Appointment of Scania East Africa’s New Managing Director
Scania East Africa is pleased to introduce Lars Eklund, who has been appointed as the company’s Managing Director effective 1st October 2020, where he will also be heading the East Africa business unit that covers Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda. His experience and understanding of the region will enable him to propel the East Africa business unit to new heights. Lars takes over from Per Holmstrom who has been at the company for the last 7 years and is taking his final bow at Scania after 41 years.
Lars is no stranger to the region, having previously been the Managing Director at Scania Tanzania, a position that he has excelled in for the last four years. During his tenure in Tanzania, he turned around the company, significantly growing its revenue by over 150% through the restructuring and implementation of new processes that have enabled the company to be more efficient in its daily operations. “I am proud of how my management team transformed and developed, and because of this we were able to regain many of our customers and their business. The team effort and support from the customers led us to business breaking records in Tanzania during the last couple of years. I am delighted about this achievement, and now even more importantly how we implemented a succession plan for the next generation of Scania leaders, so that the journey can continue,” he highlights. Furthermore, through his leadership, the company successfully transitioned from the mindset of only selling the product, to establishing partnerships with customers by offering them holistic transport solutions with our array of after-sales services in satisfying their needs, maximizing their vehicles uptime and their business returns.
Additionally, his passion, hard work, dedication, and willingness to learn more, empowered him to rise through the ranks at Scania, working in different functions delivering valuable improvements and results. “When I first became a manager at Scania many years ago, I worked a lot on self-awareness, to understand myself better to become an effective and inspiring leader for my team to deliver our expected deliverables. I have always had a passion for new challenges and environments and that is a big part of what brought me to Africa,” Lars adds on.
With a sales and services background, and having been at the company for more than 20 years, giving him extensive international business exposure, Lars has a philosophy that he has carried with him over the years of putting the customer first. “By focusing on the customer and their needs first and putting myself in their shoes, it has enabled me to make strategic decisions and implement processes that have been beneficial to both our customers and the company. Long term it is always about us finding ways to make our customers happier with our product and service offering,” he explains.
Our goal is to support our customers in maximizing their vehicles’ uptime and their business returns and increasing our market share in the market. “We will continue to develop and tailor-make our product and service offering to fit our customers businesses and their customers’ demands, by optimising our products and services that will increase payload, fuel efficiency, lower operational costs and maximize uptime. We have new business concepts that we are about to introduce for financing, repair and maintenance contracts and connectivity services,” Lars points out.
Over the years, Scania has achieved a solid foundation in East Africa through an improved product and service offering and an extensive service network in the region. “We have widened our product range that is specifically tailored for this region, superior after-sales support and we have managed to enhance the brand recognition of the company as a provider of sustainable transport solutions. Yes, our customers are demanding more from us, and we continue to develop and enhance our offering to meet their demands,” acknowledges Lars.
Enhancing the Service Network in East Africa
Lars steps into office at a time of disruption and a shifting business environment because of the COVID-19 pandemic which has had a devasting effecting on the economy, however, Scania has adapted to the challenging times by continuing to support its customers by being agile. “I would like for us to enhance and extend our service network in Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia and even DRC as this is where our customers require even more support. I am confident that we will be market share leaders in the premium truck and bus segments in East Africa,” Lars emphasizes.
In a bid to accomplish its vision of driving the shift towards a sustainable transport system, Scania continues to develop products that are good for business and the environment. Lars hopes that in the next ten years, East Africa will have shifted to fleets that run on alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas (CNG) and biogas, and even gone a step further by incorporating electrification, which Scania is currently able to provide for BRT systems and city distribution trucks. “In addition to alternative fuels, I hope that we will have embraced or better still, that there will be government legislature in place that will have us moving to at least a Euro 5 (or similar) standard for diesel vehicles,” anticipates Lars. Sustainability remains as an integral part of our business and will continue being at the core of our operations in offering customers products that are friendly to the environment, promoting road safety amongst drivers and the general public and complying with the highest social, ethical and environmental standards.
Scania East Africa is confident that Lars will carry on driving the vision of the company of providing tailormade and sustainable transport solutions to our customers, through the continued enhancement of our offering, and with the construction of our new state of the art facility that will better serve our customers through increased working capacity, enhanced digital capacity and an enhanced service offering.