a magazine about
engineering, services &
product information # 2 2010
These nine are
better than you
Focus on what you do best
– and let someone else do the rest
1 Go green with eco-design 1 Jaguar Land Rover focus on cars
1 C.M. Hammar lifesavers are buoyant 1 MAN succeeds on a tough path
ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE OF FUTURE BY SEMCON
2 futu r e by semcon 2.2010
Website: www.semcon.com Letters: future by semcon, semcon ab, 417 80 göteborg, sweden.
Change of Address: firstname.lastname@example.org Editor: björn strömberg. Semcon Project Manager: anders atterling.
Phone: +46 (0)70-447 28 19, e-mail: email@example.com.
Editorial production: tidningskompaniet, göteborg. Project Manager: peter mohlin. Editor: suzanne Kordon.
Designer: charlotte sundberg. Website: www.tidningskompaniet.se Reproduction: tidningskompaniet, göteborg.
Printing: trydells tryckeri, Laholm. ISSN: 1650-9072. Translation: cannon språkkonsult, Kungsbacka.
6 let someone else do the work
Product development and innovation are be-
coming increasingly frequently outsourced.
Outsourcing is a strategic decision that requires
more than just recognizing your company’s own
limitations and others’ competencies. Future by
Semcon investigates the concept.
30 Eco-dEsign – a challEngE Towards better times
for producT dEvElopErs fter a tough start to the year,
For a product to be as eco-friendly as possible, you positive winds are starting to
sweep slowly into the market
must think of the environment when the product is
again. In Semcon’s business ar-
developed. Tim McAloone has written an eco-design eas, advanced engineering skills and project-
guide for product developers. based delivery are most in demand. Semcon
has a solid base here with our expertise and
experience of leading industries. We also
have the size and strength needed to ensure
that what we have to offer is at a top inter-
national standard, today and tomorrow.
16 Two parTnErs, Specialist skills are one of the keys behind
the concept of outsourcing, and we’ll be
looking at this concept in Future by Semcon.
Jaguar Land Rover outsourced all the production and We visited Jaguar Land Rover in the UK, who
delivery of information to dealers and car owners to can now focus on making cars after Semcon
took over the production and delivery of
Semcon. A decision that proved to be a good one for
information to dealers and car owners. The
both parties. Semcon takes care of the information fact that companies are concentrating on
while Jaguar Land Rover can focus on what they do their core business and letting other experts
best - developing and manufacturing cars. take care of the rest can make for a succes-
sful mutual cooperation. It’s about working
together towards a common goal, which is
34 MEET sEMcon’s bEsT Minds
the foundation for successful outsourcing.
In this issue, you can also read about how
In Semcon Brains you’ll meet people with excit- Semcon in Brazil has become one of the
ing skills and assignments. Mats Gustavsson, Peter truck manufacturer MAN Latin America’s
leading providers of engineering services
Mohlin and Peter Nagy create excellent sound en-
and how the maritime safety company C.M.
vironments, Katalin Tisoczki writes and coordinates Hammar built a new production line for its
technical information and Nayyar Rahman designs main product, with help from Semcon.
KjELL NILSSON semcon ceo
futu r e by semcon 2.2010 3
PEOPLE IN THIS ISSUE OF FUTURE BY SEMCON
Outsourcing has created opportunities for people across the
world at the top of their game to do what they do best. Meet some
of these people in Future by Semcon, talking about outsourcing.
senior consultant acoustics,
Who are the world leaders in acoustics?
”It varies from industry to industry. The automotive industry is doing well in Ger-
many, for example, where they have large resources devoted to sound and vibra-
tion. If you’re talking about mobile telephony Finland and the United States, for
example, are a long way ahead. ”
What is the greatest advantage of
”You can proceed a lot faster than is pos- nayyar rahman,
sible in a larger organization. Partly because product designer engineer,
it is more cost-effective, and partly because semcon india
it does not require the approval of material What can India offer when it comes to outsourcing
on so many levels, which is common in larg- jobs from different parts of the world? page
er organizations. The benefits of outsourc-
ing can be summarized by the higher speed
of processes and decision-making.”
”You can summarize it as follows: high quality with
flawless delivery and low operating costs,
which provide cost-efficiency.”
4 futu r e by semcon 2.2010
mats gustavsson, acoustics specialist,
Is there any country which stands out in particular in terms of
”Belgium. They have companies that make the world’s best-
known measurement systems for sound and vibration. They also
have the famous University of Leuven, as well as many reputable
companies making calculation software for sound and vibration.”
tim mcaloone, lecturer in product development,
technical university of denmark, copenhagen
How does outsourcing product development affect eco-design?
”If product development is given to the right partner, outsourcing can lead to better and more specialized
solutions. But of course it’s important to remember to be very careful to give exact specifications for the
desired product, even in terms of environmental improvements.”
technical writer and coordinator,
What benefits are there for companies in outsourcing their
technical information production?
”In addition to the high level of language skills and great under-
standing of the product, it’s worth it to outsource, as specialist page
tools are used, and more technology. Different amounts of data
should be used in a project, so a smaller but more flexible com-
pany can manage the workload better.”
futu r e by semcon 2.2010 5
DOINg, aND LeT
DO IT BeTTeR
text johan andreasson and suzanne kordon
ILLUStratIon james montgomery Flagg,
6 futu r e by semcon 2.2010
Let someone else do the job - it can be the
recipe for a successful business. This especially
applies to product development and innovation,
which is increasingly common to assign to an
external party, known as outsourcing. But it’s
not enough to recognize your own limitations
and the skills of others to succeed. Future in-
vestigates the concept of outsourcing and what
it can mean if everyone does what they do best.
he year is 2003. lion subscribers. By 2010, the company has
The Indian established operations in 19 countries, has
businessman over 100 million subscribers and now ranks
Sunil Mit- as the world’s fifth best technology company
tal, CEO and according to Business Week, and Sunil Mittal
founder of is one of India’s richest people.
mobile carrier, how did This happEn? Well, the road to this
is brooding incredible growth was made possible by going
over how he down a typical Indian path: outsourcing - del-
should keep up egating parts of their business to other firms.
with the fast- Today, Bharti Airtel outsources many of
paced mobile its most critical processes and functions to
phone market. The number of subscribers is outside companies. Their IT management has
doubling every year and to maintain its lead- been outsourced to IBM, Nortel and Wipro,
ing position, the company needs to expand the telephone network to Ericsson and Nokia
sharply, from managing 3 million subscribers Siemens Networks and customer manage-
to about 25 million in only a couple of years. ment systems to Nortel and Wipro.
“I was sitting in a meeting with people from Because of this, Sunil Mittal can now focus
Vodafone, Orange and T-Mobile and realized on what the company does best: marketing
that these were big companies with huge re- and business development.
sources. It struck me: we need to be like them. Releasing resources enabled the company
But could we afford to be like them? We would to take on around 32 million new custom-
need to recruit 10 000 people, maybe 20 000, ers in just one year, 2008. They say that they
within two years. Did we have the resources? have the capacity to grow by 100 million cus-
And were we the right company to attract the tomers within a few years.
skills? And Bharti Airtel is not alone in choosing
“The answer was obviously no,” said Sunil outsourcing as a strategic tool to achieve their
Mittal, in an interview with Fortune magazine. vision. Outsourcing is growing as more and
Three years later, Bharti Airtel, as the com- more companies outsource more of their activ-
pany is now called, had more than 30 mil- ities to subcontractors and consultancy firms.
8 futu r e by semcon 2.2010
Sunil Bharti Mittal was a rela-
tively small player who needed
the help of specialized exper-
tise from much larger compa-
nies. It made his company
reach new heights and
helped him become
one of India’s rich-
Arie Lewin is a professor of economics accounting, marketing and internal audit are product development for some time. Stephen
and sociology at Fuqua School of Business at some examples. The internet breakthrough of Eppinger, professor at the Massachusetts In-
Duke University, USA. He leads the research the 1990s and the development of distance- stitute of Technology (MIT), USA, argues this
project International Offshoring Network spanning technology has paved the way so that in his book Product Design and Development.
