In August 2016, commercial vehicle manufacturer Scania proudly unveiled its next generation of Scania truck series. Among their features, the new trucks offer high security and a better driver environment with a wider view, ergonomic comfort, rollover crash cushions, shorter braking distance and directional steering. On average, the trucks also have a 5 percent lower fuel consumption than the previous series.
The highly anticipated trucks had been incubating at Scania’s facilities in Södertälje, Sweden, for nearly 10 years.
20 billion SEK ($2.3 billion) were invested in developing the prestigious series, one of the largest industrial projects in Sweden and “the biggest investment in Scania’s 125-year history,” according to Scania President and CEO Henrik Henriksson. The new truck series was test-driven for more than 10 million kilometers (6 million miles), and an estimated 8 million work hours went into the project.
You have to see the big picture, focus on your targets, plan and make quick decisions.
Senior Project Manager Lars Bygdén was the man responsible for ensuring that the project was a success. “I didn’t realize the size of the project when I started,” he says, “and 2016 seemed like a long way off at the time.” It was hard to resist what Bygdén calls a “once-in-a-lifetime challenge.”
Keeping the project on track required extensive coordination and planning. The project was divided into five categories, focused on the interior, exterior, chassis, engine and electrical components. Each of these categories included up to 15 sub-projects with a project manager. “In the beginning it took a while for the project to settle into good routines and move forward,” Bygdén says.
Naturally, there were a number of technical challenges that popped up along the way, and some unnerving discoveries – such as when the test trucks experienced cracking on some rough road conditions in South America. “We thought we had a good truck, but after that test we had to recalculate, strengthen and rebuild our test trucks,” Bygdén says. “This pushed us to the limit, challenging both us and our suppliers, but we have a more robust truck today because of this.”