gets enhanced and waste gets abandoned, leaving a device that should now be called anything but a phone.

Now we can see how similar change is happening to the products that just a couple of years ago seemed to have reached their evolutionary peak: refrigerators and washing machines, TVs and sound systems, water heaters and meat smokers, coffee machines and even light bulbs can now get connected and smart in the way that makes sense the moment you see it. The bar is constantly raised and I am looking forward to seeing the progress that we will make in the following years, with Husqvarna Group taking the lead in the forest, garden and on the construction site. This will involve a tremendous change in how we do business on every level. Looking back at the last two years I can see that change is happening already and it’s difficult to overestimate which role we as Global Trainee Program graduates will get to play in driving it. I know mine. Let’s get done with the talking and do some data science!

Thanks!

Andriy Shyshka
Global Trainee Digital Solutions and Services

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Challenge yourself beyond the job description


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As written in the previous blog entry, we participated in an expo in Beijing in May where we showcased our products and promote our brand to customers and potential partners.

Besides the traditional petrol and battery handheld products, this time we also displayed our Automower®, which is new to the China market. My job title was not a ‘Sales Representative’, but on that day I was selling the Automower® to foreign visitors from Brisbane and Amsterdam. They were very curious about the product and would like to put one in their own garden. I provided them with the address of dealer shops near their homes and hopefully they will pay a visit to our dealer shop when they return to their countries. I was nervous at first of being a sales person but later on I became more confident in answering visitors’ questions and explaining the values of what we could deliver to them. This was the first time I found myself having a strong interest in Sales and Marketing, which may lead me to my target position after the Trainee Program.

lois blog june 3

Visitors were interested in the demonstration of our Automower® in The 18th Hortiflorexpo IPM, Beijing.

Working beyond the job description may seems difficult at first but there are always some surprising outcome afterward. However, sometimes we are to focused on our own responsibilities, as written on the job contract, but forget about exploring more learning opportunities to challenge ourselves beyond our job.

When I was working in Factory quality, I spent a lot of time on process improvement with Lean methodology, as suggested in the assignment plan. But looking back, if I had the chance again, I would have spent more time on Product quality improvement, using the similar ways of problem solving. I would have gained more knowledge about our products.

lois blog june 2

Lois trying the battery trimmer which will be launch in China market in the near future.

Lucky enough I got another opportunity. I helped to interpret in the Small Off-Road Engine Evaporative Emissions Regulations Summit hosted by Husqvarna China Sales team while I was working in Factory Operations. It took me a lot of time to study the engineering details in Chinese and English. The learning process was tough but that knowledge helped me lay a great foundation on products for my future assignments.

In the Shanghai office I am also a part-time trainee for Business English. We had regular meetings of English Corner and formal English Email writing training. This is another way for me to contribute to the company beyond my responsibilities. Recently I was invited to Changzhou factory to deliver a training. I met a lot of new colleagues, most of them I had never worked with before. From these training experiences I have discovered my interests in public speaking and training, and I have also expanded my network outside of my usual workmates. This extended network has been a great help for work.

lois blog june 1

During the Business Email Writing training in Changzhou factory.

There is a famous quote from Steve Jobs, ‘You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” Sometimes the task assigned may seem very unusual and out of your comfort zone, but it can always lead to something rewarding in the future. Next time when your supervisor asks you to work beyond your job description, take full advantage of the opportunity to learn and grow as much as possible. There is just too much to experience and I believe the experience now will reap rewards later.

Enjoy the challenge.

Lois Lau
Global Trainee

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A two year experience – a lifelong memory


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It is with mixed emotions I tell you that my time as a trainee is soon coming to an end. It has been a fantastic journey for me, providing me with the opportunity to try and learn tons of new things and also to meet so many intelligent and nice people. Since this will be my last blogpost, I would like to take a moment and summarize the major things I have learned and experienced during my four assignments.

chainsaw_600px

Testing a chainsaw in Kawagoe, Japan

Assignment 1: Commodity Manager Rubber & Gaskets – I was responsible for the day-to-day contact with around 20 suppliers, something that helped me develop my negotiation skills and business mindset. I also learned about problem solving and the importance of being able to take quick action.

Assignment 2: Project Sourcing Electric – I got to experience the early phases of a new project and learn how to collaborate and keep close contact with R&D. During this assignment I also started up a couple of benchmark projects which both gave me more technical insights, as well as a better understanding for how to find, assess and discuss with potential suppliers.

Assignment 3: Supplier Development Asia – in addition to giving me a better understanding of our Asian supplier base, this assignment actually also provided me with more knowledge about production since I got to visit many suppliers and learn about their processes and how to assess a plant. Moreover, since it took place in China and Japan I got to experience a lot of cultural differences and gained a better understanding for how to interact with people from different backgrounds in business situations. I also got to project lead the organization of Asia Supplier Day which was quite a challenge, especially considering the language barriers involved.

Trying out working at an assembly line in Xiamen, China

Trying out working at an assembly line in Xiamen, China

Assignment 4: Brands & Marketing Automower – this assignment (which I´m currently on) has given me a chance to see the other side of the business and to gain a better understanding for the end customer and our finished products. It has also taught me a lot about how to tailor a message depending on who the target group is. So even though I will go back to Sourcing in September, I feel confident that the knowledge I gain in marketing will benefit me in my future role as well.

Between these assignments we have of course also had training modules which has taken place in Sweden, Germany, USA and China. The training modules have taught me a great deal, not just about the Husqvarna Group business but also about soft skills such as personal accountability and presentation skills. So, looking back at what I just wrote, I realize now that this pretty much looks like a resume. Well, I guess you can say that when you can fill up a resume after a two year’s work experience, that’s a pretty good grade for the Husqvarna Group global trainee program.

I think that one of the best parts about the program is that I really have been able to work actively and take responsibility in each of these areas, not just walk side by side with someone else and watch them do it. I must admit that I was a bit worried in the beginning of my trainee time, everything seemed so difficult and hard to grasp. However, overcoming these challenges has made my confidence grow a lot and today I am very thankful for being challenged so strongly from the beginning.

I must also say that one thing I appreciate a lot about Husqvarna Group as a company is the culture. In almost all the areas and departments I have come in contact with, the culture has been very open and including and people are really allowed to be themselves. For me, it is exactly a down-to-earth and friendly culture like this that motivates me to perform my best. I think that if you try to form people to fit into a certain model, you won’t be able to take advantage of their own unique capabilities and skills. You might of course need to adapt your behavior (and appearance) to different business situations but that’s another thing in my opinion.

Visiting a dealer in Charlotte, USA

Visiting a dealer in Charlotte, USA

Finally, I cannot stress enough how lucky I have been with all the managers I have had the opportunity to work with during my four assignments. Staffan, Jonas, Paul, David, Tarun, Ingrid and last but not least Göran, have all been amazing managers and a very great support for me. And then there are of course a ton of other colleagues from many different countries who have made my trainee time at Husqvarna Group an unforgettable experience. Thanks to all of you who might be reading this!

Now I have a couple of months to go on my last rotation in Brands & Marketing and then I feel very motivated to start my permanent position, which will be within the Sourcing Electric team (back to assignment 2 again!), a very exciting and fast growing area indeed. Congratulations to all the new trainees starting this August, you are up for an exciting time!

Lisa Barrehag
Global Trainee Sourcing

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