Scania has been successful in improving quality levels over the past five years, with a steady trend for the number of warranty claims to fall. Scania’s Head of R&D, Harald Ludanek, explains why.
What are the main reasons for Scania’s improved focus on quality?
Most importantly, Scania’s management has been fully focused on issues of quality. As a premium brand we want to deliver products and services of a superior quality that fulfil our customers’ demands. But it is also important that we react quickly and appropriately when a failure or a deviation occurs.
Therefore we have worked hard to improve our internal cooperation. Our engineers within R&D are always testing new components under demanding conditions, our colleagues in purchasing ensure the quality of parts from suppliers, production staff assembles the vehicles in a precise way, and, finally the service and sales organisation deliver the correct specified truck to the customer.
Scania was one of the first manufacturers to develop and market the latest Euro 6 engine technology. What positive effects have you seen from this?
Scania started early in defining and implementing the technical solutions for Euro 6 engines which meant we had a good basis for testing under customer conditions. More than 700 engineers worked with Euro 6 development and we will now use some of these resources to improve the fuel consumption. With the powertrain concept and the leadership we have today, we will continue to improve the benefits for our customers.
What role does Scania’s R&D have in improving the quality of Scania’s products?
Scania’s R&D has always strived to find robust solutions to ensure a high quality level. Our modular system gives us an instrument that enables us to deliver the right trucks for the various customer demands. We have also improved our test facilities. The new climatic-wind-tunnel enables us to test under different conditions in hot and cold climates throughout the whole year.
With the daily use of quality control methods and the root-cause identification process, we’re increasing our knowledge and helping to avoid further failures. Close contact with our customers and markets helps us to get earlier feedback for use in daily operations. Personally, I strive to have many meetings with customers. I also drive a truck as often as possible.
What is your vision when it comes to quality?
A zero failure rate is a high ambition, but it cannot be a realistic vision as vehicle technology becomes more complex and future electronic assistant systems find their way into trucks and buses. Therefore we have to continue to improve the testing, the methods for responding to failure in our daily processes, the knowledge to avoid failures upfront and the lead-times for improvements. We will ensure that the positive trend in the reduction of the failure rate development will continue.