Lisa Barrehag

So, I’m in the middle of my mile-long to-do list of preparations for the Husqvarna  EXCITE Day (an event for our 150 biggest suppliers which will be held on 2nd of June in Munich, Germany) when I stop to check my calendar. There it is: the reminder “Blogpost finished”, clearly marked in orange, is shining at me in between the meetings. Ok, suddenly it seems like switching deadline with another trainee which I was offered in January wouldn’t have been such a bad idea. On the other hand, writing my post now means that I have more experiences to write about. Because if there is one thing I can definitely say about the Husqvarna Group’s Global Trainee Program, it is that it is never (well, very seldom) boring and that every week provides you with new challenges.

During my 9 months as a trainee within sourcing, I have participated in heated negotiations, organized a workshop for almost 40 people, learned how to use a chainsaw, arranged a lot of supplier meetings and traveled to countries such as Italy, Finland, England and Germany. But let’s go back to the beginning.

My trainee experience started in August 2014, in Sweden, where I am from, with a training module taking place in Stockholm and Husqvarna. During one and a half week, we were introduced to Husqvarna Group, and management representatives taught us about the different divisions and functions. We also got to do some product testing, such as operating a remote controlled demolition robot – something I can recommend everyone to try!


The 2014 Global Trainees

After the training module, it was time for my first assignment. I worked as a commodity manager for rubber parts and gaskets and I was responsible for the day-to-day contact with about 20 suppliers. This was a real challenge to me since the job often involved negotiations, which is a quite new thing to me. However, I like to think that I improved during the autumn and it felt really good to “win”, even if the negotiation was only about a smaller sum. Nevertheless, I still have a lot to learn and I realize that becoming a good negotiator is something that will take years.

Following my first assignment, my five trainee colleagues and I went to Ulm in Germany for another training module. We were introduced to the Gardena brand and we also got to participate in some intense but really valuable presentation training. After this great week in Ulm I immediately went to Aycliffe, England, to get some introduction to my second (and current) assignment, which is in project sourcing for our electric products. A very important product in the electric category is the  robotic mower, which is produced in Aycliffe, so it was very interesting to go there and have a look at the production and meet the team in the factory.

As a trainee in project sourcing I work with supporting the purchasing team and I’m also running some projects on my own. When I got back to Huskvarna after a week in Aycliffe, I started to work on one of these projects, a workshop focused on finding ideas for cost improvements for the robotic mowers. This was a really fun assignment, although there were a lot of details to keep track of. We wanted to do this exercise in cross-functional teams and just finding a date that suits everyone in sourcing, R&D, product management, etc. was a challenge. However, in the end we were 37 people working really hard in smaller cross-functional teams at six work stations. One thing that really struck me during this day was how passionate Husqvarna Group employees are about our products. Since this exercise would take 10 hours, I had scheduled shorter breaks in between each station. However, many teams just skipped these breaks and continued to work and discuss on their stations for as long as possible. To me, this truly shows commitment to the company and the products!

As I mentioned, at the moment I’m fully occupied with the preparations for the Husqvarna EXCITE Day 2015. If I thought there were a lot of details to think about for my workshop, this is on a completely new level. The day will include award ceremonies, round table exercises, speeches, a dinner and there will be a tour of the factory. With about 260 participants, it is quite a lot to prepare.  I am really looking forward to it and I am very glad that I will get the chance to be part of this event.

To conclude, you can probably guess by now that I don´t regret joining the trainee program. It has truly been a fantastic journey so far. Admittedly, quite stressful from time to time, but that’s fine when you are working with something you enjoy and get to see the results from all the efforts. It also helps that all the colleagues and management have been very supportive and I have always felt that I can get the help I need. Now I’m looking forward to the rest of my second assignment and then I’m off to Asia for my third assignment in the autumn.

Finally, to quote Pascal “I’m sorry that this was such a long post, but I didn’t have time to write you a shorter one.”

Now it’s time for me to go back to the to-do list. Brace yourselves, Husqvarna EXCITE Day is coming!

Lisa Barrehag
Global Trainee