(ORN), which collects data on outsourcing and even advanced features such as product de- “What I found is that it sometimes reduces
offshoring from companies all over the world. velopment and innovation can be outsourced the cost, perhaps not to such a great extent,
Data shows that offshoring - a company del- effectively. but more important is that companies use the
egating part of its business to an outside party Video conferencing and sophisticated solu- global product development network, espe-
in another country - is common in virtually tions to address common presentations and cially in order to gain access to new markets
every sector. working papers mean that important meetings in places in the world where they want to be
“ORN data points to a sharp increase in off- can be conducted without time-consuming active and sell their products, but also to be
shoring in the innovation field,” he says. and expensive air travel. The IT sector was the able to gain access to unique expertise avail-
first case in point. Work on setting require- able in various places in the world,” writes
iT sTarTEd in ThE 1960s and 1970s when sim- ments, project management and specifications Stephen Eppinger.
pler support functions such as cleaning and was kept in-house while programming and
reception were farmed out to stand-alone systems design were outsourced to compa- Many coMpaniEs rEcognizE that they can-
companies. nies in other countries. India still dominates, not be best at everything. When lead times
Nowadays it’s also common to contract out but China and countries in Eastern Europe are shorten and the capacity for innovation has
strategically important functions to external taking market share in the offshoring of IT to increase, it is not infrequent that strate-
partners. Purchasing, logistics, information, services. gically important innovation and product
every kind of administration, financial and hu- The outsourcing of product development development are also outsourced to a separate
man resources departments, customer service, has been one of the major global trends in company.
futu r e by semcon 2.2010 9
5 ADvANTAGES AND OPPORTUNITIES wITh OUTSOURCING:
1 outsourc- 2 it enables 3 specialist 4 can give 5 Lessens risk
ing can companies knowledge more flex- of getting
lead to lower to concentrate can be used to ibility - you caught up in
costs and save on their core improve the only need to your own
time. competencies. quality of pay for what is practices and
service and needed at the missing oppor-
products. moment. tunities.
The pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly & Co the automotive and telecom industries, who ing. The study was presented last spring, and
let suppliers in China take care of part of the choose to let experts take responsibility for shows that the number of companies plan-
development of new products, writes Busi- developing and translating everything from ning to increase in scope or to outsource more
ness Week. And Cisco, who in the early 1990s the development of service and diagnostics activities to external parties is increasing.
realized that they could not rely on internal re- information to installation and configuration The approach to outsourcing is changing.
sources to meet their growth plans, is building instructions, as well as the development of Previously there was a feeling that outsourc-
long-term relationships with several producers training material for service organizations. ing was purely about cost-cutting, with
and opening up their systems and processes. It is within areas that a company does not companies going from country to country
Today, Cisco’s partners are responsible for define as their core business and has not cho- depending on the cost of labour. Today, out-
many innovations within components, soft- sen to increase their own skills that external sourcing is becoming increasingly strategic
ware and hardware. partners are chosen. One example is product and even includes complex and critical ele-
The car manufacturer Toyota claims that information, where companies in the automo- ments of a company.
price has become less important when part- tive, telecom and pharmaceutical sectors have “Outsourcing programmes are not only
ners and suppliers are chosen. Instead, the outsourced all or part of their activities to expanding but becoming more strategic.
Japanese car manufacturer looks at the sup- Semcon. This increase in the strategic importance of
plier’s ability to innovate. However, in its extreme form, a company’s outsourcing is reflected in both a change in
Many people associate outsourcing with entire product development could of course motivation for companies using outsourcing
companies contracting out a smaller single be outsourced, the company’s core business and the level of senior management commit-
project - with a start and an end. However, it concentrating instead on market knowledge, ment,” write IAOP in their report.
usually means that companies outsource parts distribution and sales. Naturally, short-term cost savings are al-
or functions of the product chain, such as all ways an important factor, but money is not
testing operations, or the production of prod- ThE facT ThaT ouTsourcing is an increasingly the most important factor when making a
uct information, or perhaps methodological important tool for businesses is clear in the decision, even in times of recession.
developments. regular survey conducted by IAOP, an interna- “Even if companies increase their out-
Within product information, it is becoming tional interest group consisting of hundreds sourcing programs across the board - as dis-
more common to outsource, especially among of thousands of experts working in outsourc- cussed earlier - the trend is to outsource the
10 futu r e by semcon 2.2010
5 DISADvANTAGES AND RISkS Of OUTSOURCING:
1 can lead 2 depend- 3 the com- 4 can cause 5 shortcom-
to a loss of ence on pany may loss of ings of the
skills that take others can lose the abil- goodwill and client organi-
time to get lead to less ity to deliver financial loss zation can lead
back. flexibility. when skills are if the quality is to delivery
transferred. substandard. problems.
more highly skilled, knowledge-based activi- ardized products and peripherals, and this The white goods manufacturer Electrolux has
ties,” reports IAOP. happens through increased cooperation with its manufacturing and product development
Today’s leaner organizations often use component suppliers. across the world in different forms - direct la-
outsourcing as a tool for cutting back. The Another impetus may be to get close to a par- bour, outsourcing contracts, joint ventures - and
cost aspects are important but not crucial. ticular market, finding suppliers who have the is, of course, also a buyer of consultancy services.
One important reason for the outsourcing of ability to customize products for that market.
product development is increased innovation. Outsourcing deals, which are badly thought- björn dEllås is rEsponsiblE for the develop-
Companies need access to the knowledge that out, are more likely to fail. Bad planning and ment of Electrolux dishwashers. Of course,
people such as component suppliers, research short-term planning are often the causes. But there are times when he contracts out product
institutions and specialist consultants have. if the company is careful and works in a struc- development, primarily when special skills
But if the aim is to reduce costs, companies tured and methodical way, it can overcome are required or when there are insufficient re-
gain most from outsourcing with more stand- these risks. sources.
Often, it is about more unusual projects,
“In the case of offshoring,
where new methods or technologies have to
be used. Recently, a new development project
was completed, where an external company in
other challenges arise, such
India had broad responsibility for the develop-
ment of a new dishwasher mechanism.
“The project was very successful. The cus-
as language and cultural tomer had its own development team in their
own environment and was responsible for
developing the models,” says Björn. The choice
differences.” of the company in India was due to a combina-
tion of price, expertise and that the firm was
also established in Europe.
Björn Dellås, Development Manager, Electrolux “In the case of ‘offshoring’ - when the ex-
futu r e by semcon 2.2010 11
“My research shows that it is
very much about companies
Mattias Johansson, PhD student at Linköping University, Sweden
porter is in another country - other challenges “It is built on trust and respect for each quality is not the most important thing.
arise, such as language and cultural differ- other. Both parties must of course gain from Rundquist’s research shows ‘Good enough’ is
ences, in addition to the long distance. But we the cooperation,” he says. enough, as long as the contractor has a cultur-
maintain our own development management. Mutual respect is a factor in any successes. al, geographical or social proximity that allows
We never give that up. The same applies to “In Scania’s case there have been frequent for a smooth and predictable cooperation.
activities where we have a technological ad- visits. Not just at management level but also at “Ten years ago the talk was almost exclu-
vantage,” he says. He points out the customer operational level - it’s important,” says Mattias. sively about price. Now there is talk of trust
naturally has a great responsibility. and intimacy,” says Jonas.
“It is always important to work on becom- jonas rundquisT is a researcher at Halm- Another risk with outsourcing produc-
ing a better client. Technicians are tradition- stad University in Sweden, and has studied tion or product development to an external
ally good at specifying a product, but we tend outsourcing and innovation. His focus is on party is that the ability to deliver may suffer.
not to be so good at describing a service. What Swedish small and medium-sized businesses. Of course, this is most noticeable in aspects
happens if there are changes? All this is im- Studies show that in the case of the slightly previously regarded as ”core business” The
portant if the cooperation is to succeed. How- smaller companies, things don’t really go ac- prevailing view that the outsourcing of pro-
ever, a competent consulting company will of cording to the rulebook. duction is mainly about simple production is
course help us with this, and should flag it if Instead of first identifying what should be put untrue.
there is an unclear mandate,” says Björn. in the outsourcing contract and then selecting Data from the international research
Mattias Johansson is a doctoral student the best suitable partners, many smaller compa- project ORN shows that outsourcing and
at Linköping University in Sweden, and has nies do quite the
studied the truck manufacturer Scania’s co- opposite. First,
operation with the U.S. company Cummins, the company will
a manufacturer of fuel injection systems for find a partner it OutsOurcing is grOwing
Scania trucks. feels comfortable in size and scOpe
The cooperation has been long and success- with and then
iaop’s survey shows that companies believe that outsourcing will increase, both in the
ful. An important factor is good communica- select an activ- size of outsourcing contracts and their scope. the study also shows that despite the eco-
tion and the ability to care about their partner. ity that suits its nomic downturn has cost aspect has not become more important in terms of reasons for
“It’s not enough that you can communicate partner. outsourcing. instead, the survey shows a clear trend for outsourcing to include increas-
and speak the same language. It is about dif- “My research ingly complex operations and that the decision to outsource is taken on ever higher
ferent cultures - the culture of the country and shows that it is levels within companies.
that of the company,” he says. It may not sound very much about
the international association of outsourcing professionals, iaop, is an international as-
that difficult, but many examples demonstrate the companies sociation for outsourcing professionals, with over 100 000 members, from outsourcers
that it is precisely the lack of understanding of fitting togeth- to customers and advisory consultants. the association conducts regular surveys among
cultural differences that can trip up any such er,” says Jonas. its members to identify trends in the industry.
12 futu r e by semcon 2.2010
Title: Head of aftermarket information
office: semcon trollhättan
diagrams, diagnostics and repair meth-
ods. In short, any information needed in
order to be able to repair cars.”
