Scania Australia has a new boss for the first time in eight years with Swede Mikael Jansson taking the reins from Roger McCarthy, who will bow out after some stunningly successful sales figures in the past year.
In what can be seen as an acknowledgment of the importance of the Australian market to Scania globally, (we rank number five in the company’s export markets for buses and a little bit further down the pecking order for trucks) Jansson comes to the role from a very senior position running Scania’s global parts operation and as part of its Top Management Team for the past decade.
Jansson is an affable and extremely astute operator and brings a range of management skills to the table after a lifetime working for the Swedish company.
He was quick to state that he would be building on the great work Roger McCarthy has done and the strength he has built into the company during his tenure.
Given McCarthy has been steering the Scania ship for about eight years, Jansson’s promise that the much anticipated new Generation Scania range will be launched down under during his time running the Australian operation may not have been such a big promise. The sly grin on Jansson’s face indicated some degree of jest, however it is also clear they won’t be rushing the new truck to market and instead will take a considered view with lots of customer consultation, testing and engineering work, not unlike cross town rivals at Mercedes Benz with the Actros.
Jansson is clearly a strategist and given his exposure to Scania’s long term management philosophies and plans he will have a very clear view of the big picture in his role down under. He has been in a range of roles and brings a vast amount of experience in how to run a large company.
Like many of the other senior managers in the Australian market Jansson sees the sales battles being fought out with service and uptime as the weapons.
“We gained a lot of market share on the sales side last year and an important part of that has been selling repair and maintenance contracts bundled with the trucks,” he told Truck and Bus News.
“I have been very much involved in developing that concept and going from having generic maintenance plans to contracts that are specific for each and every vehicle.
“The key is improving uptime and reducing cost, there are other things in this way that we will bring forward.
“I believe the market will develop and we will sell more and more services solutions – focusing on that instead of just selling the hardware,” said Mikael.
The data being harvested from trucks now will prove a major benefit for both customers and Scania according to Jansson who believes this data will be the pathway to a goal of guaranteed uptime, something he sees as a major benefit that is worth pursuing as the technology develops.
“The information we are gaining from our vehicles is already giving us the information to change the maintenance plan,” he says.
Jansson flagged the potential for trucks to signal when parts or components are about to fail so that they can be changed before the truck grinds to a halt in the middle of nowhere with a time critical load on board. He spoke very optimistically about predictive and preventative parts replacement which he believes will change the approach from ‘repair’ to ‘maintenance’ and from an ‘unplanned stop’ to a ‘planned replacement.’
“It’s a much more efficient approach for our customers,” he added.
Jansson said the New Truck Generation production is currently being ramped up for the ‘home’ European markets after what has been a long global launch to customers.
“Launch of the new truck outside Europe, and also in Australia, is being looked at now, but before we launch it in Australia we’re going to ensure that they are the right specification for local conditions,” said Jansson.
“We will be testing the vehicles here in Australia so they really perform at the right level.”
Jansson said that extensive testing will be carried out before the launch of what is a truck that is a massive change and upgrade in technology.
“This is not just a new truck, it’s a total concept. It’s really to support the total operating economy for our customers, that’s with services concepts included,” he added.
“Scania has a strong position going forward I believe and there is a lot of change coming to our industry with electrification, autonomous operation, electrification and other pluses such as sustainability.
“This will affect all markets, sooner or later and I’m looking forward to that journey here in Australia,” he said.
Saluting the work of his predecessor Roger McCarthy, Jansson said the Englishman’s work, saying it had been greatly appreciated by HQ in Sweden.
Jansson has worked with Scania since graduating from university in the early 1980s and like McCarthy he is a Scania ‘lifer’. In fact Jansson actually undertook his thesis at university on ways to reduce the company’s inventory. He was able to do just that inside the company and has been there ever since, going on to head up parts product management and becoming vice president in charge of parts in 2006.
He became a senior vice president and head of parts and service in 2013, a role he held up until leaving for Australia.
With all that experience and back ground in parts Jansson said he has always had the desire to run a sales and service company somewhere in the Scania realm and reckons now is the time.
Apart from that Jansson said he is keen to try Australian ski slopes as well as the beach and tennis courts in summer.
“I have a lot of people asking about coming to stay with us for the Australian Open in January which just happens to be the coldest time of year in Sweden,” said Jansson with a smile.
“I love sport and I am keen to see Australian football, some normal football (soccer) as well as the tennis and the Australian F1 Grand Prix,” he said.
“We have also had other friends asking about coming down under for the Grand Prix, I think we will be very popular with friends back home wanting to visit us,” he added.
“This is an interesting and vibrant market and Scania organisation has an exciting future. I enjoy the outdoors and I am a sports fan so Australia is an amazing opportunity for new experiences,” he said.