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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here is an interesting article from GP (news magazine from Gothenburh).

In short. The employers at Torslanda has to work Monday - Saturday with only one day of rest to cope with the demand.

When the CEO Hakan Samuelsson today presented the interim report, he described this as one of the most important changes in the Volvo Cars 88-year history. And the Torslanda plant have also celebrated their sjumiljonte production car since in 1964.

Last but not least, the orders of the new XC90 has exceeded expectations. The 35 000 orders placed before customers could test drive the car has grown to 57 000. This year, the Torslanda plant to produce about 50 000 new XC90 and Volvo Cars globally hit a new record of nearly half a million cars produced.

To cope with the onslaught has Torslanda recruited 1,500 new employees, 200 more than it imagined last fall introduced a third shift and increased production rates 48 to 50 cars per hour.

And here devotes Hakan Samuelsson a thought for their employees at the beginning of the press conference for the past six months.

"It means that people in production now are the ones who really have the main job. It is very hard work in the factory to build these new cars and deliver them to the customers. This puts pressure on the organization," says the CEO.

Ideally, he would like to have shorter delivery times to customers than they have today: "It is something we have to work with."

But you listen to the factory employees, it sounds unlikely that it will build faster the coming autumn.

Several Volvo Workers GP spoken to testify how the new labor agreement, the union wrote in to get XC90 production to Gothenburg, where the employer can control more of the working time, is already fully utilized.

Mandatory overtime on weekdays and Saturday work, in which the information may be the same Friday, described more as a rule than an exception since the spring. Some describe how they work overtime every day, others in virtually every Saturday, depending on the location in the factory they work.

With only one day of rest a week, after forcibly canceled weekend trips and difficulties in planning their leisure time, starting several XC90 builders be declared.

"You can not plan a life as it is now. I have always been very loyal to the company and recommended the Volvo as a workplace for many. But now I can not do it anymore. Something must be done," says one of the fitters with 20 years experience in the factory.

"A billion in profits're great. But we have shorter breaks and we must not rest on weekends, people will become worn out," said another.

IF Metall Glenn Bergström describes the recent past as "strained and very, very tough in some places in the factory." But he believes that over time not due to the new agreement, but problems with the supply of parts to production.

A company that builds its brand around trust must be relatively satisfied employees, which speaks well of the company. Historically, Volvo Cars workers also generally been proud of the job, the cars and the company.

But if it keeps on changing with the global transformation Volvo Cars has a problem.

There is something Hakan Samuelsson has to work with.


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Unfortunately, this is how many companies worldwide work.

I've worked production and in some instances was forced by labor negotiations to work 28 days straight, get a weekend off and do another 28 days straight in order to get production demands back in line.

It sucks but it does happen.

Those were on $50-100M planes but the point is that labor can be moved away from the work force, it can be temporarily enhanced to help get through the demands or it can give up and strike.

That's pretty much the options. The fact that a Swedish workforce is having problems meeting demands doesn't make me cry for their plight. It sucks but I've been there and I'm there currently daily in my current role.

I have sympathy but what can you do? Strike and have no jobs when they move production to China?

So either you have to put on your big girl panties and deal with it or you quit.

That's pretty much your options.

Management can be brought in and they can try to work a better plan but that's pretty much the options.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My question is more towards what should/could a company (read Volvo) do to prevent this to be a permanent problem? What if demand will goes up and up and Volvo wont be able to deliver their products in reasonable time? At the end its only a new plant that can solve this problem. But a new plant is nothing you build just in one day. For the long term maybe thats the only solution. Specially when Volvo says they want to double thier productions. But in the short time? Torslanda is allready on their maximum capacity.
The new plant in the us will not be in use until 2018. .... maybe its just a pleasent headache but still a headache they have to cope with.


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My question is more towards what should/could a company (read Volvo) do to prevent this to be a permanent problem? What if demand will goes up and up and Volvo wont be able to deliver their products in reasonable time? At the end its only a new plant that can solve this problem. But a new plant is nothing you build just in one day. For the long term maybe thats the only solution. Specially when Volvo says they want to double thier productions. But in the short time? Torslanda is allready on their maximum capacity.
The new plant in the us will not be in use until 2018. .... maybe its just a pleasent headache but still a headache they have to cope with.


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Maybe the factory at Daqing, China, which will start building S90/S90L next year, could help build XC90 at least for Asian market. Demand of S90 probably is not up to the capacity (if it is 100k cars annually) there. Then in 2018 SC factory will start production to make it total of 6 factories for 800k cars as targeted. Still stretchy but maybe doable.
 

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My question is more towards what should/could a company (read Volvo) do to prevent this to be a permanent problem? What if demand will goes up and up and Volvo wont be able to deliver their products in reasonable time? At the end its only a new plant that can solve this problem. But a new plant is nothing you build just in one day. For the long term maybe thats the only solution. Specially when Volvo says they want to double thier productions. But in the short time? Torslanda is allready on their maximum capacity.
The new plant in the us will not be in use until 2018. .... maybe its just a pleasent headache but still a headache they have to cope with.