Much of Ingvar’s work depends on the
confidence of the customer, something
that Semcon has managed to instill in
“As a customer, it is important to be
aware that outsourcing can sometimes
be tricky to start with. You have to be
sensitive to unique requirements when
ingvar gillgren became
making products together. I usually say
that it takes courage and maturity to
take part in an outsourcing deal. As a
part of the company he hired
customer, you must have the courage to
delegate responsibility and you must be
brave enough to hand over control.
Flexibility and short decision-making
processes are advantages a smaller com-
Ingvar Gillgren switched sides. One day, he changed from pany has over larger companies.
being a customer to being a supplier. Now he works for
“Saab is, for example, a relatively large
organization, and there I was in a position
Semcon in aftermarket information. where I worked mostly on the cost side of
the business. Now I work on the big pic-
ture and have full responsibility for both
text marcus olsson photo nicke johansson
the costs and the revenues of projects. It’s
about everything from hiring consultants
even years ago Ingvar Gillgren left The work was the same as at Saab, also a process we learned a lot from. to translation costs.
his job at Saab Automobiles after but a new organization called for new The day-to-day work is about taking “You can proceed a lot faster than
sales department. Instead, he joined approaches. care of the entire customer informa- what is possible in a larger organization.
Semcon, who he himself had previously “Of course, it took a while to settle tion chain. Often, Semcon takes over the Partly because it is more cost effective,
hired, when they took over the business. down, but I finally stabilized. In the entire product information area. This was and partly because it does not require the
“When I look back on it, it still feels absence of a formal interface to relate the case in outsourcing deals with both approval on so many levels, which is com-
exciting. Between one Friday and the to, we had to create a brand new one on Volvo Cars and Jaguar Land Rover. mon in larger organizations. The benefits
following Monday, I changed sides. I went its own. It was a challenge, not least be- “We produce products used primarily of outsourcing can be summarized by the
from being the customer to becoming cause so much was very new and there in dealer workshops. These may include higher speed of processes and decision-
the supplier.“ were many things to take in. But it was manuals, owner’s information, wiring making. 1
futu r e by semcon 2.2010 13
Long-term and well-defined
objectives create a healthy
environment for successful
Title: vice president, semcon informatic
office: semcon, göteborg
thing: long initial discussions. This is
where you work out the shared vision.
And it is here that customers and part-
ners try to find a way to combine their
two corporate cultures. These ‘soft’ issues
are difficult to codify in a written contract.
“This part is important, and difficult
to put into print. It is more to do with the
parties sitting down and talking to one
another, so that everyone is on the same
platform when working together. You
must be able to trust each other,” says
These formal (or informal) talks will
hopefully lead to a functional client
organization, clear lists of requirements
and sustainable methods of cooperation.
However the customer must first think
begins with a simple question
through and clearly answer what may
well be the key question: is the chosen
field part of our core business or not?
This is very much the question that
What is our core business? This is the first question relating to
determines whether it is realistic and
effective to outsource. If the answer is
successful outsourcing.“After that it is important to develop yes - if what you’re looking to outsource is
a core competence within your company
a shared vision about what you want to achieve,” says Joakim - then according to Joakim Zetterlund it
is probably a bad idea that another com-
Zetterlund, Vice President of Semcon Informatic. pany takes over. If the answer is no, there
is every possibility of improvment.
text simon bynert photo nicke johansson “This is really where it starts. The
customer has to have thought through
here are pitfalls. Risks that parties in Outsourcing should therefore never be Because if you don’t share the same this question. Is this a core competency or
an outsourcing business must take an emergency solution. vision from the start, there will be more not? If you haven’t done your homework,
into account. Short-sightedness Another important detail is common discussion later.” then everything becomes difficult,” he
caused by stress is one example. goals. It may sound like a truism, but half- “It’s not enough to say ‘we want to re- says.
“The decision to outsource is not way into a collaboration, it is absolutely duce costs and improve quality’. How will “The customer should always choose a
operational, but strategic. Therefore, you critical that everyone agrees on where you reduce costs? And in what way does partner who has extensive experience in
shouldn’t say ‘we’re doing this for six we are actually going. quality need to be improved? What are outsourcing, and has a proven methodol-
months and then we’ll change it again.’ “Everyone must have long-term, the short- and long-term priorities?” ogy for implementation as well as long-
That’s not strategic,” says Joakim. clearly-defined objectives to achieve. A lot depends on a seemingly simple term development.” 1
14 futu r e by semcon 2.2010
Offshoring - helping
one of the most prevalent
trends in offshoring is the hir-
ing of highly-skilled engineers
working in offices in india and
china, for example. ibm is the
multinational company with
the most employees in india.
the company opened a branch
there in 1998 and today, twelve
years later, ibm has more than
80 000 employees in india. in
march 2010, ibm announced
that they will open a new
branch in brazil.
offshoring are common in all sectors and that model, where they have not included any new “There can be issues with roles. This is
development are outsourced to independent costs incurred in integrating suppliers into something that the company must take into
companies. organizations,” says Nicolette Lakemond, a account. They suddenly become a coordina-
Jonas Rundquist argues that if the assign- doctor of outsourcing and product develop- tor, a role that they might not be accustomed
ment is not primarily to benefit the contrac- ment at Linköping University in Sweden. to,” she says.
tor, companies need to work hard on devel- “There still have to be people within the The Indian telecom giant Bharti Airtel is an
oping methods that enable the integration of organization who ’solve problems’ that always example of a company who has embraced out-
knowledge, a particular market, customers, arise,” says Nicolette. sourcing and built a large network of partners
or approach, to improve their own innovation Outsourcing also places new demands on who are engaged in everything from IT to the
process. the organization when a function is out- operation of the mobile network.
As outsourcing is increasingly becoming a sourced to another company. What role
tool for the management of strategic plan- should the employees then have? Should they whEn cEo sunil MiTTal took the decision to
ning, commissioning skills are becoming a be administrators, and keep in contact with outsource their networks, many raised their
growing priority in the industry. the outsourcing company? eyebrows. But for the CEO, it was no big deal.
He had never really felt that he
sTaTisTics froM iaop show a had control over the telephone
sharp increase in businesses network.
planning, through various OutsOurcing is grOwing “If something happened or
measures, to improve their in size and scOpe went wrong with the net-
competence in the specific con- work, there was no-one from
text of outsourcing. changes in companies’ future plans with regard to outsourcing, 2009-2010. Bharti who could do any-
However, work does not just percentage of companies planning to increase the scope and size of their outsourcing thing about it. Someone from
disappear because a certain Ericsson would come to fix
function is outsourced. Com- it. I didn’t build it, couldn’t
january 2009 36 pEr cEnT
panies need to build a different take care of maintenance and
kind of organization, albeit on a sEpTEMbEr 2009 47 pEr cEnT I couldn’t do any upgrades. So
smaller scale. I didn’t feel as if it belonged
january 2010 56 pEr cEnT
“It is not unusual for many to me. Better to hand it over
companies to base their deci- Source: International Association of Outsourcing Professionals, IAOP to someone else,” said Sunil
sions on an incomplete cost Mittal to Fortune. 1
futu r e by semcon 2.2010 15
16 futu r e by semcon 2.2010
Outsourcing the production and delivery of its
information for dealers and car owners to Semcon
proved beneficial to Jaguar Land Rover. Now, the British
automotive manufacturer can concentrate on its core
business – to develop and produce new vehicles, whilst
its specialist partner takes care of the information.
text gittan cedervall photo sam lee, jaguar land rover
futu r e by semcon 2.2010 17
“Our main challenge during this
initial phase was to establish
Internet connections of the right
specifications and performance.”
Torsten Sundin, manager Semcon Informatic Production Ltd.
uTsourcing can resources were spent on managing and delive- Communications & Diagnostics Manager at
be tricky and ring the information. The work was in need of JLR.
finding the right some serious rationalisation. Chris Roberts was part of the JLR mana-
partner is es- The automotive company also realised that, gement team that went on the lookout for a
sential for a suc- for some time, customer focus had received suitable outsourcing partner, and it was his
cessful working too little attention. The company’s technical responsibility to get the partnership up and
relationship. and owner information needed to be updated running. He is now in daily contact with the
However, Jaguar and modernised in order to become more user team at Semcon and spends one and a half
Land Rover (JLR) friendly. days a week at the information specialist’s
seems to have JLR concluded
found their perfect match when the com- that this needed
pany turned to Semcon. Following a tende- to be continuously
ring process in 2007, Semcon was chosen as monitored by
JLR’s partner for the production and delivery specialists in the
of technical dealer and owner information. field. And as an
During the past three years, this outsourcing automotive manu-
relationship has strengthened into a success- facturer, JLR isn’t,
ful partnership, praised by everyone involved. and doesn’t want
Before JLR decided to outsource the produc- to be, an informa-
tion and delivery of information for dealers tion specialist.
and owners, the company was in a situation “Therefore,
where their Service Development and Com- from the outset
munications Department had grown into an of the tendering
organisation made up of some 70 different process, we were
suppliers and service providers at several dif- looking for so-
ferent locations. mebody to work
To manage all these suppliers was a major with, rather than
task and the communication chain was often somebody who
Every car comes supplied with a comprehensive manual containing everything the
broken. Simply keeping all contracts up to date could work for driver needs to know about their car. The manual should always be in the car and
had become a full-time management task. The us,” states Chris therefore jLR has also posted it on the internet so that the owner can access it even
company felt that too much time, effort and Roberts, Technical when not in the car.
