Undoubtedly, as a truck manufacturer the all-time winner has been Scania during recent decades. Time and again, Scania has taken the lead when it comes to customer perception, low fault registration during the guarantee period and positive market share progress.
The why and how were the focal points when the senior management team from DOVISTA Polska paid a memorable visit to Scania’s global headquarters in Sweden.
This is a brief account of an excursion to Södertälje, where Scania rarely opens its doors to outsiders.
DOVISTA Polska produces windows and doors for leading brands such as VELFAC and Rational, and its seven factories in Poland now count a total of 2 500 employees. For a number of years, the company has boasted steady growth figures to the benefit of customers, staff and the local community. One of the contributing factors to the success is the producer’s own Future Excellence programme, the name DOVISTA has chosen to use for its in-house Lean and Continuous Business Improvement (CBI) programme.
Despite its success, DOVISTA Polska has retained its humble and ambitious attitude. Although things are progressing well they do realize that there is still plenty to do. They are also prepared to make the necessary investments – and not least prepared to develop leadership skills and the organization to go with it.
In order to test objectives and plans and in a quest for inspiration, the company's top brass travelled to Södertälje in Sweden, where the truck manufacturer Scania has been headquartered since 1912.
The 3-day excursion from 2 to 4 October 2017 was the result of months of preparations. From early on, the CEO of DOVISTA Polska, Mr Wojciech Baszkowski, insisted that if we were granted the opportunity to take a closer look at the engine room of one of the world's leading manufacturers within Lean CBI, we should come carefully prepared.
Management spent all of the first day of the excursion, 2 October, brushing up its preparations for the actual visit the following day, 3 October. The twelve factory managers and top executives from DOVISTA Polska prepared themselves looking at specific ‘World Class’ examples, discussing the literature they had studied and analysing DOVISTA’s objectives and plans moving forward. All attendants also put the final touches to a list of questions for Scania. By the end of the day, everybody knew what they had come for, what they could expect and what they should strive to learn.
On the day of the visit, 3 October, Kees Luttik, global head of Scania Production Systems, gave us a warm welcome. In Södertälje south of Stockholm, Scania counts a total of 14 000 members of staff – and globally slightly in excess of 40 000 staff members.
3 October, morning: Visit to Scania. From the left: Kees Luttik, Jacek Lach, Tadeusz Gurzynski, Dagmara Gutowska, Lukasz Kriesel, Marek Laski,Wojciech Baszkowski, Piotr Jankie, Krzysztof Iwanski, Grzegorz Grabowski, Justyna Kowalska-Teclaw, Marcin Stawarz, Krystian Frankowski, Mariusz Filarski.
There are most likely multiple reasons why Scania is the truck industry winner.
One of these is probably the carefully designed modularization concept which the company has been using and constantly polishing for 50 years. Especially during the past two decades, the Scania way has served as a source of inspiration to industrialists all over the planet. One more reason is Scania’s lean journey which has been unique on several counts.
In 1996 they decided to embark on a lasting journey of continuous improvements.
They knew that 85 per cent of all lean journeys fail – and they wanted to be counted among the successful 15 per cent. Pointing to a single reason for the success is of course difficult if not downright impossible; however, one particular concept springs to mind, although this is not even remotely related to industry: Believe. Believe in continuous, positive involvement of every single employee through the constant changes of every single process leads to increasingly happy staff members, customers and owners. Believe that as the results have materialized on a massive scale has gradually transformed into certain knowledge that it works and is effective. This has created an active and positively infectious lean and CBI culture. Today, the believe, knowledge and culture have found a formalized home in the form of the ‘Scania Production System’ which embraces the entire organization.
With believe as the focal point, tools, systems and tables take the back seat at Scania. They become mere tools for the individual and its efforts. Every day each and every individual asks why things are done in a specific manner – how they can be delivered in a more stable, more standardized and eventually better and faster manner for the internal customer. This knits together a very powerful culture and structure which eventually lives up to the expectations of the external end customer.
Much can be written and told about Scania’s impressive improvement journey but it would only convey a meagre image of the actual experience. Scania Södertälje is quite simply World Class alive and kicking and is more dedicated to human beings, actions and results than eye catching PowerPoint slides, ear catching toasts and amazing tools. No 5S forms – although the workshop seems as clean as a hospital. No signs of being in a rush – and yet the stroke is constant and the speed obviously high. Not many visible QA guys – and yet the quality is quite obviously top-notch thanks to the internal customer concept, Statistical Process Control (SPC) and operator self-control. Stringency and friendliness go hand in hand everywhere.
3 October: Luttik Kees explains the Scania Production System at the Scania Museum in the Marcus Wallenberg Hall.
I could go on and on but have to stop at some point – and this is the Scania Academy. This is where go-karts are designed, assembled only to be disassembled in an ever-lasting process. All new employees get the Scania culture under their skin through games, simulation and hands-on training. In a sophisticated and elegant manner, everybody learns about the ‘Scania Production System’ before being let loose in the company for real. They are not taught using cold-hearted PowerPoint shows but by working with the processes, acquiring their own experiences and reflecting in a miniature environment that mirrors the work life and unique organization they are about to become part of.
We want to express our sincere gratitude for an unforgettable and educational day at Scania to Khabout Jamil, Arkan Mekhael Maikel, Maria Muammar and Kees Luttik.
The third day of the excursion was spent systematically transforming the many learnings and insights into specific objectives and plans. As a result of this, each of the factory managers signed personal contracts with the following headings: Personal Development Plan, Development of Own Core Team and Development of Own Organization. Kees Luttik looked in on us around lunch to listen to the reflections and decisions of every single attendant. Using a group process approach in the afternoon, CEO Wojciech Baszkowski, COO Grzegorz Grabowski and HR Director Krzysztof Iwanski gathered up the threads to ensure that the executive management will support, enhance and coordinate the most important objectives, plans and deadlines in various ways. Bursting with inspiration, faith and energy, DOVISTA Polska is now transforming experiences into plans and actions – to the benefit of customers, staff members and the future of the company.
3 October, evening. Evaluation. DOVISTA Polska reflects on insights and transform the insights into plans and actions.