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From game developer dreams to patent success: Meet Fatima Strand

08 MARCH 2024

For Fatima Strand, our Service Director in Japan, daring to try is always on the cards. She has been living in Tokyo since mid-2023 because that is a market with great potential and where she can make a noticeable difference if she succeeds. She also has a patent to her name. This innovation made it possible for Scania to keep up with legal requirements for Euro6 engines.

Fatima has spent over ten years at Scania, although that wasn’t originally the plan. The Scania road she has covered has involved nearly every part of the organisation. But the original plan? Game developer in Stockholm, or special effects in Hollywood.

The Scania journey

But let’s start from the beginning. Parallel to her master's programme in media technology and science, she took a course on management. That was where she met the “Engine Man” from Scania, a great leader in developing engines. He needed master thesis students. As Fatima puts it: “Everyone knows about Scania. It was of course on the radar”. So she ended up in a highly tech-heavy environment; it was development and improvement at the same time, but also a constant chase towards decreased emissions and better product performance. 


“I was so trusted right from the start. But it was also like trying to structure super talented cowboys, with world-class competence doing their own thing and believing so much in their path.” Fatima played a part as they had to pave their way to deliver on time and according to set project goals. To gain the confidence of the senior staff, she decided to take additional courses at KTH to grasp the core of mechanical engineering, specifically combustion engines.

People and projects

Initially, she thought she might spend a maximum of two years at the company before hitting the city. But as time passed, she found that she enjoyed the mix of people and projects. And now, Fatima has been involved with nearly all business areas within Scania. In one of her latest positions, she experienced the customer first-hand as a Dealer Director in Stockholm, Sweden. “I was there for a couple of tough years, not because it was new to me with challenging work environments, but because of everything happening in society during Covid, following the supply chain challenges and crazy inflation rates. I learned the true, genuine side of drivers and haulage company owners – what is value and how important human relations are in business. I could not ask for a more fun and meaningful assignment and it was an experience I would wish all to encounter if you have the opportunity.”


Then and there, it became clear to her why Scania exists: “The connection to the whole eco-system of transport – I mean, the fire trucks, the food deliveries, the waste picked up outside your door, it’s all us. And it hit me several times every day that my team and everyone supporting them DO make a difference; our struggle and dedication for social sustainability actually matters.”

Something safe or something new

When she was ready for the next step in her career, Fatima tried to decide whether to conquer a well-established market or take on Japan. Knowing Fatima, who wants to make a difference and won’t back down from a challenge, Japan it was. “It has so much potential. I know what a mature market looks like and what it takes to get there – finding the way in the untapped is part of what I enjoy the most in the assignments I take on.” Being in Asia gives her an exceptional chance to experience another culture and language, test her leadership skills, and enter new territory with confidence yet great humbleness to what she can contribute.


The innovation

So what about the patent? Selective Catalytic Reduction. SCR. Not something that the average person knows a lot about. But necessary for legal demands for engines. At that time, exhaust gas treatment wasn’t as developed as now. “Me being me, with a love for chemistry and trying something less conventional, I joined a task force that took on Euro6 SCR solutions. We learned so much; we were so dedicated: we were developers, designers, PhD’s, seniors… We could work solely on evaporation of the urea particles in the exhaust after-treatment system. We built so much knowledge quickly, and then we had our patent. That made our Euro6 engine possible. “This is what I love about Scania - you can choose your niche and be extremely specialised within a field if you wish.”


Something that characterises Fatima’s career at Scania, and what she didn’t realise at first, is all the doors opening if you are curious and somewhat patient. “It is also the greatness in being a part of a larger context. You can be the niche and you can be open-minded and ok with learning new areas along the way – either path you can find your career at Scania and contribute to our journey.”