18 futu r e by semcon 2.2010
premises in Kineton, Warwickshire, UK, a few
miles down the road from JLR’s main develop-
ment centre at Gaydon.
“Semcon stood out among the companies
we had discussions with during the tendering
process. They are very proactive in their ap-
proach. They tell us what they are providing in
units of work, for instance a workshop manual,
rather than telling us how many people they
assign for a job. That way we know exactly
what we are paying for and what we are get-
ting,” he continues.
When Semcon was awarded the outsour-
cing contract with JLR, their first step was to
set up an office in close proximity to their new
partner. During a hectic period in the spring of
2007, Semcon took over the production of in-
formation while still busy installing themselves
in their new premises. In the transition phase
the company took over some JLR personnel, Chris Roberts
sub-contractors and supplier contracts in order Age: 45
to quickly form an efficient organisation. Title: manager, technical
communications & diagnostics
“Our main challenge during this initial Office: Jaguar Land rover technical
phase was to establish Internet connections of academy in Leamington spa, uK
the right specifications and performance,” says
Torsten Sundin, Manager of Semcon Informa-
tic Production Ltd, the new arm of Semcom problem – not as many JLR employees as the owner information as the natural progression
Informatic set up to serve JLR. management had hoped made the move over of a process that the automotive industry em-
With a background as manager of the to Semcon. barked on decades ago.
Swedish car manufacturer Saab Automobiles “Some of our staff hesitated to transfer to “During the 1980s car manufacturers
technical communication and owner informa- the new and unknown company, which is un- started to focus more on efficient production
tion, Torsten Sundin was headhunted for the derstandable. This led to a short-term shortage and they began to outsource development of
job as manager of the new unit. He still lives of people who were capable of handling the certain parts to system providers such as for
in Sweden and commutes weekly to work in work. But I don’t think anyone who then or instance Bosch. Now, this development has
the UK. since has made the move has any regrets, as reached the after-market side of the automo-
“The partnership worked smoothly from their chances to further their careers in techni- tive industry as well,” he says.
the outset. We’ve had no disagreements and cal information are better within Semcon than With five current Land Rover models and
cultural differences have had no impact at all,” if they had stayed with JLR,” he explains. four current Jaguar models, the work Semcon
he says. is undertaking on behalf of JLR is substantial.
However, his close JLR working partner TorsTEn sundin viEws the outsourcing of Apart from owner handbooks including ma-
Chris Roberts remembers another initial after-market services such as technical and nuals and information regarding accessories,
futu r e by semcon 2.2010 19
age: 54 Kevin Phelps
Title: manager, semcon age: 50
informatic production Ltd Title: director of service operations
office: Kineton, Warwick, uK office: Jaguar Land rover in gaydon, uK
“For the partnership to work, ges can lead to alterations in all manuals and
handbooks, which are produced in some 20
everyone at JLR needed to “But as a specialist company we are able to
respond and adjust quicker than a large cor-
know who Semcon were.”
poration to such variations in workload,” says
boTh chris robErTs and Torsten Sundin agree
Chris Roberts, Technical Communications & Diagnostics that trust is the key to a successful outsour-
cing partnership. But as Chris Roberts stres-
Semcon produces technical information for Monthly reports from Semcon provide JLR ses, trust needs to be established throughout
dealers and technicians including operational with useful quality metrics, which can identify the organisation, not just at the top manage-
descriptions, repair methods, schematics, di- potential problems or highlight a need to im- rial level.
agnostic information and fault finding proces- prove or update information. “For the partnership to work, everyone
ses, as well as technical training information. “Whereas JLR is responsible for the techno- within JLR needed to know who Semcon were
Semcon also handles queries regarding re- logy, it is our task to make it easy to under- and to learn to trust them. For instance, our
pairs. Here, several targets have been set. For stand,” says Torsten Sundin. engineering staff mustn’t be suspicious and
instance, queries should be answered within Semcon’s workload varies considerably reluctant to answer questions posed by staff
24 hours, and the number of queries relating and can become particularly intense during from Semcon,” he says.
to any one specific repair method should not the latter stages of the development of a new However, with trust firmly in place, the
exceed a certain amount each month. vehicle model, when late engineering chan- relationship is working smoothly.
20 futu r e by semcon 2.2010
If the manual disappears for some reason, you just order a new one. An owner of a new car may not necessarily look at the manual
jLR has, for example, manuals for virtually every jaguar model over straight away. Therefore, jLR has also created a quick guide for the
the last 20 years. impatient.
“The main reason it has worked so well is Phelps mentions the development of new The current web delivery service, the GTR
that JLR has used the partnership in the right symptoms driven diagnostics equipment, a (Global Technical Reference) is also being re-
way. They realised that they needed to trust us. project managed by Semcon and involving placed by TOPIX, a service based around the
And we have delivered and proved to them that several other partners. Chris Roberts points vehicle identification number (VIN), which
they can trust us. The fact that we have never to other examples of innovative work using delivers more detailed and vehicle specific
had to refer to what was set out in the contract animations to describe particularly difficult information.
we signed three years ago is proof that our part- processes in workshop manuals. “The TOPIX software is delivered by an-
nership is working,” says Torsten Sundin. “We now have a few working examples that other company, but Semcon is responsible for
Chris Roberts agrees, calling it “a relation- we will start to use in manuals during the the data migration relating to some 60,000
ship to be admired” And his manager, Kevin
. next month or so. Apart from being easier to documents, ensuring that the right informa-
Phelps, Director of Service Operations, JLR, is understand it brings cost benefits as the infor- tion ends up in the right place. A huge and
equally enthusiastic, preferring to refer to the mation doesn’t have to be translated,” he says. very important task that we trust and expect
JLR/Semcon relationship as a strategic part- Semcon to handle,” Chris Roberts explains.
nership rather than outsourcing. sEMcon is also helping JLR to gradually move Johan Ekener, President Semcon Informa-
“Semcon has become part of the family, and away from posted delivery of manuals to a web tic, based in Gothenburg, Sweden, views the
there is a very high level of trust between us. based solution. Although a web delivery servi- outsourcing partnership with JLR as a model
I feel the relationship has now reached seam- ce is acceptable for the majority of the market, for work within other sectors apart from the
lessness. The partnership with Semcon has there are still areas where Internet connection automotive industry.
filled gaps in our expertise. But it has also speeds make it non-viable. “Since 2007 we have gained valuable ex-
brought innovation to the informatics sec- To overcome this, a drip feeding solution periences which we can apply to outsourcing
tion,” he says. of smaller packages of information has been contracts within any sector of our business,”
As an example of such innovation, Kevin adopted. he says. 1
futu r e by semcon 2.2010 21
HOW SEMCON SOLVED THE CUSTOMER’S PROBLEM
the assignment: Elos Fixturlaser AB develops, manufactures and
markets laser-based measuring instruments for various industries and
sectors. Semcon was commissioned to develop the concept, design,
manage and carry out engineering design for a new ergonomic arm-
carried computing device designed for service and maintenance in areas
such as the wind power industry. The unit is part of a shaft alignment
system, which uses laser-targeting axles to reduce friction and energy
loss in the connections.
the solution: UPAD XA is based on touchscreen technology and
designed for use in harsh environments. The unit is both waterproof and
shockproof. The software can handle both geometric measurements and
advanced shaft alignment. Using colour-coded, clear symbols, the user is
taken through the measurement and alignment process. Semcon led the
product development from the initial concept work to the delivery of
production data to the manufacturer.
the result: Since its launch last autumn, the UPAD XA has been
demonstrated and praised at several trade shows around the world. The
media, competitors and customers have been interested in and impressed
with the final product.
text marcus olsson photo johan ekstam
22 futu r e by semcon 2.2010
disPlay 3d animations
the 3.5-inch screen is a tft screen in a small package. the entire alignment process is shown on the
the user interface contains all the necessary data in screen with 3d animation in flash, which is easy
clear menus, and the information is only ever a few taps to understand and helps the user get started
away on the touchscreen. the angled display, with Led quickly. symbols and arrows show the results and
backlighting, provides an instant overview. alignment requirements. it’s easy to interpret the
thanks to bluetooth technology, no cables are
needed between the transmitters, detectors
and the display. this allows the user to move
about, choosing to take measurements in
one place and then adjust the alignment in
the files from the device can be transferred
quickly and easily to a hard drive. With the help
of a usb port, the device can be connected di-
rectly to a computer or another external storage
Portability a moulded, rubber-like plastic material makes
the user can attach the device to his/her arm, the device both waterproof and shockproof,
leaving both hands free to work. the light- and it is especially suitable for use in changing
weight and ergonomically-designed unit offers environments. the unit is also designed for use in
great flexibility and simplifies the measurement harsh weather conditions.
and alignment process.
futu r e by semcon 2.2010 23
When their machine supplier went bankrupt, the
maritime safety company C.M. Hammar was suddenly
left with a half-finished production line for its flagship
product, a hydrostatic release for life rafts. They con-
tacted Semcon, and a year later the new production
line is operational, more reliable and easily serviced
than they could have hoped for from the start.
text Florence oPPenheim photo nicke johansson, c.m. hammar
24 futu r e by semcon 2.2010
“C.M. Hammar sees any
deviation as a potential
security risk and they
have very strict
A seemingly small detail that can
requirements for their
save your life. With Semcon’s help
C.M. Hammar now has a more reli-
able production line.
