Håkan Jyde, the General Managing of Scania Ukraine told LDaily about the next truck generation, new safety systems that help to save the driver’s life, about new service workshops and dealer centres opened during the last year, as well as about social cooperation with the Kyiv National Transport University.
LDaily: The company acts in the Ukrainian market since 1998. How much have you invested in this market during this period?
H. Jyde: Actually, we opened our own representative office in Kiev already in 1993, so last year we celebrated 25 years here in Ukraine. In 1998 Scania Ukraine was started as national distributor. In the mid-90s we started to develop the dealer network. Today we have 11 dealer points all around Ukraine. We have strong partnerships, with some of them we have been working for more than 20 years. I do not really know how much we have invested over the years, but many millions of euros not only in equipment or buildings, but also in training and development of our staff as well as dealer network extension.
LDaily: You obtained the position of the General Managing of Scania Ukraine in August 2017. What have you managed to do since then?
H. Jyde: Well, I have been working in Scania since 1997 and most of the time in various managerial positions abroad, but also at Head Office in Sweden. When Scania Ukraine was founded, I was working in Eastern Europe. I have followed Scania Ukraine ever since the beginning and I am really pleased and happy to be here. I have been working with Ukraine for almost ten years, but this is the first time I am actually living here.
In my new role as a Managing director of Scania Ukraine, my first priority was to strengthen Scania’s positions as the leading premium provider of commercial vehicles and services, improvement of financial performance and consolidate our teamwork. Many things have already been done in this direction but much more is ahead of us. Among visible achievements is the successful launch of next truck generation in Ukraine, a growing market share and significantly improved operational performance.
LDaily: What innovations do you introduce in your company?
H. Jyde: We are a company of continuous improvements. We try to improve our operations step by step, every day. My main contribution as a manager is to create an environment where people feel safe and can do their best to contribute and develop.
LDaily: What is the advantage of your vehicles over competitor’s ones?
H. Jyde: We develop and produce some of the best trucks in the world, but it is not only about hardware. Nowadays, it is very much about how we service and support them securing uptime for customers. Basically, it is much more about complex solutions today than vehicle as such. I think with our current network in Ukraine and full range of services including financing, insurance, repair, maintenance, connected vehicles and driver trainings we truly have the strongest offer in the market.
But there is one feature which has been Scania’s hallmark for many years in line, and that is fuel economy. The focus remains the same for all truck generations and this is exactly what customers do appreciate about Scania vehicles all over the world.
LDaily: What companies do you cooperate with?
H. Jyde: We have a wide range of customers and partners in many different industries. Long haulage, mining, construction, distribution, retail and agro are important segments. It is a wide range of Ukrainian companies we are working with. It can be big fleet companies or private entrepreneurs with 1-2 units. No matter how big or small the order is we apply an individual approach and find tailored solutions for everyone.
LDaily: How the crisis in 2014 has influenced the company?
H. Jyde: Well, I was not here in 2014. Of course, it has affected us as the sales dropped. We have lost one of our dealerships in Donetsk, which was actually our first captive dealer in Ukraine. However, we made the decision to stay and to continue to develop our operations and we see that our customers really appreciate that. We also offered jobs to all our employees from the Donetsk dealership in the other workshops all over Ukraine, and helped them with housing. Many of them accepted our offer and still work for us as highly appreciated colleagues.
LDaily: Was the dealer workshop in Donetsk the major?
H. Jyde: It was a big station and an important part of the business. We purchased the station in 2006 and it developed rapidly in 2006-2008, there were many customers, among others from the construction industry.
In 2014 many employees chose to move here and stayed in Kyiv or other cities and still work with us. Last year we opened a new workshop in Kramatorsk, Scania Donbas, so now several of these employees can work more closer to their homes. Many of our customers from Donetsk and Lugansk had to move to other cities and start their business from scratch looking for new partners and routes. Despite all difficulties and losses many of them have managed to overcome the crisis successfully and continue to grow. Last year we had a big deal for 30 new trucks with a company that moved from Lugansk to Kiev. It was a trade-in agreement where we purchased old trucks from the customer and replaced them with new ones.
LDaily: Did you open the service center in Odesa in March?
H. Jyde: Yes, we did. Actually, we have had a dealer point in Odesa since 1994, we tried with different partners but we decided that now it is time to invest ourselves in own workshop.
LDaily: In what other cities have you opened your service centers?
H. Jyde: Since the middle of the 90-s we have been present in all major Ukrainian cities. Now we are moving on to smaller cities and regions. Recently we opened workshops in Poltava, Vinnytsia, then in Mukachevo and last year we started operations in Kramatorsk.
LDaily: Where do you plan to open other service centers?
H. Jyde: I am not sure yet, but we have several interesting projects, and we need to be where our customers are.
LDaily: Are you going to build a production plant in Ukraine?
H. Jyde: No, there are no such plans. We have major European production factories in Sweden, France and Netherlands and they are covering the needs of European and other markets. We sell about 400 trucks in Ukraine per year, and since every truck is tailor made depending on the needs of each customer there is a great variation in specifications.
