In the development of Scania’s new generation of construction vehicles, direct input from customers played a crucial role. Meet some of the experts who brought customer and driver demands into these tough new trucks.
With its new generation of construction vehicles, Scania has solutions for the toughest conditions in the transport industry, an industry where robustness and reliability make the difference and help the haulier to always be there and carry out his mission – and earn money in the process. The foundation for this is high uptime and vehicles with outstanding productivity.
“Many operators have found that the best way to achieve this is a close partnership with Scania,” says Niklas Engholm, Product Manager for Construction Vehicles within Scania’s Sales and Marketing department. Engholm is part of a large team working cross-functionally as the customers’ voice within Scania. “It’s our responsibility to understand their challenges and demands,” he says.
In this, Scania’s product managers work closely with the research and development engineers. Years before the launch of the new construction vehicles they started visiting customers together in teams, bringing with them different views on how the vehicles are being used. In the process the teams spent time with many construction operators from different parts of the world.
“From our side we are looking into the business and how the vehicles are being used to earn money,” says Engholm. “Our colleagues from R&D are focusing on the operation and the conditions the trucks are put up to.
“The No 1 focus area is of course uptime,” he continues. “Together with our construction customers we have seen and experienced many tough challenges their trucks are being put up to – like the risk of getting stuck and the need of a really good towing solution or the constant risk of bumping into something. Both require a sturdy steel bumper. For these and other demands we now have the perfect tool – the new Scania XT range.”
Looking for the perfect solutions
The teams from Scania look at the operations, collect data and discuss issues with the operators – all to understand more in terms of customers’ needs and challenges. All that information is brought back into the development of new products and services.
Staffan Berglund, Head of Technical Product Planning & Vehicle Validation at Scania’s Research and Development, emphasises Scania’s solid customer focus in product development throughout the years. “From a Scania perspective, we have always worked very closely with our customers, gradually understanding more and more about their businesses and needs,” he says. “We look for the properties and perfect solutions the customers need. Those solutions can consist of both products and services. From that we developed this new range.”
Data from 650,000 trucks
Studying the customers operating in the toughest conditions, the Scania teams sometimes find “gaps”, things needed by the customers but not yet offered by Scania. It could be axles, engine power levels or interior solutions in the cab, asked for by the drivers. With the new XT range Scania has been able to close these gaps.
But Scania also brings in huge amounts of information from connected vehicles. Magnus Staaf, Head of Operational Performance, explains: “At the moment we get data from over 650,000 trucks all over the world. From this information we can see how the customers use their trucks and perform in their operations. For example, we can see how the engine is operating in thousands of trucks in different conditions. Are these vehicles being driven in an economical way or not? Do they need new, additional engine power levels?”
Visit customers around the world
For Mikael Wågberg, Senior Engineer, it’s important to understand all the different situations these vehicles are operating in. “Having met a lot of customers around the world, I know they are operating in everything ranging from tropical to arctic conditions,” he says. “To make exactly the vehicles our customers need, we must gather facts on all these different kind of operations. That’s a challenge!
“At Scania we know that it’s very important to attract the best drivers with really good driveability and driver environment in order to achieve the best productivity and uptime for our customers,” he says. “The new Scania XT range really supports the driver with robustness and mobility in tough conditions.”
As they visit customers all over the world, Scania’s teams also gather information to use when designing a test track. This track, always very secret, should as closely as possible represent the challenges real customers meet in their daily operations. Henrik Nyrén, Head of Strength and Durability Testing, explains: “The test track is made up of many different parts. There’s the important durability testing and many different obstacles that really put pressure on the structure in the new trucks. When developing the new XT range, we focused very much on durability testing of the new steel bumper. And I can say that it performed very well in our tests.”
The team that ensures the quality
After Scania’s product managers and engineers have developed these new vehicles for really tough conditions, someone needs to ensure that they can perform and provide the customers with the best possible uptime and productivity over time. That’s where the team working with Scania’s global service concepts come in. One of them is Niklas Olsson, Product Manager for Scania Maintenance.
“We know that correctly maintained vehicles are the foundation for all uptime,” Olsson says. “My work is to ensure that Scania has the maintenance programmes to create the best uptime for our customers. And with our Scania Maintenance with flexible plans service we can always present an optimised maintenance interval adapted to each business operation.”
An additional service that fits the needs of construction operations is Scania Fleet Care, a service in which Scania personnel take care of an operator’s entire fleet, regardless of brands or age. “It’s a service that makes sure that each vehicle in the fleet is performing at peak condition,” Olsson explains, “maintaining maximum uptime, so the customer can focus on his or her core business.”