Bertil Nelson, Automation Engineer, Semcon Göteborg
M. haMMar ab develops begins to sink. The pressure activates a sharp 70 million per year. But within the industry
and manufactures mari- knife. Without such a release the raft would the company is a major player, with approxi-
time lifesaving prod- remain in position unless there was time to mately 80 per cent of the worldwide market
ucts. The company was release it manually. for their main product, H20.
founded in 1856 and If the ship is sinking, the release activates a “A few years ago we noticed that we had
was originally a tin plate sharp knife to cut the rope, separating the raft reached our limit in terms of capacity and
works. It produced from the vessel. As the ship continues to sink, felt the need to increase the reliability of our
lanterns and eventu- the liferaft’s painter extends and the lifeboat supply by building two lines for our main
ally compasses, among begins to inflate. products,” explains production manager Stig
other things. Part of the design is a purposely-weak link Malkolmsson.
Today, C.M. Hammar’s two main products that detaches the rope from the ship when the
are releases for liferafts and triggers for life liferaft comes to the surface so that survivors wiTh only onE producTion line per product
jackets. Their main product is the Hammar can board the raft. Everything happens auto- and a maximum delivery time to the cus-
H20, a hydrostatic release that is integrated into matically. tomer of three days, the company was very
the lifeboat mooring up on the ship’s deck. More than 95 per cent of the company’s vulnerable to disruption. The old machines
The release is a mechanism to automatically production is exported, to over 70 countries were also quite improvised and maintenance
release a life raft from the deck or its cradle at worldwide. It is a small company, with 35 em- staff were forced to disassemble many parts
a predetermined water pressure, i.e. if the boat ployees and annual sales of approximately SEK in order to service them.
26 futu r e by semcon 2.2010
johnny Rydberg Stig Malkolmsson
age: 41 age: 64 Bertil Nelson
Title: production engineer Title: production manager age: 31
office: c.m. Hammar ab, västra office: c.m. Hammar ab, västra Title: automation engineer
frölunda frölunda office: semcon, göteborg
Stig Malkolmsson invited bids for two new machine and production line according to our “We had a plan and we knew we would need
special purpose machines and ordered one needs. In addition, we have better documen- to rebuild just about everything,” says Johnny.
to start with. Some of his requirements were tation about how the machine is built, which “We have collaborated with each other, taking
improvements in service, maintenance and makes future maintenance easier,” says Stig. one aspect at a time and made changes and
reliability. Fairly soon they experienced prob- Bertil Nelson is an automation engineer improvements over time. And we have built
lems, because the company that supplied the with extensive experience in packaging ma- in a lot of smart features that probably would
machine did not have sufficient programming chine maintenance and programming control not have existed with a ready-made machine.”
skills. They quickly had to get the help of an systems. He has also worked with buying-in
engineer with experience in automation and machinery. johnny rydbErg has worked on repairing ma-
who had worked with the building and main- Together with production technician Johnny chines, custom manufacturing machine parts
tenance of machinery. It was then that Semcon Rydberg he started from the beginning to and service for many years. He designs and
and Bertil Nelson came into the picture. change and rebuild the half-finished machine draws himself and knows what is needed to
“We began with our flagship product - the and production line. The collaboration has make servicing and maintenance easier.
Hammar H20. When the company that had worked well, largely thanks to the fact that “We have avoided all the potential secu-
supplied the machine went bankrupt before the their special skills overlap and complement rity risks that existed in the old machine,
machine was ready, we turned to Bertil Nel- each other. or moved them backwards in the process.
son. He has now been here full-time for a year Both agree that a ready-made machine We have better control over every element
and has helped us rebuild and customize the would never have worked as well. now and discover any errors much earlier in
futu r e by semcon 2.2010 27
Although C.M. Hammar is
a relatively small company The new H20 line is bigger
it has 80 per cent of the than the old one but has a
world market with its smarter module design,
main product, the H20. making it easier to maintain.
the chain. We have done most of the work product must be discarded because it is an to be in charge of the new machine, but who
ourselves, but we also employed other skills absolute must that all the details supplied does not have the same skills as Bertil Nelson.
where necessary,” he explains. to the customer are correct. Now the error is Therefore, he will be available as a consultant
The new H20 line is certainly better than spotted much earlier in the process instead,” for some time if any more questions should
the old one but is made up of smarter modules, says Bertil. arise.
making service and maintenance easier. The “C.M. Hammar sees any deviation as a po-
goal has always been to make production safer, producTion has bEEn up and running for tential security risk and they have very strict
both in terms of products and operations. about six months, and
“We have tried to ensure that you can- together they have
not continue the assembly in the process if continued to pursue im- C.M. Hammar - going way back in time
something is incorrectly mounted,” says Bertil provements. They have
the blacksmith carl mauritz Hammar came to göteborg on may 9, 1856. the
Nelson. not had a deadline - the same day, he received written permission from the King to start Hammar, a sheet
He shows an example, a plastic back cover. most important thing metal shop and company. the company specialized in ship lanterns and received
To ensure that the casting of the plastic has has been the end result. an award at the World exhibition in Liverpool in 1886.
worked, a small camera is installed that checks In the autumn of 2010 at the turn of the century Hammar started to make compasses, and by 1978
had sold over 7000. in the ‘30s, they began to focus on better solutions for mari-
the contour of all backs before mounting. Bertil Nelson will move
time safety. Hammar has manufactured both sonar and radar. Hammar launched
“A defective back could be mounted without on to a new assignment. inflatable life rafts in 1956, which have saved hundreds of lives at sea over the
anyone noticing until afterwards, when the C.M. Hammar has hired years. today, Hammar’s leading product is the hydrostatic release.
whole product is finished. Then the whole a new member of staff
28 futu r e by semcon 2.2010
h20 - a DeSIGn that SaVeS LIVeS
1 ropE and sliphooK
hammar’s h20 is secured to the
deck and connected to the life-
raft’s lashing with a sliphook. The
liferaft’s painter is shackled to the
“red weak link”.
2 waTEr prEssurE and KnifE
if the ship sinks, the water pres-
sure, within four meters, activates
the sharp knife that cuts the rope,
and the liferaft floats free.
3 painTEr sTrETchEs
when the painter is stretched the
lifeboat starts inflating.
4 linK brEaKs
The weak red link breaks, the ship
continues to sink, and survivors
can board the inflated liferaft.
“They didn’t have time to raise the ibly important in the production process.
“Between 300 and 400 ships sink every
year. This means that our products are used
alarm but all of our life rafts were somewhere in the world every day,” says Hen-
rik Pålsson, CEO of C.M. Hammar AB. “Our
released and 30 hours after sinking, product is very reliable, and we have not had
any real problems with the product in ‘emer-
all 64 passengers were rescued.”
gency situations’ over the years.”
hE MEnTions ThE S/S Concordia, a school ship
Henrik Pålsson, CEO, C.M. Hammar AB built in 1992, which encountered a microburst
(similar to a tornado) off the coast of Brazil
requirements for their products. The assign- whenever an accident should occur and they and sank unusually quickly in February 2010.
ment has taken time but on the other hand, are needed to save lives. The temperature can “They didn’t have time to raise the alarm
we have ensured that people in-house have be anything from +40°C to -40°C, coping with but all of our life rafts were released and 30
knowledge of the machines,” says Bertil. sun, salt and wind on deck for several years. hours after sinking, all 64 passengers were
C.M. Hammar’s products are used for life- If the release unit doesn’t work in an emer- rescued. It feels good to be able to contribute
saving at sea. The strains on such liferafts gency, there is a great risk that people will to such a positive outcome,” says Henrik Påls-
are huge and they have to work perfectly die. Therefore, quality and safety are incred- son with pride. 1
futu r e by semcon 2.2010 29
Q&A Tim mCAloone ECO-DESIGNER
Low-energy lights, sunlight-powered
mobile phone chargers and car engines
that stop at a red light. In recent
years, eco-design has made a huge
breakthrough in product development.
