Several of Scania’s trainees will now have the opportunity to work an extra three months at Volkswagen Truck & Bus. The initial group of trainees were pleased with their experience and this opportunity will therefore be opened for future trainees.
Christine Ekberg and Viktor Krödel Jonsson were in the pioneering group.
“It was exciting to learn more about VW Truck & Bus and how they work with the MAN and Scania brands,” says Christine, who was stationed in Brunswick in Germany.
Viktor underlines that Scania now forms part of a larger family to meet increasing market competitiveness. “Belonging to group strengthens joint skills, knowledge and resources. We can thereby develop even better and more competitive products. I’m looking forward to being a part of this collaboration; it’s very interesting.”
A great opportunity
Erik Barkman, Manager, Personnel Development at Volkswagen Truck & Bus, recognises the value in gaining a broader perspective of the group. “This is highly beneficial for the trainees. It’s also a fantastic way of building your network and at the same time getting better understanding of our brands.”
Since it was a pilot, both Christine’s and Viktor’s expectations were unclear: “I hoped to learn more about the group and its mission, but also to gain a better understanding of the different corporate cultures within the brands,” says Viktor. Christine, in turn, looked forward to a better understanding of the different brands. “The project itself was more challenging than I thought, but it was also very rewarding to work with issues that will affect the future of VW Truck & Bus and Scania.”
Viktor’s mission was to assist in developing a joint product planning process for all brands within the group. “It was a challenging task but very interesting and instructive.” What he enjoyed with his assignment and time there was to discover the great willingness to cooperate and the good results that the brands and the group can achieve together.
A common understanding
Christine quickly realised the scope of her assignment, which, together with three other trainees, was to examine digitalisation, electrification and urbanisation to see how these megatrends could affect the future of the heavy vehicles industry.
“The scope was incredibly large and we only had three months. We definitely felt some time pressure but it was very interesting to explore what these trends can mean for us as a traditional hardware manufacturer.”
She also says that during the project they met and talked to over 50 people within the group and points to that there is a lot of expertise and knowledge within the brands and that everyone they met was very open and enthusiastic to share their work.
In Brunswick, Christine says she loved the pace of work and working with people from many cultures and brands. “We all had our perspectives and different ways of thinking. All of us had contacts at our own brands, which made it easier to get an overview of the different projects and initiatives in the group. I really felt that I was in the right place.” Viktor reasons similarly: “It’s important that we understand why our colleagues from other brands occasionally think in a different way. This may be due to everything from the brand’s company structure, history or its corporate culture. I believe that if we reach a common understanding, we will find better and quicker solutions.”
Exciting and educational
Christine also believes that communication is important and key to solving future challenges.
“As individuals, we get on well, as long as we are open with our information.” She also feels the need to improve communications in order to keep up with the evolving technology. “There is an incredible strength in our group.”
The extra three months at Volkswagen Truck and Bus have been both exciting and educational for Christine and Viktor. “It was a great experience. I have forged many new contacts and gained a lot of knowledge about both the group and the brands,” says Viktor. “I was given a unique opportunity to work on a forward-looking cross-brand project and I’m incredibly glad that I took that chance,” adds Christine.
Benefits both the trainees and the company
Erik Barkman is convinced that this opportunity benefits both the trainees and the company: “From the company’s perspective we hope to be an even more attractive employer. Our hope is that the trainees take the positive feeling back to their brands and inspire their colleagues.”
The next opportunity for current trainees to join Volkswagen Truck & Bus will be at the end of this year and it will also be included in the new Global Champion Trainee Program starting in August 2017.