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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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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Getting into the Railway Business


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Good morning,

My name is Laura-Marie and I am taking over the trainee blog from Sasan. Just like him I also have a Mechanical Engineering background (Thermodynamic and Energy Technology) and came to Sweden in 2015 to study a Master in “Sustainable Energy Systems” at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg.

 

About two months ago I started as a Global Trainee for SKF within the Industrial Unit Railway. During my 18 months journey I will be working within Product Engineering in our Chinese office in Shanghai, and with Machine Health in our British office in Livingston, close to Edinburgh.

I have heard a lot of positive things about both sites and I am looking forward to get to know them and my colleagues there better. But firstly I travelled to Nieuwegein in the Netherlands last week, to visit the Railway Test Centre, which is an essential part of validating our products for our customers´ projects.

Furthermore I have been doing an internship in the Nordic Railway Service Workshop, here in Gothenburg, to get an insight on the practical side of the Refurbishment business, including dismounting, examining, measuring and reassembling of the bearings.

 

During my first two months at SKF I got the feeling that this company is truly diverse. Most of my colleagues have been working in several positions in very different fields, like Sales, Testing, Finance etc. to grow personally and professionally. Being at the very beginning of my career this opens up a lot of possibilities for me inside the company, both locally and globally.

I am looking forward to the upcoming 16 months, packed with international projects, new challenges and great colleagues.

 

Please don’t hesitate to comment if you have any questions.

Have a nice week!

/Laura-Marie

 

 

 

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After the Introduction Month


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Hello Again,

Now the introduction month is over and all of us are placed in our “home units”. The introduction month was a great experience, we met SKF group’s management team, visited two factories (whereof one foundry, which was super cool), had a lot of trainings about different subjects and got to participate in a business simulation at the IMP. The IMP is a program aimed at managers who are recognized as having a bright future with SKF. The program exposes the participants to the global picture of SKF and gives them the opportunity to create their own international network within SKF. The business simulation was the part of the introduction month that I appreciated the most. In the simulation teams act as companies competing for the same customers in a fierce marketplace. Each participant assumes a management role in Marketing and Sales, Development and Services, Planning and Delivery, Finance and Control. The goal? Earn short-term profit while creating long-term value.

 

                  The business simulation game that took place during the IMP.

 

I left Gothenburg for Schweinfurt the day after the introduction month was over. I will be here for 8 weeks in order to get a understanding for factory supply chain and all the processes involved. It will be fun and really interesting.

The next blog post will be written by Laura-Marie.

Have a nice week everybody!

Sasan

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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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Hej Traineeprogrammet & Hej Holland!


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Finally time to post my first entry! So here it goes:

Today I got the question: what does it feels like to start working after uni?
And my answer was: it’s surprisingly easy.
But of course this is not entirely true; it can also be highly complex and has its ups and downs. So, I will share my stories and experiences with you as honestly as possible.

When finding myself at the end of my engineering studies, I spent much time reflecting upon how I wanted the journey to continue. All of a sudden it was time to get out of that marvelous bubble of student life in Lund. Being a “generalist specialist” (as I this weekend learnt that my education can be labeled, thanks for the expression!), and also curious as a person, I ended up in parallel recruiting processes. This period was interesting because one day you think you have learnt something about yourself and your aspirations, only to have a setback and doubt it the next day. I had long knew though, that a trainee program would be a interesting way of bridging the gap, while it offers a professional environment where you get introduced to several areas, presented to a broad range of challenges and start to build your network from day one. Furthermore, the focus is on learning as much as possible about the organisation and developing your own skills! So in the end, when the opportunity presented itself, I finally followed my gut feeling (facilitated by the professional but yet highly engaged and welcoming atmosphere experienced during the recruitment process) and accepted a trainee position at Scania CV AB – a choice I am very happy with.

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It has now been almost 3 months (my god, that went quick!) and there’s heaps of stuff that I would like to share in this forum. But let’s start with the most recent experience; my first business trip. To the Netherlands. Alone. I have been given the responsibility for a project with rather blurry frames which I am to fill with content, with the help of a resource in Holland. This is of course challenging, and sometimes I just wish that someone would tell me what to do. But I also know that wouldn’t be as fun in the end. The project targets how we can work to better create an understanding of the flow of products all the way to our end customers. Hence, 1 1/2 week ago I was kinda nervous and did not know how to fill the agenda for the three day long visit, but then I reminded myself; if you want challenges, go grasp the opportunities! So off I went, and it was incredibly instructive.

