My current assignment in Malaysia has been really exciting because I have had the opportunity to travel a lot in Asia to meet with end-customers and see for myself how they use our products, such as chainsaws, trimmers and lawn mowers. Working in product management as a trainee is similar to being an old-school apprentice, because many of the most important things about being a product manager can only be learnt by being out in the field visiting customers and getting to know them. There is no academic course that can teach you why certain countries prefer one type of product over another, which is why you need to create your own opinion by talking with customers and senior colleagues.

Husqvarna customer in Guangzhou_w1000

Customer in Guangzhou, China

Luckily for me, meeting the customers is one of my favorite tasks since they are the ones that will buy and use the product and I think it is an interesting challenge to think about how to create better products for them. Further, in order to stay ahead of competition one must also think about how our products compare to others and what can be done differently to ensure that our products create more value for the customer. Many times this means to not only think about how they are operating the machine but also to think about the context in which it is used. For example how much training does an operator get before using a machine, an operator with more training can be expected to know how to properly adjust a harness and can therefore have a more advanced one than a user with no training.

Furthermore, I have realized that we might design a product to be used in a certain way but in reality the needs of the customers are different and they will make adjustments to the product for it to better fit their workstyle. When you see examples like that you need to reflect and decide if the adjustments are something that needs to be made in our own factories or if you should focus more on customer training. I think that this is what makes the product management role so interesting, it is a broad role in which I get the opportunity to think both big and small. Big in the sense that you need to find a balance in the product range between the different products to create a profitable and futureproof range. Small in the sense that when you write a product specification it can be the small details that decides if a product will be a success or not and you have to be aware of what is important to include and what can be left out.

Travel in Thailand w_1000

Alexander Fornell, travelling in Thailand

This is what makes the Husqvarna Group’s global trainee program so great, because when I was doing my final year at university I had no idea of what I wanted to do after graduation. Now I know that I enjoy working with products and customers since it allows me to contemplate how I can solve customer problems and bring new ideas to the market. But with the global trainee program I will also get to work in other functions and who knows, there might be another area that I enjoy even more!

Alexander Fornell
Global Trainee
Product Management & Development

Earlier blog post
Gaining valuable work experience while travelling the world