A successful management training initiative has helped Scania Parts Logistics find and promote leadership talent from within the company.
Scania Parts Logistics in Oudsbergen, Belgium, is the worldwide distribution centre of parts for Scania trucks and buses. Every day, around 1,100 employees make sure the parts reach more than 1,500 delivery points worldwide. It is vital for the business to have strong managers with a positive attitude. But they are not always easy to find.
A decade ago, the company was growing fast, so it needed to increase the number of managers, while maintaining service standards. The solution was an annual training programme, which could help Scania Parts Logistics get the right people into the right positions by maximising its employees’ potential. And, nearly ten years later, it’s paying off. Each year, twelve employees have the opportunity to learn, not only about leadership, but also about themselves.
A training programme with an opportunity
Anders Nilsson is Scania Parts Logistics’ HR director, and he is constantly looking for talent among the employees: “We select twelve co-workers from those who have applied. They then start a practical and theoretical training programme with the opportunity to move to a managerial position later on.”
The training lasts for ten months. In the latter part of the programme, the participants work with an experienced manager to gain practical knowledge. In between the theory classes, the employees are given cases to solve, which they later present and receive feedback on.
Johan Westhovens, who began his Scania career at the age of fifty, is a former participant in the training programme. He now works as a team leader in the shipping department. “It was a process of personal growth,” he says.
Another participant, Jolien Quintens, started at Scania in 2012.
“I saw the importance of motivating people to get a perfect result,” he says. Quintens thinks that one of the training programme’s benefits is that the participants learn about how colleagues at other departments are working. Office workers attend alongside people from the warehouse, creating networks that might not have happened outside the training programme.
A challenging step
Nilsson says that it is a big challenge to take the step from being a co-worker to a position as a manager, without any training. “It is also difficult to recruit great leaders externally. The challenge is to find leaders who can adapt to the Scania culture.”
To date, approximately 80 per cent of the participants have ended up as managers. “The others might not work as managers, but they have all grown on a personal level. That is also something that empowers Scania’s business,” says Nilsson.
The next step for Nilsson and company is to start a new version of the programme, focusing on people that already work as managers because they too need training when it’s time to advance to another position.
“This is going to be aimed at fewer people, and will start after the summer,” he says.