Top Team: competition as recruitment tool
There’s a global shortage of service technicians, but Scania is actively working to address this through recruitment campaigns including Top Team and Top Team Mini competitions, imaginative concepts that highlight the value of this key profession.
The importance of a service technician to Scania, and the heavy vehicle industry as a whole, cannot be overstated. It’s our network of Scania service technicians and privately employed Scania technicians who fix vehicle faults when they occur, and it’s the service technicians who ensure that Scania vehicles are back out on the road as quickly and as efficiently as possible, so they can earn money for our customers.
In many cases, the service technician serves as the primary Scania contact for our customers. “We often tend to say that the next truck is actually sold by our service teams,” says Harald Cederberg, Director of Technical Training at Scania Academy and head of the Scania Top Team jury.
But there’s a global shortage of these uptime heroes and heroines. Scania estimates that we need more than 1,000 service technicians a year in the years ahead to keep up with the demand that our expanding business generates. The industry needs to keep the supply of talent coming, but in this digital age, many young students have set their sights on jobs in other hi-tech engineering realms or other, superficially more glamorous areas of the automotive industry.
Service technicians, not garage mechanics
But these students would be advised to look again. The job of service technicians today bears little resemblance to the days of male-dominated garage mechanics working elbow-deep in grease and oil.
Today’s workshops look as much like hi-tech laboratories as they do the garages of yesteryear, and the number of female service technicians is gradually growing too. Technological developments have made the computer the most important tool for Scania’s service technician. With hundreds of thousands of connected trucks and the predictive maintenance element that has been introduced through Scania Fleet Management and Flexible Maintenance services, when a truck breaks down, it’s time to reach for a laptop.
Competition as recruitment tool
Scania recognised the importance of maintaining a strong and competent workforce of service technicians as far back as the 1980s, when it established the Top Team competition. Through national, regional and global events, Top Team pits service technician teams against one another, with each team working on individual stations where their skills at solving a technical or theoretical problem quickly and effectively are put to the test.
It’s a fantastic way of building team spirit and pride in the job, and it sharpens skills too. As Kent Conradson, Scania’s Senior Vice President for Human Resources puts it, “Top Team is an excellent recruitment tool for Scania.”
This year’s Top Team competition is well underway and six teams from Europe have already earned their spot at the world finals following three European final events held in Trento, Italy, in April. After further regional finals in Asia and South America, twelve teams will head to Scania’s headquarters in Sweden in December, where one skilled team will earn the right to be called world champions.
Attracting the younger generation
To target the next generation of service technicians, Scania Italy and Scania Ukraine are testing the Top Team Mini format on younger aspiring technicians. Held in parallel with the larger Scania events, Top Team Mini roughly mirrors the Top Team format, with activities adapted for students.
As Daniel Dusatti, Director of Network Development and Parts at Italscania, says, “One of our aims is to get the students to love the truck and bus business. We realised that by starting early with the students and getting them seeing and touching the vehicles, it’s very easy to get them to love the work.”