Last week it was finally time for us trainees to get together again after a few months without any official trainee group activities. This time the Proforma committee, an association for new and old Scania trainees, had arranged for us to do a test & drive back and forth to Gothenburg with some interesting study visits along the way. A great weekend to have some fun with the other trainees, try out some Scania trucks and learn more about other parts of Scania outside of Södertälje.
On Thursday morning we all met up in Södertälje where eight different Scania trucks were waiting for us. Among the trucks you could find anything from an S cab with 500 horsepower from the new generation to smaller cabs with a little less engine from the older program. The schedule was arranged so that we would all have the chance to drive all the different trucks, learn more about the products and the differences between them. I have to admit it’s a truly amazing experience to cruise along the highway with more than 500 horsepower under the hood.
On our way down to Gothenburg we had our first study visit when we stopped in Laxå, the metropole of Närke, to visit our colleagues at Laxå Special Vehicles. This is an external company where Scania today has majority ownership and they focus on production of crew cabs for e.g., fire trucks and low entry cabs for the new L-series in a new automated robotic factory. It was a great opportunity to experience the differences between the Laxå factory and our bigger factories, hear more about their challenges as a relatively small manufacturing plant and their journey towards producing more than 1000 cabs a year. After a few interesting hours, it was time to get back in the trucks and drive the remaining 30km to Gothenburg for a weekend in Sweden’s second largest city.
On Friday, we all met up early morning in Torslanda outside of Gothenburg, where some trainees from Volvo Cars’ graduate engineering program had arranged for us to visit them and the Volvo museum. They presented some background on Volvo cars as a company and we learned more about their trainee program, how it’s set up and the reasons to way they had chosen to start their careers as trainees at Volvo Cars. Before we moved on to the museum, Mattias Berglund, who is the senior manager for powertrain strategy, came by and held a presentation about Volvo Cars’ electrification strategy and the challenges that lies ahead for them. Although Volvo Cars are dealing with much smaller vehicles than we do at Scania, there still seems to be a lot of uncertainties and challenges when it comes to developing battery electric vehicles.
After the presentation we were all given a ride in different Volvo cars by the trainees to the museum, where we got to learn more about the history of Volvo Group and see how the car has developed from the first ever serial manufactured car in 1927 up until today. Following the museum it was time for some well needed lunch before moving on to visit one out of five Scania dealers in the Gothenburg area, where the service manager greeted us and showed us around the workshop. I always find it really interesting to visit the dealers, learn more about their specific needs and challenges. Suddenly you feel so much closer to the market and you can put yourself in the eyes of a Scania customer.
Of course this trip wasn’t all about work, it was suddenly weekend and we all went out for some dinner, drinks and laughs together before we continued dancing our way through the cold Gothenburg night. While most of the trainees stayed to drive all the trucks back on Sunday, I headed back to Stockholm already on Saturday with some more product knowledge, experiences and laughs in my back pack.
Thanks to all the trainees for a fantastic trip! Next time you hear from me I will be in Vilnius. Until then, take care.