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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SKF – What a time to be a global trainee!


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Hi everyone, and a special warm greeting to all of you aspiring future trainees out there! Welcome to another blogpost and “peek” into SKFs Global Trainee Programme.
My name is Rasmus and I am one of the trainees currently in the midst of this exciting journey. If you still have not checked out what my fellow trainee-colleagues have written here, I highly recommend you to check that out too.
I graduated from business school last spring and in late August I was one of 11 lucky to start the programme. Now six months have past since and wow- how time has flown! It feels like yesterday we gathered – from all over the world – at the global headquarters in Gothenburg for our trainee introduction month. After that, we all went back to our home country employer to begin the first of three rotations and I haven’t met many of my fellow trainees since October. Therefore, I’m looking very much forward to seeing them again in March as we gather before our second rotation.

Global trainee colleagues – from the left: Li (China), Rasmus (Sweden) and Matteo (Italy).

 

So, what have I been up to since then? Well, my home department within SKF is Group Central Finance & Business Transformation so intuitively that’s where I could have been over these first months. However, during my first rotation, I have been given the opportunity to tag along with one of the sales organizations – Industrial Sales Sweden. This has been a fantastic opportunity to see and learn about SKFs value propositions ‘in action’ and also how SKF, together with customers, work to make Swedish heavy industry more competitive in the age of globalization.

So, since October, I am spending most of my time in the Solution Factory here in Gothenburg – which is the base for the Swedish sales unit as well as some other functions, and a very nice place to work and meet colleagues from different areas

 

Enjoying a nice coffee-break outside SKF Solution Factory in Gothenburg during my first week.

With the Swedish sales unit, I have gotten the chance to work on multiple projects. Since I have a background in finance, I have been able to help develop different kind of performance measurement reports – but also things completely out of my comfort zone – like working with and assisting our brilliant application engineers. I have also gotten the opportunity to visit customers, factories and other SKF locations in Sweden.
Two months ago, I went with the Swedish management team to Katrineholm to visit our foundry there and in just about two weeks I will go on a combined trip to Lulea/Kiruna to meet with colleagues and customers way up in the Swedish north. What an amazing time this is to be a global trainee and to get the opportunity to meet and learn from so many people. No day is like the other!

Me (far left, big smile) and the Industrial Sales Sweden Management team in Katrineholm getting a guided tour of the foundry

As a global trainee, I also have the chance to represent our programme at various occassions where we meet with students and aspiring future trainees. These meetings have been both fun and rewarding experiences  – it is very enjoyable to talk about something that you really like with people who are genuinely interested and want to know more.

In November, I went to the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (KTH) and talked to students about SKF and our trainee programme. Without a background in engineering I must admit I was a little nervous, but it turned out I had no reason to be. The students were very interested in what I had to say and gave me a warm receiving, just like I had been told by my fellow trainee colleagues who went to other student fairs over the last couple months.

Speaking at KTH, Stockholm

Next up for me is Germany. I will be moving there at the end of March for my second rotation over the spring/summer. Although I have truly enjoyed my first six months here in Sweden, it will be very exciting to go “out in the world” and see what a Swedish, world-leading technology company looks like in a different cultural setting. During this time, I will get the chance to work up close and learn from multiple functions in the organization, including logistics, renewable energy and taper roller bearing strategy.
I’ll say it again – what a great time to be a global trainee!
/Rasmus

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