The new V8 engine is a finely-tuned, well-oiled machine, and so is the team responsible for developing it. A large part of the reason for this success is the project management of Didier Biwersi, a man who puts people first.
Since 2013, Didier Biwersi has been Project Leader with responsibility for the entire engine development project. The likeable, extrovert German describes his role as “the oil in the machinery”, explaining: “I bring the right people together to solve the problems that are most important now. It’s all about the people.”
Perhaps borrowing an idea from his favourite sport, basketball (he is a youth coach at Södertälje team SBBK), Didier’s commitment to team spirit has extended to introducing a “wall of fame”, where everyone in the project, no matter their role, has signed their name. Team members have also been encouraged to present themselves at the weekly cross-functional team meetings. That means not only telling the others what they do at work, but who they are and what makes them tick.
“It’s quite un-Swedish,” says Biwersi, smiling, referring to his adopted homeland’s renowned modesty, “but we are building a V8 team. It was an honour that I was asked to become the project leader, and I’m very proud to work with the V8. It’s been easy to find good people to work on this prestige project, and I’m trying to make everyone proud of what they do and proud of being part of it, to be the best they can be.”
With the new engine’s launch near, Didier admits to feeling some pressure. “It’s a time of big decisions, such as whether we should start building the new engine for the new trucks,” he says, pointing to a frighteningly complicated master plan chart that surely only he can grasp –“but I love being proactive, working with the details and understanding the context.”
No matter the challenges, his enthusiasm and optimism shine through. He is genuinely excited about the new engine’s “fantastic, unbelievable” fuel economy figures (a saving of 7 to 10 percent, he says proudly), its improved layout and serviceability, which has Scania service technicians purring with delight, and its torque-to-horsepower ratio. “We know we have a fantastic product, and I’m really looking forward to the response of our customers when we launch it,” he says.
Didier’s favourite engine part is a big motivation, too. It’s the single-bank exhaust manifold that collects the exhaust gas pulses from the four cylinders on each side of the engine. “It’s the main part that is affecting the V8 sound, which gives it that roar,” he says. “Every time someone hears that sound it makes them smile, from customers to team members to senior management.
“Everyone gets happy!”