“The trick is to let the environment take
centre-stage from the very beginning,”
says Tim McAloone, who has written an
eco-design guide for product developers.
text karl-johan nylén co-design is an approach 1990s, he left the UK for Denmark. He works
photo ulrik jantzen where the entire lifecycle of closely with Danish industry and has helped
a product is examined. At many Danish companies to speed up their
each stage, method, materi- work on eco-design.
als and usage are taken into Tim McAloone thinks we are heading to-
consideration so as to be the wards a new industrial revolution where the
most beneficial for the en- environment is central. And there product
vironment. Tim McAloone, developers will have a central role.
senior lecturer in product how did you come to write a guide for prod-
development at the Techni- uct developers?
cal University of Denmark, “Many companies were interested in eco-
believes that this approach design, but didn’t know how to go about it. I
is about to revolutionize product develop- received an assignment from the Danish Min-
ment. His own interest in eco-design started istry of the Environment to develop a simple
when he worked on product life for a telecoms guide so that businesses of all sizes could get
company. He then realized that there is much started in this area. The aim of this guide was
to be done to reduce the environmental impact to write something that was easy to under-
of products, especially in his own electronics stand which could help companies’ product
industry. This interest led to Tim McAloone developers make sure that they were on track.”
writing his thesis on eco-design at Cranford what role do product developers play in eco-
University. There he followed some of the first design?
companies to work with lifecycle assessment “They have a very important role. I usually
and eco-design of their products. In the late say that it is product developers who control
30 futu r e by semcon 2.2010
Q&A Tim mCAloone ECO-DESIGNER
home: Just north of Copenhagen.
family: Wife and two children.
Education: Mechanical engineering at Manchester Metropolitan University, Eng-
land. Ph.D. with a dissertation on eco-design at Cranford University, England.
interests: ”I like to be outdoors. I used to do rock climbing, but not so much now
that I live in Denmark.”
reads: ”Mainly scientific journals connected with my job. Fiction-wise, there has to
be a scientific theme in some way.”
listens to: ”I love all types of music. Leonard Cohen is a favourite.”
number of books published: Five. Most of them are about eco-design.
favourite eco-design gadget at home: A machine that produces combustible bri-
quettes from old newspapers.
how big the environmental impact is, whether the car switches itself off. When I release the with eco-design without using figures, but at
they are aware of it or not. By choosing the handbrake it starts again. This allows devel- a certain level you have to start calculating to
materials, shape and energy usage, they are the opers to influence users’ habits and make the compare two sources or two different materi-
ones who decide. Product developers there- product more eco-friendly. Another important als. Then you have to have as many facts as
fore have a great responsibility to ensure that aspect is to look at estimated useful life. Is it possible. If we make too many guesses, we
the goods are as environmentally friendly as what the customer expects? Any deviation, no can’t rely on the results. Lifecycle analysis is a
possible.” matter which way, is bad. If you design some- great way to get an overview of environmental
what advice would you give to product de- thing to last for 18 years and it is only used for data, but you can’t capture every detail with
velopers who want to try eco-design? 18 months, you devote too many resources to this method.”
“The most important thing is to look at the sustainability. If you produce something with is it important to be involved early in the
whole lifecycle and remember that things live a life span of 18 months and the consumer ex- process?
on even when the company no longer owns pects it to last for 18 years, you need to invest “Yes, it is. The sooner you study the envi-
them. It is also important to note that the more resources in developing the product. For ronmental impact a product has, the better
products do not necessarily have an environ- the product developer it’s about first identify- results you get. The first 20 per cent of the
mental impact by themselves. It is the users ing users’ habits and then designing the object development process determines 8 per cent
who govern how the product affects the en- so that its use will be as eco-friendly as pos- of the environmental characteristics of the
vironment. Therefore it is essential to think sible.” product. Of course, eco-design can be applied
of the users when designing. For example, I how important is lifecycle analysis to eco- to existing products, but then a lot has al-
recently bought a car that will minimize en- design? ready been decided, and is difficult to change.
ergy use when stationary. In the past, I just “Lifecycle analysis is central to eco-design It is therefore important to be involved early
held down the clutch and let the engine idle work. It is through this that we find out which in the process.”
when waiting for a green light. With my new part of a product’s lifespan has the greatest are there products that cannot be eco-de-
car I put the handbrake on at a red light and environmental impact. You can go a long way signed?
32 futu r e by semcon 2.2010
“The most important thing is
gives a company a completely different type of
contact with the customer and it also gives the
company a greater opportunity to optimize the
to look at the whole lifecycle aircraft’s engine, thus reducing the environ-
how can companies use eco-design in their
and remember that things marketing?
“There are several different approaches.
Some companies have used eco-design as an
important part of their marketing. Others
Tim McAloone, eco-designer have been more cautious and used eco-design
without making a fuss about it. A third group
has done so because they have been forced to
“No, I don’t think so. I’m looking around my Others want to try but don’t know where to maintain their eco-friendly image. I think this
office right now to try to find something, but start. What I often do now is to make it easier is the case for many companies today. They
I can’t.” for developers to use eco-design. For example, know that environmental organizations like
when did companies start talking about eco- I worked with Grundfos, a Danish company Greenpeace will be knocking on their door if
design? that makes pumps. If you look at the lifespan they are not performing well. Regarding those
“The big impetus came in the early ‘90s of a pump in a block of flats, it has to be able who make environmental progress without
when environmental awareness grew due to to work around the clock, year in and year out. using it in their marketing, I think many are
the Brundtland Report and the Rio Confer- This makes the pump’s durability paramount. afraid that they will say something that may
ence. Many companies, particularly in Europe, If the pump is energy-efficient and lasts for a prove to be wrong.”
started to consider environmental aspects as long time the property owner is naturally more would you like to see a labeling system for
part of their work. Then there was a decline inclined to buy a more expensive pump. This eco-designed products?
in interest in these issues around the turn of goes hand in hand with business needs. It’s not “No. There are already so many different
the millennium, when world trade and the in- just about creating a product but also about be- labeling systems for different products. I also
ternet was the main focus, but it gained fresh ing able to provide service. Take a company that believe it would be difficult to develop such a
momentum with the publication of the Stern manufactures jet engines. Instead of just selling system .I think we should rather draw up eco-
report and concerns about climate change. To- an engine to an aeroplane manufacturer, the design guidelines for companies, a project
day we are riding this wave. selling point becomes ”power by the hour” It . which is under development right now.”
can you give some examples of companies can you see any problems with eco-
who were among the first to look at eco- design?
design? ”There can of course be prob-
“Philips has long focused on what they call
Four areas that could lems if you make the wrong
be improved with
their ”green flagship” This may include a TV
. calculations in lifecycle
that uses a fraction of energy compared to analysis and get the wrong
others. The Danish company Bang & Oluf-
eco-design,according results. It is also important to
to Tim McAloone
sen reduced energy consumption in standby consider where to devote re-
mode early on, something they have not made sources. You can, for example,
much fuss about. Siemens was one of the devote a lot energy producing
first to systematically go through the produc- a product that is completely
tion process to minimize material and energy PumPs recyclable, but if the user still
consumption. Hewlett-Packard, IBM and “Humanity uses so much energy in moving liquids that this throws it in the bin, all the
category should be under constant attention in terms of ef-
Electrolux are also among the pioneers.” work is wasted.
ficiency and eco-design.”
how come many of the companies are in the what do you think about
electronics industry? the future?
“Because many of these products, such as “I think interest in eco-de-
“There is great demand for these systems in buildings all
white goods, televisions and computers, have sign will continue to increase
over the world, and most of them consume large amounts
the biggest user environmental impact. These as it is important to develop
of energy. There are environmentally friendly alternatives available
companies therefore have the most to gain and there are many problems awaiting solutions.”
from eco-design, where the entire lifecycle is Whether you believe in cli-
taken into account.” trAnsPort systems mate change or not, the fact is
what’s happening in the area today? ”“We spend colossal amounts of non-human energy in that oil reserves will not last
“Today, companies have a much more ma- moving from A to B, either by road, rail, sea or air. Efficient forever. Alternative energy
ture way of approaching these topics. Envi- transport and integrated transport systems are technically possible sources are key to the future.
ronmental awareness has grown incredibly in today - someone just needs to design and implement them.” A lot will be about making
the last 20 years. Today, all companies with products and systems more
over 500 employees have at least one person exerCise equiPment energy efficient. I believe in
responsible for environmental issues. That “If we harnessed the energy generated on every treadmill, a new industrial revolution,
wasn’t the case 20 years ago. Some compa- exercise bike and machine, gyms would be self-sufficient in where energy efficiency will
nies have tried eco-design, but far from all. electricity.” be the focus.” 1
futu r e by semcon 2.2010 33
text tobias hammar & david Wiles
photoS mikael göthage, oleg borisuk, kiran nama
BEHIND THE SCENES
AT SEMCON BRAINS
robert nagy likes physics and mu-
sic. combining these interests led
to acoustics. see robert nagy talk
about what he does at work and
what it’s like to work at semcon at
34 futu r e by semcon 2.2010
the sound experts
semcon AcoustIcs GrouP A2ZounD
robert nAGy, 42, senIor AcoustIcs consuLtAnt,
mAts GustAVsson, 45, AcoustIcs sPecIALIst,
Peter moHLIn, 32, senIor AcoustIcs consuLtAnt,
Have you ever considered that your dishwasher makes very lit-
tle noise? Or that the sound quality of your mobile phone and
your car stereo is so high? Then you’ve come across some of
the areas where Semcon’s experts are at the cutting edge. The
group work on acoustic product development and deal with
everything from mobile phones and hearing aids to aircraft
and trucks. The work mainly consists of two tasks: to minimize
noise and vibration in various products and to provide prod-
ucts with desirable properties by developing their sound qual-
ity and thereby enhancing their image.
