On site where it happens
To boost Scania’s knowledge about how products are used by customers, some employees have left the research and development centre in Södertälje in order to work close to customers in their day-to-day businesses.
Scania wants to continue growing in the future, among other ways by entering new markets and new customer segments. Meanwhile its offering to existing customers must be constantly strengthened. The task of Scania’s R&D operations is to effectively develop new products and services. A good understanding of the customer’s business is essential if you want to develop products that really match the customer’s needs. For this reason, there are currently about ten employees from Research and Development placed in local markets around the world.
“We have two aims with this. One is to develop our employees’ skills and knowledge, and the other is to develop products that genuinely meet market needs,” says Sven-Åke Edström, Senior Vice President, Truck, Cab and Bus Chassis Development.
In the past, the stationing of R&D employees in the field has been partly determined by demand – when a given market asked for such a resource, it then received it. Today, Scania is working in a more strategic way by choosing the markets it wants to focus on. Employees are currently stationed in Germany, Italy, Latin America, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Indonesia and China, among other places.
“We want to have quite a broad presence out there and gather knowledge from new markets. It is about new geography, for instance the impact of climate and topography, but it is also about new customer segments, where our products and services face new demands with regard to loads, ranges and capacity utilisation, among other things. Half of our products are sold outside Europe, so it is important that we bear this in mind when choosing where to station R&D employees,” says Edström.
The people who are selected to be local representatives are those who Scania wants to give an opportunity for professional development, but some years of previous job experience are also required.
“You need to have specific knowledge in order to be respected in the markets,” says Edström and adds that the clear majority of those who work in a different market regard the experience as very positive.
“They have gained broader experience and a better understanding of the customer’s day-to-day business and needs. This has also given them a much better foundation for their future career at Scania. And when they come back, we try to fi nd the right challenges so that they can bring what they learned to their new role at Scania.”
Voices from the markets:
Fatima El Itabi, Development Engineer Exhaust Gas Aftertreatment Systems, Engine Development, Brazil:
Fredrik Swartling, Field Test Engineer, Technical Product Planning & Vehicle Validation, Italy:
Jörgen Andersson, Product Development Manager, India: