My name is Lois Lau and I am a Global Trainee in Manufacturing at Husqvarna Group in Shanghai, China, where we manufacture products such as chain saws, blowers, trimmers, hedge trimmer and water pumps.

I was born and raised in Hong Kong. I never felt the urge of leaving my hometown until the moment I realized I had a strong interest in manufacturing, which is not an area that I could find a suitable opportunity in the city. Therefore, I decided to look for opportunities in mainland China.


I joined Husqvarna Group’s Global Trainee Program in April 2014 and started with participating in a supply-chain project that enables a smooth communication between sales and manufacturing within Asia Pacific. It was a very meaningful project that gave me an overview of the operations and of the business challenges of which I could make an impact on my work.

I then started my first official assignment at the Quality department, with three months working with Factory Quality Assurance and three months within Supplier Quality Assurance. Within Factory Quality Assurance I put different quality management tools I learned at school into practice. Another important take-away was that I could practice my problem solving skills when doing different defect analysis or 8D reports. Sharp analytical skills are crucial for this role.

Within Supplier Quality Assurance, I worked with suppliers to brainstorm ways to cost-effectively improve quality in their production process. Once I conducted a problem-solving workshop with a supplier and received very positive feedback as the workshop gave them the confidence to do root-cause analysis and continuous improvement projects using the tools provided by Husqvarna Group.

Lois with Shanghai Quality Assurance team

The Quality Assurance team in Shanghai

Currently, I’ve started my second assignment at the Operations department in Shanghai. As my assignment manager is the Operation Manager I get to work in several different areas that fall under his umbrella. So, what is my daily work plan?

I start at 8:30am and check my email for around 30 minutes. Then I spend around 1.5 hour doing a Gemba Walk – which means going to the front lines to look for waste and opportunities to practice kaizen (continuous improvement) and practical shop floor improvement. During this walk we identify potential areas of improvement together with production supervisors and workers. Occasionally, I will participate in layered audits (a quality tool used in manufacturing management) as well to audit particular areas such as Quality Assurance or 5S of our production line with the engineers. After the Gemba Walk I spend the rest of my morning doing material planning to make sure components can be delivered on time with no over-stock. It is a challenging job since it requires lots of negotiation with suppliers and coordination with the production planning function.

In the afternoon I have meetings regarding subjects such as new product launches, lean manufacturing, operation reviews, sales and operations planning, productivity improvement workshops etc. As a trainee you need to be good at managing your time and have multi-tasking skills to not be over-whelmed by all these projects.

Besides the day-to-day business, I will participate in overseas training modules in Sweden, Germany and the U.S. and I will get one international assignment in Arkansas, the U.S. I have many friends participating in trainee programs at other companies and they are amazed by hearing of my diverse and international experiences in Husqvarna Group’s program. It really is a life-changing experience for me because I get to do what I like with a lot of support from the company and colleagues. All trainees’ assignments are unique as tasks are based on the company’s needs and our development plans and interests.

I am also glad to have several mentors at different departments in the company who guide me through the whole experience. My home manager Mike Richards introduced me to the concept of lean manufacturing and told me to keep up the spirits no matter what in the ups and downs. I believe good is not good enough and that best can be better. From my role as a Global Trainee I can really improve myself professionally and personally.

To conclude, the Global Trainee Program is a one-time-only experience. I truly love being a Global Trainee at Husqvarna Group!

Lois Lau
Global Trainee