“We work as a specialist group. Our job is to improve prod-
ucts, in terms of sound and vibration. We do this by calculating,
measuring and analyzing sound or vibration in products,” says
He has just developed a set of requirements for noise and
vibration levels in the engine and gearbox of an electric truck
for a large, international vehicle manufacturer.
Semcon is also part of a major Swedish research project
within the automotive industry, EFESOS, which is about im-
proving the interaction between driver and car.
“Today’s cars are extremely complex. What we are working
on is to optimize the audio and information flow so that cars
will both be safer and feel more enjoyable,” says Peter Mohlin,
Semcon project manager at DRIVI (Driver Information and
Interaction - a sub-project of EFESOS).
Other work involves running courses and training in acous-
tics for customers and producing and developing their own
“I’ve worked extensively for years on innovations in the
sound and vibration field. This has resulted in seven patents
being accepted. It’s stimulating,” says Mats Gustafsson, who
normally also works on developing calculation methods to
simulate and reduce noise in the aviation industry.
futu r e by semcon 2.2010 35
the language technician
KAtALIn tIsocZKI, 27, tecHnIcAL wrIter
AnD coorDInAtor, semcon HunGAry
Imagine working for not one leading international company,
but two – at the same time. That’s what working life is like for
Katalin Tisoczki, a technical writer and coordinator based in
Budapest, Hungary. While employed by Semcon, Katalin is work-
ing for a major Swedish telecoms company. “Working like this
means I get a view of another company, their culture and their
working style,” she says.
After getting a university degree in English and IT, Katalin
joined Semcon three years ago and is currently involved in a ma-
jor project writing documentation for a telecom server platform.
Together with colleagues in Sweden and Russia, she is helping
to produce up to 800 documents.
“I wanted to use my English and to choose a field which is
technical without being too technical,” she says. “The job really
fits me because I can do both. I get a view of how the program-
mers work but without having to do the programming itself.”
Katalin started at Semcon as a technical writer and is now
both writing for and coordinating the project.
Katalin enjoys being able to work flexitime which gives her
a good work-life balance, and appreciates having supportive
management.“My contribution is appreciated and I can turn to
my bosses anytime,” she says. “There are more projects to come
here in Hungary, so it’s great to work in a growing company.”
36 futu r e by semcon 2.2010
the interiors innovator
nAyyAr rAHmAn, 32, ProDuct DesIGn enGIneer, semcon InDIA
Being a product design engineer in the lines time and again for customers in- panel and centre stack for a vehicle take more than 20 minutes.
automotive industry requires a careful cluding Volvo, Scania and most recently which is expected to sell in large num- “But the biggest challenge was to
balancing act. Aesthetic, ergonomic for Reva Electric Car Company, currently bers both on the Indian market and the design the interior of the car with the
and technology demands must be the world’s biggest manufacturer of rest of the world. highest quality at the least possible cost
continually weighed against each other, zero-emission vehicles, in his home city One of his tasks was to simulate the as they wanted to cater to the Indian
as must quality, cost and assembly time of Bangalore, India. In that assignment, assembly – in CAD Software – of the market,” says Nayyar. “This demand
requirements. for the exciting battery-powered Reva different parts of the instrument panel alone pushed us to innovate our design
Semcon product design engineer NXR, Nayyar worked at Reva’s interiors while ensuring that this assembly, when so that we could deliver the highest
Nayyar Rahman has walked these fine department, designing the instrument carried out on the shop floor, will not quality keeping the cost to a minimum.”
futu r e by semcon 2.2010 37
Tropical heat, bandits, overloaded trailers, and lots and lots of
potholes; by producing vehicles that can handle the worst
that Brazil’s roads have to offer, MAN Latin America, through
its brand Volkswagen Trucks and Buses, has grown to domi-
nate the South American nation’s heavy vehicle market in
the face of tough competition from the likes of Volvo, Scania
and Mercedes Benz. Semcon Brazil is one of its key engine-
ering services suppliers.
text david Wiles photo man, Paulo Fridman
38 futu r e by semcon 2.2010
s a truck-maker, if you don’t 2009 is continuing, although it is now much lar Consortium set-up; its expansive dealer
have the right products then faster than we had anticipated. At that time network; the company’s exclusive focus on
you won’t succeed,” says we were describing some recovery scenarios – heavy vehicles; its motivated workforce; and
Roberto Cortes, president of whether we would have a U-shaped recovery having the right products for the Brazilian
MAN Latin America, which or V-shaped recovery. Now we are having what market. “Because of our history we are pretty
bought Volkswagen’s heavy we call a tick-shaped recovery, where today we much a double-citizenship company,” says
vehicle operations in Brazil last year. “Our are selling much more than we sold before the Roberto Cortes. “We are based in Brazil but
competitors also have products, but I believe crisis, which was the best year ever.” with a German mother company which used
that we are the only ones that have the right to be Volkswagen and is now MAN. By being a
ones for Brazilian conditions.” so in ThE sEcond quarter of this year MAN Brazilian-based company from the beginning
A customer-focused approach has helped Latin America raised the production capa- we know what our customer wants, much
MAN Latin America become an automotive city at its Resende plant by 50 per cent. “We more than other multinational companies
success story at a time when many manufac- went from 50,000 trucks and buses per year with affiliates in Brazil do. We have been able
turers around the world continue to struggle to 77,000,” says Cortes. “We are utilising 100 to develop the right product together with
with poor demand as cash- and credit-strap- per cent of the third shift already, much earlier partners like Semcon because we have our
ped customers put off investing in new vehic- than we anticipated.” engineering locally.”
les. “When the crisis hit in 2008, like everyone The company has gone from 12 per cent This approach has given the Volkswagen
else we had a reduction of 50 per cent in market share 13 years ago to 31 per cent – and brand’s Brazilian-made trucks unique features
terms of new orders,” says Roberto the position of market leader – today. such as step protectors to stop bandits getting
Cortes. “The recovery that we Roberto Cortes puts this success down to access to the cab when the vehicle is parked
saw starting in the middle of five factors: its factory, with its unique Modu- up or moving slowly, and ensured that they
futu r e by semcon 2.2010 39
petition. When the company introduced its
18-310 Titan model in the 40-tonne class,
it was up against more expensive and more
high-tech vehicles from Scania, Volvo and
Mercedes. “Customers soon realised the
value for money of this new product, due to
its reliability, robustness and simplicity of
maintenance,” says Paulo Alleo. “Soon all our
competitors had launched an entry-level trac-
tor like ours.”
Brazilian roads can be deman- To develop such a heavy-duty vehicle from
ding. They stretch for more than
1.7 million kilometers but only scratch would have been prohibitively ex-
160 000 km are paved. pensive for MAN in Latin America, but they
used their customer-focused approach to get
round this obstacle. “We did a survey of our
customers to find out what would be the best
compromise for them,” says Paulo Alleo. “So
we basically modified our existing tractor by
implementing all the modifications that the
customers wanted, and this resulted in a huge
success for us.”
in 1996 volKswagEn Truck and Bus, now
MAN Latin America, built its Resende plant
at a cost of some $250 million. Located about
150 kilometres from Rio de Janeiro and 250
kilometres from São Paulo, it covers an area
of 1 million square metres and is one of the
world’s most modern truck and bus produc-
tion facilities. The plant, which employs more
than 5,500 people, is also home to the MAN
World Centre for Development of Trucks and
Buses for emerging markets which carries out
research and design of new models as well as
development of new technologies to be used
in the products. The results of its work are
Semcon developed the inter-
nal electronics for MAN’s best- shared with the engineers of MAN Com-
selling Constellation range. mercial Vehicles in Germany and applied to
vehicles produced by the company in other
are tough enough to handle Brazil’s notori- to find out their needs and their opinions The Resende plant operates a production
ous roads. As the world’s fifth largest country, on upcoming models. “Before we launched system named the Modular Consortium,
Brazil has more than 1.7 million kilometres of our first bus in 1993, for instance, we bought which involves external partners not only
roads, but less than a tenth of that, 160,000 the best bus made by the competition for supplying components but also assemb-
kilometres, is paved. And just half of that, just benchmarking purposes. A prototype was ling them, with Volkswagen responsible for
80,000 kilometres, is in good condition. The made and the most important fleet owners in overall product quality control. The results
dusty, potholed tracks that make up a signifi- Brazil were invited for a workshop,” he says. are reduced production costs, stock levels and
cant amount of the road infrastructure clearly “We showed them the prototype to get their production time, and increased flexibility in
put totally different strains on road-going inputs. the production of specialised vehicles. But
vehicles than, for instance, the autobahns of
Germany or the US freeways. “We improve the as a rEsulT sEvEral technical recommenda-
materials, improve the equipment and make tions were identified. So the product was mo- Facts MAN
the vehicles bullet-proof to these conditions,” dified according to their needs and expecta-
man is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of
says Roberto Cortes. “The result is greater tions and before the launch they were invited commercial vehicles and the second largest truck
dealer satisfaction, lower warranty costs and back again and asked if this was what they manufacturer in europe. the company began in the
essentially no downtime for the trucks.” were expecting. So this was an example of our mid-1700s. in the late 1800s rudolf diesel invented
Making products meet expectations means close relationship with our customers during and developed the diesel engine in the german city
of augsburg. part of man’s headquarters is still situa-
having a close dialogue with fleet owners and product development.”
ted there. today, man has about 47,700 employees
drivers. Paulo Alleo, MAN Latin America’s MAN’s approach – summed up by the worldwide and had annual sales in 2009 of nearly
engineering director, explains that key custo- slogan “Less you don’t want; more you don’t seK 12 billion. volkswagen owns nearly 30% of man.
mers and potential customers are interviewed need” – has not gone unnoticed by the com-
40 futu r e by semcon 2.2010
“We improve the materials,
improve the equipment and
make the vehicles bullet-proof
to these conditions.”