Any investments must be returned – that is the meaning of doing business. So if to invest in new production facilities one have to take a number of things into consideration a lot of things, such as the potential of the local market, availability of suppliers of components and materials, ease of doing business, property protection rights, and many other factors. If you look at the market for heavy trucks in Ukraine, at present the volume and demand is rather small. Last year, in 2018, the whole market for heavy trucks of all brands was only about 3500 units. During the peak before 2008 this figure did not surpass 10 000 units per year. In Great Britain or Germany, for example, we sell about 5-7000 Scania trucks annually and we do not have production facilities there. We have three major Scania factories in Sweden, Netherlands and France covering the needs of most European, Asian and other markets. But never is not an appropriate word for business, everything is possible under favourable circumstances.
LDaily: To what extent Ukraine seems an attractive country for foreign investments?
H. Jyde: We feel very welcome as a foreign investor. Unfortunately, the main problem is still the low reliability of the legal system. Your ownership rights are not fully protected, and that holds back important investments that otherwise would have been coming to the country.
LDaily: How many people work for the company and how do you motivate them?
H. Jyde: We have around 160 employees in Scania Ukraine Group including captive dealerships. We try to provide safe jobs, a good working environment and a competitive package. At the end of the year, employees run personal conversations with heads of their departments, so they discuss all achievements and things that may be developed further. Afterwards we make an individual development plan. If you want to gain new skills, you discuss this as well and then the company offers you a list of trainings. You can even ask for support to develop those skills that are not directly linked to your job. The company’s management supports these initiatives. Many of our employees have been working really long here, some are even with us from the start in 1993. We encourage job rotation, and we provide career opportunities outside the country, for instance, one of our employees went to Sweden and worked in a managerial position at head office for three years and then we offered him to come back and take up the position as Sales Director.
LDaily: Do you feel the lack of professional staff?
H. Jyde: Yes, it is a major problem, mainly when it comes to mechanics, engineers and drivers. Our customers are really feeling it, as it is really hard to keep their drivers in Ukraine.
LDaily: How do you solve this problem?
H. Jyde: We cooperate with the Kiev National Transport University and some other technical institutes. We supply them with trucks and truck components or spare parts for practical studies as well as technical literature and seminars. We invite some students to undertake internships at our workshops and if we see potential, they may get a job offer. It is hard to find people who are fully ready to work for us, that is why we invest a lot in trainings development of knowledge.
LDaily: What risks do you face while working in Ukraine and how do you minimize them?
H. Jyde: The main risk we touched upon already is legal risks. It is still an emerging market with its pros and cons, but we just need to be here and keep our eyes open. There are also economic and political risks. The stability of the currency as well of course, but we are working all over the world and Ukraine is not unique in that way.
LDaily: How do you deal with harmful emissions and will you introduce an electric truck?
H. Jyde: With the launch of our Next Truck Generation sustainability became the main focus area of our company. In 2018 Scania took further steps to drive the shift towards becoming a fully sustainable provider of transport solutions. Sustainability is no longer a choice, it is something we must deliver on to stay relevant. Our customers require it from us as their customers demand it from them. Scania’s solutions are based on three major areas: Fuel efficiency, Alternative fuels and Smart technologies. At the moment Scania offers the broadest range of alternative fuel engines, including gas, biogas, FAME, bioethanol, VHO, and others. Our engineers also work hard on developing electric trucks but at present with today’s resources and infrastructure, we believe more in hybrid transmissions. Last year we presented a plug-in hybrid electric truck (PHEV). These trucks may be driven in fully electric mode without any support from the combustion engine. Scania is also involved in a number of global pilot projects testing autonomous vehicles and eHighways.
LDaily: How do you care about driver safety in your products?
H. Jyde: Road safety can be influenced and improved by many different factors where the main ones are the driver, the vehicle and the infrastructure. At Scania we work to improve road safety by technical solutions, education and also various initiatives that promote road safety. But all of these areas have one thing in common – they focus on the driver. Scania believes that the driver is the most important actor for improving road safety. Technologies or systems that we provide should be there for the driver and it should support the driver so that he or she can make the right decisions behind the steering wheel. Many new systems have been introduced, such as for instance an electronic stability system, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control. Scania has enhanced both active and the passive safety in the new truck range with a number of features that will protect both those inside the cab and other road users. By introducing rollover side curtain airbags, Scania esti¬mates that the number of drivers killed in rollover accidents could potentially be reduced by 25%.
We also offer to our customers Scania driver trainings and driver coaching services. Our progressive techniques are aimed at increasing road safety, fuel efficiency and sustainability.
LDaily: What are the company’s plans for the nearest three years?
H. Jyde: I am very positive about Ukraine. I think we will see the market improving gradually and grow further. Our aim is to grow with the market and stay as the leader in our business, which means that we will continue to develop our services portfolio, dealer network and individual solutions for each customer.
Please read: Doing business in Ukraine during the period of political instability: what to focus on
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