Since I am currently employed within the industrial side, this trip was also a way for me to learn how the same flow can be interpreted from the commercial point of view. The distributor I visited is located in Breda, a two hour flight and an additional one hour train trip from Stockholm. I felt rather excited waking up at the hotel, knowing that I would get picked up and spend my day at this head office. I gladly experienced that the entire day had been dedicated to me, where a manager and I sat down to discuss the project, their market setup and challenges, and how to proceed from here. And once again it struck me how open and friendly the employees are at this company; willing to share information and experiences. This is built into the Scania culture, where one of the core values is ‘Respect for the Individual’, and we seek to capture the knowledge, experience and ambition of each individual to continuously improve and develop. I personally feel I thrive in an environment where knowledge sharing is encouraged and the standard answer (at least to my experience so far) is: “Of course, just book a meeting in my calendar!”

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During my second day I got to attend pulse meetings and to further discuss the project with several employees. I also seized the opportunity to get an introduction to our pre-sales tool and to have lunch with some of the managers (sushi buffet, yay!). Moving on to Amsterdam, which was the second stop of the trip. The hotel was situated in an industrial part of town and the dealer just a 10 minute drive from there. Spent a full day at the local sales back office, where I got to experience how they work with planning activities and how complex the flow setup can be; from the chassis delivered from factory, to the point where the vehicle is ready to be picked up by the customer (I think I am growing rather fond of our products, they can be pretty cool…). The atmosphere was, again, open and the colleagues seemed to enjoy each others company – at least we laughed more or less during the entire lunch. Knowing I had learnt a lot about this market and our customers, I entered the workshop just in time to see some of them picking up their vehicles before it was time to close the business for this day.

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Someone liked the Swedish handicraft.

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Time for me to wrap up this day and blog post as well.

//Therese

PS. Breda is a pretty little town, which seems to host a great amount of cosy restaurants, cafes and pubs. Happy to discover this part of the country as well!

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My first trainee placement: Marketing Communications


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I spent my first three-month trainee placement at my home department: Marketing Communications. The main responsibility of this department is to develop global marketing communication strategies for trucks, buses, engines, services, and parts. The strategies are, then, transformed into tactical marketing activities and tools, such as web campaign sites, brochures, advertisements, direct marketing material, videos, promotional items and graphical guidelines for marketing communication material. A typical activity is the preparation for international trade fairs, such as the IAA in Hanover, the IFAT in Munich, the Dubai International Boat Show or Busworld in Kortrijk. Another main task at Marketing Communications is to continuously update the brochures of our products and services.

However, my very first marketing project was a little bit different: I was responsible for coordinating the production of the Scania 125 year campaign book. This year, Scania celebrates its 125th anniversary and many activities are planned throughout the year 2016 in order to celebrate this special occasion. The campaign book summarizes the background, marketing strategy, core message, and target groups for the Scania 125 year project. Furthermore, it provides an overview over the marketing material that is being produced for the anniversary, such as posters, roll-ups, videos, promotional items etc..

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I realized very quickly, that the daily work at Scania is very cross-functional. This was no different with my project. In order to coordinate the project, I had to meet with various departments at Scania to collect all information necessary for the campaign book. Hence, I met with colleagues from the department of Corporate Relations, Event & Exhibition, Employer Branding, Parts & Services (Vehicle Accessories and Branding Products) and Business Support (Image Desk). We decided to develop a Scania 125 year logotype in different variations, which was then printed on different promotional items, such as flags, T-shirts, umbrellas, key rings, mouse pads, pins, pens, mugs, balloons, and chocolate. Furthermore, we designed posters, roll ups, wall banners, and produced a video together with an external advertising agency. Once the campaign book was written, it was published internally to all Scania distributors in the world. The distributors could, then, decide by themselves which marketing material they want to use locally in order to celebrate Scania’s 125th anniversary.

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All of us trainees have spent a period abroad at a Scania distributor this year. I always got very excited when my trainee colleagues sent me pictures of Scania 125 year marketing material that is used at a Scania distributor, for instance, in Brazil or Holland. It is great to see that the marketing material, which I helped to design, is used all over the world to celebrate Scania’s 125th anniversary!

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Getting my heavy truck driver’s licence


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Each year, Scania offers its trainees to take the heavy truck licence (C-licence). With the C-licence, you are authorized to drive any kind of truck, regardless of its weight. Since I got my driver’s licence for passenger cars in Germany, I had to exchange my German driver’s licence into a Swedish “B-licence” at the Swedish transport agency, first.

