Last week, I visited a Scania truck assembly plant in Zwolle (The Netherlands). Although I knew it was nearby, I hadn't visited this factory before. As you maybe know, I've worked at several logistic service providers. Al of them owned Scania's.
You may or may not know that Scania is called the King of the road. My last employer in logistics, transported and stored King peppermint. He owned two trailers with a long role of King peppermint on each side along with the text King of the road. Of course these trailers were towed by Scania's.
Beforehand I knew Scania's are designed modular. They built all kind of heavy trucks out of as less as possible components. In all cabs for example, the same windshield is used. Nearly every chassis can be combined with every motor and cabine. This gives the customer a huge number of possible configurations to buy and reduces costs for the manufacturer and dealers.
During the visit, I learned about Scania's lean way of working. Each truck is made by several teams working along the assembly line. Each team is responsible for several activities. They decide themselves how perform these tasks. The management assists the employees to get their tasks done. Incremental improvements are made constantly. Do you notice the difference with the management style of many other companies?
These efforts result in a smooth operation. I saw people working concentrated but no one was in a hurry let alone in panic. We were told the plant has a high presence percentage, i.e. low absence through illness and many longtime employments. Well, that looks very healthy.
I really enjoyed the visit. It was well organised and we were given opportunity to ask any questions which were answered honestly. The plant is orderly and clean. And above all, I learned about their lean way of working!