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“It’s challenging but very rewarding…I would definitely recommend getting a PhD.”

02 MAY 2024

José Campos Garcia is the first-ever Industrial PhD student within Scania’s Procurement department. He feels honoured to have the opportunity and hopes his research into semiconductor and electronics procurement will benefit both Scania and his own career.

“It was the right topic at the right time,” says José Campos Garcia, as he explains why he switched from working full-time in Scania’s Procurement department to becoming its first-ever Industrial PhD student in a project in cooperation with the Chalmers University of Technology.


For the past two years or so, the 29-year-old from São Paulo, Brazil, has spent 80% of his time researching questions of semiconductor and electronics procurement, and the remaining 20% working as a Sourcing Manager with focus on commodity purchasing of autonomous and connected systems. 


“I feel honoured to be the first in Procurement to do this,” he says. “It's also quite a responsibility because we do have a very important topic on which I want to contribute my research to help the company. We do face some challenges.”

A strategic research area

With the increasingly complex electronics that go into Scania’s latest generations of battery-electric, autonomous and even combustion-engine trucks, the area covered by Garcia’s Scania-funded research is recognised as a strategic issue for the company’s procurement function. 


In particular, the worldwide shortage of semiconductors that occurred in 2021 left Scania (and other modern truck builders) with significant supply chain problems that hit order fulfilment hard.


Explaining his decision to study for a doctorate with Scania’s backing, Garcia says, “I moved to Sweden four years ago to work as a purchaser for Scania, after doing my Master’s in Germany and gaining some work experience in sourcing for MAN and Volkswagen Group. I had the idea of doing a PhD at some point, but I didn't want to do it at that point in time.


“However, even before the semiconductor shortages we had been talking about the possibility of having some a PhD within procurement and I was very interested. Then, when we started seeing everything that happened with semiconductors, the department saw it as something that was important to investigate.


“So, when the opportunity presented itself, it was the right moment and I decided to do it.”

Understanding semiconductor and electronics supplier networks

In his studies, Garcia seeks to understand the global supply networks around semiconductors and electronic components generally. 


“Electronics are basically the future of commercial vehicles. We use them in our ADAS system, our connectivity, our body management and e-machines, for example, and we have historically purchased these electronic parts from direct suppliers,” he explains.


“I’m not only looking at the direct suppliers, but looking at the different tier levels, including the suppliers of our suppliers, to understand their relationships and how changes in the network coming from technological developments. 


“It’s about how that changes the position of procurement, how Scania should deal with supplier relationships, what kind of knowledge we need to invest in to succeed. We want to learn to make sure that we adapt the procurement way in a way that the shortage situation doesn't happen again.”

The benefits of Scania work culture

As he nears the halfway point in his projected five-year studies, Garcia is very happy to be researching under the auspices of Scania, and appreciates the support he has had from his managers and colleagues.


“It’s such a quick-changing area and Scania is at the forefront of it, and that's what attracted me the most.


“I also like how the culture plays a role within Scania. It’s the autonomy that you have, the security that you have, the trust that people are putting in you. It’s not easy to study for a PhD with all of the various deadlines for conferences and journal submissions. 


“But to have this trust and then have the freedom to navigate your daily work, well…that balances out the stress!”


Praise for a Scania doctorate

With more than two years left of his study programme, José Campos Garcia is not sure yet of where he will end up, but he hopes that a career somewhere at Scania is a distinct possibility. 


“It's probably going to be within procurement because I like the work that we do. But that's something that we'll start figuring out in the coming years,” he says.


“In the meantime it's rewarding when you see the results of the first studies coming in, and then you see how they can contribute to the work that you're doing on a daily basis.”


And he would certainly give the thumbs-up to others considering a doctorate with Scania. 


“I think the contribution that we as doctorate students can make is considerable, so I think for anyone that has an inclination to enjoy research and investigate topics in a more intensive manner, I would definitely recommend it. Scania has the perfect set-up to do that.”