During the introduction weeks of the Scania Graduate Trainee Program last summer, we spent two days at “Grönlunds”, which is a driving school for heavy trucks and buses. We attended theory lessons, in which we repeated basic traffic rules and learned more about truck-related regulations, such as restrictions concerning “driving and rest periods”. We also learned the use of a digital tachograph. In addition, we were given a heavy folder and several smaller brochures, which we had to study for the theoretical exam. It was quite a challenge to read and memorize all the material in Swedish in the evening, after having stood at Scania’s assembly lines all day long.

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On the day of the theoretical exam, I was very nervous. The exam is a computer-based test and is comprised of 60 questions, which have to be answered within 40 minutes. Five of the 60 questions are so-called “test questions”, which means that it does not matter if these questions are answered correctly. However, you do not know if the question you are trying to answer is a “real question” or a “test question”. Hence, 44 out of the 55 “real questions” have to be answered correctly in order to pass the theoretical exam. After 40 minutes, a note on the computer screen showed me that I had just passed the theoretical exam for my heavy truck licence. I was extremely relieved and proud, when I saw that message.

A few weeks later, I completed the practical exam with a 18t Scania truck. First, I had to perform a security check on the truck. Furthermore, I had to answer a few questions and calculate how much payload I could have on different roads, depending on the road classification (BK1, BK2, BK3). Afterwards, I had to prove my driving skills on the highway, as well as in rural and urban areas. Besides, I had to reverse the truck around a corner, and I also had to park the truck backwards against a loading bay, so that 10cm of the tailgate were placed on the loading bay, when opening the tailgate. After 45 minutes, the examiner told me that I had passed the practical exam and congratulated me on my heavy truck licence.

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The workshop practice


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The three-week workshop practice, which is part of the six-week introductory program at Scania, was one of the activities that I had been looking forward to the most since I signed my working contract with Scania. It takes place in August and September each year and is part of the introduction program for the newly recruited trainees.

There are three production facilities in Södertälje: bus and truck chassis, axels and gearboxes, and engines. The aim of the workshop practice is to obtain first-hand experience of how Scania’s products are assembled and to get an insight into the daily work flow at the production lines.

Due to safety reasons, the regulations concerning what clothes or shoes to wear when working at the assembly lines are very strict. Therefore, each trainee was given a pair of safety shoes on our first day at Scania. Furthermore, we all received a workshop outfit, consisting of work trousers, T-shirts and a sweater.

I still remember the moment, when I entered the chassis production facility for the first time. There was so much happening simultaneously that I did not know where to look first. The factory was surprisingly clean and light, all components were perfectly organized on the shelves, and every single step along the assembly line was precisely structured and planned in great detail. When walking through the production hall, you had to make sure to stay within the yellow lines, which are drawn on the floor, since there are so many small trucks, such as forklift trucks, driving around in order to supply the different workshop stations with new material. Thus, one of the first rules we learned was that these trucks were always allowed to go first.

Wearing the Scania outfit that we were given earlier, we trainees were dressed in the exact same way as all the other assemblers at the production line. Even the workshop managers all the way up to the plant manager wore at least the beige Scania T-shirt. This is, again, a typical example, that shows Scania’s unique organizational culture, where everybody – from the assembler to the top manager – feels like being part of one big family.

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When I was at the chassis assembly line, I worked with the team that put the engines into the bus chassis. I was surprised by the fact that a lot of work is still performed manually, for example, pushing the chassis from one work station to the next at the end of each tact time. The tools that are used in the chassis production are very heavy and not so easy to handle and it was exhausting to stand up during the entire day. Thus, my feet and shoulders hurt quite a bit when I got home from work.

During my second week of workshop practice, I was at the rear axle assembly line. The tact time, which is the time spent on each unit, is a lot shorter compared to the bus chassis production. Furthermore, since the rotation of an axle from one work station to the next is completely automated, every movement is prescribed in detail and has to be followed strictly. In addition, taking a break for drinking a sip of water, eating a snack or going to the restroom is steered by the tact time.

However, the workshop practice has been a very valuable experience for me. From day one, I felt like being part of the team and the assemblers were very patient and thorough when they taught me their tasks. The production facilities are really “the heart of Scania” and I have even more respect for the Scania assemblers, who are standing at the production lines every single day, now, after I have worked there myself. The assemblers’ dedication and commitment to Scania is truly exceptional and is definitely one of the reasons why Scania can retain such a high level of quality in its products.

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