Hello dear readers,
Let me tell you about last weekend when we all met again for our second SSI weekend together. Since there was no pictures in my last blog post, I thought I would make it up to you this time. So I hope you will enjoy to see a lot of pictures of what we did during the weekend.
Friday morning we started out at Mälardalens tekniska gymnasium in Södertälje where we had a case with SPS, Scania Production System.
The case was like a game where our task was to start a factory from scratch and produce engines (made out of Lego). The fictive organization included a purchasing department, a supplier, logistics, production, planning and of course a customer who placed the engine orders. Actually he placed a new order every 30 seconds which represented the pace we needed to work at. Of course we didn’t realize this so the first “production year” (~15 minutes) ended in chaos and a big deficit for our new engine factory. We had a really good instructor, however, who talked us through an evaluation of what we did wrong and were the bottle neck in our organization was.
The bottleneck turned out to be at the purchasing department who was having some challenges organizing their work. This led to a heavily unbalanced work load for all departments. Also, no one worked at pace which led to some boring moments with nothing to do and some stressful moments with too much to do.
After some more practice “years” we were given the opportunity to make any changes we wanted to improve the organization. We then changed layout into a production line which eliminated most of the need for logistics. Also, we tried to work at pace which gave a more balanced workflow. The result turned out much better and our “factory” now made profit.
The instructor told us about the connection between our experiences here and the reality within a production company. It was both interesting and fun so I can understand why Scania uses this method to educate their production personnel.
When we were done with the case we headed back to the mountain (Scania’s R & D department). Of course we traveled in style. 😉
The rest of the day included a nice lunch with my summer job boss, a visit to the office to say hi to his colleagues (which also will be my colleagues for the summer), a cool tour of Scania’s new climatic wind tunnel and a presentation of how Scania uses CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) when calculating drag, among other things.
Of course, my favorite part of the day was the secret activity in the evening when they took us to an indoor beach volleyball facility!
Even though I was quite exhausted from a long week in school and now a day filled with impressions at Scania, as soon as we started playing around in the sand I somehow found new energy reserves and had a blast.
The next day we went to Scania’s own health center to have some team building activities. We got divided into groups, dressed up in blue overalls and “played” outdoor for the whole morning. Fun! The games, or challenges, were all tricky in some way and forced us to communicate and cooperate within the group. After each task our accompanying instructor talked us through the challenge and we discussed what parallels about trust and support that can be drawn between these experiences and everyday group work at Scania. The discussions offered me quite a few aha moments actually, and it was great to be outdoor and play for a change. I hope I get to come back and play some more some other time.
Later that day we also visited Scania’s own haulage contractor called Scania Transportlaboratorium.
This company is separated from Scania and has two main purposes. One is to carry goods around the clock between Södertälje in Sweden and Zwolle in Holland. The other one is to be Scania’s most demanding customer. By fully acting out the role of the customer as an actual road carrier, they can evaluate Scania from the customer’s point of view. Then, when they encounter any problems whatsoever with the trucks or with the services provided by Scania, it is reported straight up to the management level of Scania so they can deal with it right away. This is possible since the CEO of Scania himself is a board member at Scania Transportlaboratorium and meets with the company once a month. I must say, this seems to me like a very clever way of keeping a customer perspective on the business.
To wrap up this post on a more personal note, I would like to share that it now feels like the group is more relaxed with one another and that we are getting to know each other better, which is great.
Also, I feel that it is time for me to relax a bit in my performance anxiety. I am talking about my perceived need to present myself in the best possible way at all times. This is a part of my personality which generally appears in this type of situation. Sure, it is an ambitious personality trait to use on special occasions, but in the long run I must return to a normalized, still nice enough, mode. What I mean is that I have already been enrolled in this program so I do not need to convince anyone any further about why they should approve of me. Therefore, my main focus should not be to impress but rather to relax and enjoy the ride, to take in all the impressions that are given and strive to get to know Scania as good as possible. Then, in the end it is time for me to evaluate if this is a company whom I would like to work for in the future. I believe this is what the SSI program is all about – an opportunity for Scania and I to get to know each other better.
Please feel free to contact me if you would like to ask or discuss anything. Thanks for reading!