13 work days later and I have already experienced a lot! This was of course expected and also what I was hoping for – after all, taking part in a rotational program provides you the possibility to absorb a great deal of information, and I’m aiming at doing that to a great extent.
So, how you can spend two and a half working weeks #1:
During the first part of the introduction of the trainee program, there was a great variety of activities planned for us. The first day we got to interview each other and present our ‘partner’ to the group, which was an informal way to get to know each other. The question “name something that’s good to know about you” generated many fun facts! We also had our first session with one of the members of the ex-board (during the following weeks we would meet almost all of them). In my experience, this was highly appreciated since it shows that the company really take a great interest in the trainees and dedicate resources to the graduate trainee program. Who would not be boosted by hearing that they are happy to have us as employees and that we were the ones that had managed to pass the needle’s eye!
We also got to meet several new colleagues representing different functions in the company. The presentations ranged from financials, the challenges of working with new and emerging markets, how Scania Assistance work to maximize the uptime of our customers’ vehicles, how we work to provide sustainable solutions, and who are our current customers of our solutions Buses & coaches and Engines. And it continues. We were also told how Scania Transport Lab can strengthen our knowledge about our products, how much work is performed behind the scenes in order to prepare for a major truck exhibition and even got to see what it looks like inside the foundry!
In the interviews during the recruitment, I asked the following question: “What do you appreciate most with this company & why should I like to start working here in your opinion?” The most common answer to that was: “There are so many possibilities! You can work with almost anything and you are also encouraged to challenge yourself to enter new positions”. During the first weeks it got apparent this is really the case. People have had the most interesting career paths and I find it fascinating that Scania continues to manage to keep so much competence within the company.
Then there was of course social activities in the schedule as well. The very first day we spent time in the forest dressed in blue overalls and helmets. I wouldn’t like to spoil what were the activities if this will be part of the introduction next year – but it was great fun and had to do with communication, trust and cooperation.
Personally, I am also happy that the introduction provided us with some “this should not leave the room – kind of information”. Getting those glimpses of what was to come made me feel extra excited and proud to enter the company, which we did in a very important time; right before the launch of the NCG. The investment in the new S series is Scania’s largest one ever in the company’s 125-year history (20 billion SEK was invested in the development of new products and services!). Climbing into one of the trucks, knowing a great number of employees have been contributing to making it possible for it to soon hit the market, was a great experience – and poof, it was elected as the International Truck of the Year 2017!
Way to go. 🙂
During the introduction there are also production weeks, where my first one was spent at the assembly line for front axles. I will not go into this in detail but I’ll give you some quick advise:
i.) Do start to read in “Tungboken” as soon as possible. The product course and theory lessons for the driving license take place later in the introduction – and it is more interesting to spend time in the production when you have some knowledge about what you see and help to assemble.
ii.) Do try to undertake all the assembly operations during a takt – it’s a great challenge! But, also take the chance to talk to as many as possible (this goes for the entire program) and follow the flow of information. For example, I got to chat with colleagues at the pre-assembly areas, development line and a representative for safety and health. I also went with a truck feeding the assembly lines – great fun! So do not be shy to ask, it is often appreciated that you show interest in others around you! The head of Scania Transmission Manufacturing reacted very positively when me and a trainee friend requested to join their meeting and excitedly provided us with live comments on the content of their discussions!
How you can spend two and a half working weeks #2:
After the compulsory introduction tour and settling in at the business unit the first day, my rotation abroad kick-started with attending the Regional meeting for the AO region. During two days I got a crash course in how we deliver in the region and what will be the main focus areas during this year. I got to meet other expats representing several functions and an update on what were their agendas. Again, it stroke me how endless the possibilities seem to be within Scania!
The same week I got the opportunity to visit our Regional Product Centre and discuss how they work with their planning and delivery processes to ensure we keep a lean flow. During a tour in the factory I could see how parts in a container step by step transform into a vehicle ready for delivery. The journey back and forth also provided me with market knowledge, since the RPC is located in the area of Port Klang, thus many trucks traffic those highways. My colleagues pointed out the most common Japanese and Chinese brands, whereof many I had never gotten acquainted with before. One can also see that there is a considerable amount of used trucks imported from Europe.
The following week, me and my new supervisor (also named Therese, so now we are apparently called “double T” in Södertälje J) went on a business trip to Taiwan! Scania in Taiwan is divided into two entities; the Scania Regional Product Center in Taoyuan and Scania Griffin Automotive. We spent two full days at the latter, located in central Taipei. Days were jammed with meetings and discussions, and the evenings with activities! In both environments it was obvious that the employees at the business unit have a strong customer focus and are used to providing them with high service. The employees got to rest a little during lunch hour though, when the lights were switched off in the office and some managed to sleep with their heads on the desk. In the Chinese culture, the orange is a prayer or wish for good fortune. Luckily, our visit timed an inauguration procedure of their new office floor, hence we took part in throwing oranges along the floor to bless the new rooms.
Back in Kuala Lumpur I have now received my own projects and I believe I will be rather occupied this period. But I’m really excited to start since the projects complement each other and I get to explore several markets in the region. Today I learnt all markets here are different. Some facts:
i.) In Malaysia, you need permits to operate, e.g. to run a long-haulage business.
ii. ) In Singapore, there is an auction process in order to acquire a certificate that grants you the right to register, own and use a vehicle for a limited period of time. This is part of Singapore’s traffic management strategies which aim to provide a healthy road network and transport infrastructure along with a sustainable urban quality of life.
iii.) In Thailand, you must drink at least three unts if you arrive late to an event…being a salesmen is not a profession that boosts your health!
Leaving work today I was a bit tired after a day of non-stop focus on the planning and initiation of my three projects. The car I can use here has been all oily inside so I finally gave up and drove to a car wash instead of directly home. They offered me to sit down in a sofa in a glass cube to watch the washing procedure, but I politely said no (is it a Swedish characteristic that it’s uncomfortable to see others work with things that one should be able to handle on our own?). Instead, I went around the corner and found a newly opened hip and cosy café. And here I am, happy again after a delicious greek salad (I have longed for some fresh food!), a sea salted brownie and a latte. Hopefully, the traffic jams are now over and if not; at least I’ll deal with it in a clean and dry car!
On the agenda when I get home: prepare the backpack for a 5-day adventure on the North of Sumatra with my closest friend that will be visiting during the Chinese New Year!
– Until next update, take care!