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Well, I think that's part of the longer term vision of Volvo. Building factories in different parts of the world. We have the one in South Carolina popping up but it won't be useful for 3 years, at the earliest.

So, I think management is well aware of the short term problems which is why they are building long term solutions like other plants.

It does make a lot of sense.

In the meantime, the best they can do is try to increase production by possibly doing a 3.5 day shift. I'm not sure how that will go over but when I was on a 3.5 day shift, it was pretty awesome other than the 3-12 hour days. But if you can hack it, it might do the trick.

My favorite shift was the first half of the week nights. Worked from 8pm-8am Sun-Tuesday and then do a shift from 8pm to 2am Wednesday-Thursday. Then go home and sleep and wake up about 10am. Then be off from Thursday until Sunday evening again.

I've never seen that in a production line environment but I have seen it in 24 hour services environments.
 

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You can hire more people to keep the factory running 7x24 and everyone still only work 40hr a week, including weekend hours every month or so.
The problem will be when demanding constantly exceeds factory capacity, for several years.
 

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Early high demand for a new model like this usually reduces in the second year, but with the S90/V90 coming next year Volvo clearly need more permanent workers, whether in Sweden or elsewhere.
 

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Early high demand for a new model like this usually reduces in the second year, but with the S90/V90 coming next year Volvo clearly need more permanent workers, whether in Sweden or elsewhere.
Real volume car will be new XC60 and XC40. V90 will sell mostly in Europe. S90 will not be as hot as XC90. Can't wait to see them all, though I'll only be able to buy at most 2.
 

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From my admittedly distant perspective, it sounds as if the Volvo hourly-wage factory workers in Torslanda are crying in their öl -- which is admittedly highly taxed at differing rates pegged to the alcohol content. Be that as it may, they seem to have very short memories. In the very recent past, demand for Volvo product was weak worldwide, production was scaled back accordingly, and workers were either laid off or had to make do with reduced working hours. Now demand for Volvos, beginning with the new XC90, is off the charts, they have full employment at high salaries with generous benefits, and they are whining. Be it American-style capitalism or Swedish-style socialism, you can't have it both ways, folks. Rejoice and be glad that you are working for a long-struggling firm that is finally and unequivocally becoming profitable.
 

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That's OK. We have some hard working folks in South Carolina that will gladly take those hours.
 

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Interesting article. I just hope the added strain on the workers doesn't result in a drop in quality.
 

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you should ask some ex-SAAB workers what they think.
Trollhätten is just a stone's throw from Torslanda and even closer to Uddevalla, where the late lamented C70 was built. I suspect that many if not most former SAAB employees are now working for VCC. They should be easy to spot: they're the ones not complaining about the six-day work week and full employment...
 

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4-shift rotation is more common in Europe, when the 24x7 operation is required. A person works 5x8-hour shifts, and then off for exactly 48 hours. Then a cycle repeats. The company needs only 4 crews, no one has any overtime, and the rotation is better for the human health than the repetitive grave yard or night shifts.
VCC still have this option. I think that the current challenge is to find enough qualified workers. So far, VCC could only fill the 3 qualified crews. It is possible that they switch to the 4-shift rotation, when they be able to do so.
The 4-shift mode has significantly lower operations cost than the 3-shift with the overtime.
 

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I'm thinkin' that mandatory overtime might produce as much as double-pay? If I'm a former SAAB employee who has been unemployed, or under-employed for a while, I would be doing a victory dance in the end-zone. Yes, if I'm a long term Volvo employee, feeling secure, I might complain.
 

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4-shift rotation is more common in Europe, when the 24x7 operation is required. A person works 5x8-hour shifts, and then off for exactly 48 hours. Then a cycle repeats. The company needs only 4 crews, no one has any overtime, and the rotation is better for the human health than the repetitive grave yard or night shifts.
VCC still have this option. I think that the current challenge is to find enough qualified workers. So far, VCC could only fill the 3 qualified crews. It is possible that they switch to the 4-shift rotation, when they be able to do so.
The 4-shift mode has significantly lower operations cost than the 3-shift with the overtime.
Reducing costs is all fine and dandy but if it doesn't increase production there's not a lot of point to it.
 

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Reducing costs is all fine and dandy but if it doesn't increase production there's not a lot of point to it.
I think you missed the point that the 4-shift is a 24x7x365 work environment. It cannot be any more productive than that. And it is less enduring than any other 24x7x365 schema, since each worker goes through the "regular" 5x8-hour shifts, with a full 2-day 48-hour break in between.
Has being proven as a very efective and efficient method to cover continuous industrial processes such as metallurgy and petroleum, where furnaces and reactors cannot be stopped for a long stretch of time.
The only caveat is that a company needs 4 qualified people for every position instead of 3 under other schedules, and this could be a problem in the specialized fields.
The upside is, again, that the 4-shift is cost effective for a company and is appreciated by the workers.

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