Robert Cortes, president MAN Latin America
Title: president of man
this approach also allows MAN Latin America line with the new regulations. “Starting in 2011 its ‘Tailor Made’ strategy, fulfilling customer’s
to focus on other aspects of its business, not we are going to have at least two SOPs [start of needs by delivering the right products, from a
least product development. “As our suppliers production] per month for 12 months. All the cost and robustness perspective.”
also produce our products on top of supplying work needs to be of the highest quality and we The development its own local engineering
their parts, it gives us more time to develop know that Semcon and our other engineering team, fully capable to develop and test its own
our own competence, which is understanding services suppliers provide this quality of engi- products, has also been crucial. “This is the
what the customer wants and providing the neering work.” only way to meet customer expectations in a
aftersales they demand,” says Roberto Cortes. market with such particular characteristics,”
“Because of our business model we don’t need semCon wAs founded in Brazil in 2006 as says Renato Perrotta.
to spend too much time on production. So a consequence of the company’s successful Both strategies, however, demand the kind
while everyone has a truck plant now in Brazil, work in Germany on the electric and electro- of engineering support which only a global
we are the only ones to have such a plant and nic architecture of the Constellation family of company like Semcon is able to provide. And
production concept.” trucks. Today the company has 160 employees that support will be crucial as new challenges
and is one of MAN Latin America’s main engi- await Brazil’s truck industry, from the new
alongsidE about 200 of its own engineers and neering suppliers, offering expertise within engine emission standards to new regulations
technicians at Resende, MAN Latin America chassis, powertrain, styling and simulation, regarding weight per axle, to the new demands
draws on the expertise of about 250 more who among other disciplines. Renato Perrotta, on the country’s notorious road infrastructure
work for external suppliers, such as Semcon. Semcon’s country manager for Brazil, says with the upcoming FIFA World Cup in 2014
“If we start hiring engineers to do this work that hearing the customer’s voice has been and the Summer Olympics two years later.
we would have to train them and this would one of the most important pillars of MAN “I try to give MAN the feeling that whene-
take a lot of time that we do not have,” says Latin America’s market strategy. “By hearing ver and whatever they need us, we are there to
Paulo Alleo. “So we decided to buy in this its customers, MAN Latin America developed support them, we are ready to serve.” 1
work. By bringing in companies that have this
know-how they can start working immedia-
tely. They have the people with expertise to do Renato Perrotta
the work and we just supervise or manage the age: 37
work.” Title: country manager,
Semcon developed the electrics and elec-
tronics architecture for MAN Latin America’s
bestselling Constellation range, and today has
more than 70 engineers working on modi-
fications to vehicles for special applications
– such as refuse collection vehicles, military
vehicles and cement mixers. Semcon has ex-
tensive experience from Europe on the Euro 5
emissions standards which are in place in Eu-
rope and which will come into effect in Brazil
in 2012, and is also working on adapting the
electronic architecture of MANS’s vehicles to Paulo Alleo
the new emissions regulations. age: 58
Title: engineering director,
“We cannot fail,” says Paulo Alleo about the man Latin america
need to bring MANS’s product portfolio into
futu r e by semcon 2.2010 41
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN SEMCON’S WORLD
Aiming for precision
dEsign EnginEEr Robert Andersson, at Semcon as fast and as accurate as possible. The targets are
in Göteborg, is also Swedish champion in dynamic both fixed and moving, and anything from 9 to 32
shooting. He has six gold medals and one bronze shots are taken from each station.
from national championships and one silver medal Robert Andersson works as a mechanical en-
from the Nordic Championships on his CV. Robert gineer and is currently working on a life science
Andersson has also taken part in three European project. The experience he has gained from his
Championships. In the latest one, which was in work has also benefited his sporting career.
Serbia in the autumn of 2010, he finished in 12th “What I’ve taken from my job into my shooting is
place. to be organized and to take care not to cut corners
“I have been involved with practical shooting on the course and always do my best,” he says.
since 1998 and took part in my first Swedish cham- Semcon sponsors Robert Andersson and he will
pionships the same year,” he says. compete in the European Championships in a
Practical shooting originated in the U.S. and new kit bearing the Semcon logo.
came to Sweden in the late 70s. “It feels terrific to have support from
In practical shooting, contestants must combine work and it feels great to be able to have
precision, speed and endurance. Participants shoot Semcon on my jersey when I’m out
from different stations, and it is important to be there competing.” 1
42 futu r e by semcon 2.2010
30 years of Semcon
Semcon started out in Västerås in
1980, very much on a local level.
Since then, development has
been exciting. Today - 30 years
later - Semcon is a global technol-
ogy company with operations in
45 locations on three continents.
Its customers include many
of the world’s most attractive
brands. Today, Semcon has nearly
3 000 employees and had sales
of around SEK 2.3 billion last year.
Who would have thought that 30
Growth in India
Semcon India is expanding and
now has more than 60 employees.
Together with customers such as
AB Volvo, BMW and Reva, Semcon
is continuing to grow in India.
They have extended their coop-
eration with Semcon in Germany
and have three consultants onsite
in Munich. Semcon India has also
started working with Semcon’s
office in Rhein-Main, Germany.
“The outlook is very good and
we will continue to expand as fast
as we can in CAD, CAE and Elec-
tronics, while preserving quality
and focusing on long-term profit-
Anton Gellebring thought ability,” says David Orth, head of
it was great fun to go in a Semcon India.
Porsche on a racetrack.
XLPM – a unique
An action-packed day new project
sEvEral criTically ill childrEn had their wishes fulfilled in
XLPM (Excellence in Project
June when they got to ride in a real racing car at the MinSto-
Management) was launched by
raDag (MyBigDay) event. When the STCC City Race was held in
Semcon this autumn and is the
Göteborg, the children got to ride with racing driver Micke Ohls-
new project methodology for
son in a Semcon Porsche.
project, programme and portfolio
“It feels great to be able to contribute to a positive experi-
ence, and it adds another dimension to our STCC investment.
Semcon’s Porsche made “Not only does XLPM help to
Seeing how happy the kids were after they’d gone around the
the kids really happy at clarify how users shall achieve
course was priceless,” says Anders Atterling, IR and PR manager
MinStoraDag. their goals, but it also shows
at Semcon. 1
them what to do and how they
can provide IT support,” says
A new way to effective testing
Torben Grut, R&D manager for
Semcon Project Management.
With XLPM businesses and
organizations can take a holistic
coMTEsT® is a measuring and control system used for auto- Senior Software Engineer at Semcon Göteborg. approach to their operations.
mated testing in test rigs. For over 25 years, Semcon has delivered ComTest Express is an entry-level system - a complete easy- The new XLPM has a simple,
hundreds of different ComTest solutions to testing departments to-install testing package, so that planning time is short and clear, practical methodology for
at leading industrial companies. Now it’s time to release a new decisions are taken quickly. With this smaller and cheaper system everyone, in both top-level and
product onto the market - ComTest Express. customers with smaller test rigs get the opportunity to use an operational functions. The meth-
The system has been developed for functional testing and en- advanced test system. odology is suitable for all sizes of
durance testing in industry. It ensures that real-world conditions ComTest Express will launch in October 2010, and although it is projects and can also be adapted
can be tested in a supervised and controlled environment. new, the system has a solid base. to particular needs.
“You could say that ComTest Express is really ComTest lite, “There is stability and security because the system is based on “Of course, I think that XLPM
which means that customers’ investment costs are lower and our experience in supplying test systems to the industry,” says is excellent and I’m very proud of
the system can grow and expand,” says Lars-Olof Willquist, Lars-Olof Willquist. 1 the product,” says Torben Grut.
futu r e by semcon 2.2010 43
please return to:
SPI STO CH-8010 Zürich
Your global partner in
engineering services and