Today, June 20th, it is exactly 20 years since you became an employee of Konecranes Lift trucks, back then SMV. Congratulations! Do you remember your first day at work?
Sure I do! In the run-up to my first day I was pretty nervous. The company was brand new, I was employee number 12. That means I got to be the first tester and my first assignment was to unpack the tools I needed in order do my job. I hung them on the wall, and created myself a workstation. Then I began to put decals on the cars. And still today I work as a tester, but not for SMV of course, but for Konecranes Lift Trucks.
What kind of challenges were you facing during the first years?
We immediately started to work on machine number one that was going to be delivered to the harbor of Gothenburg. My assignment was to test it according to routine, so everything needed to be measured with great care, time, and attention. And since everybody in the staff was newly hired - we all felt the pressure to deliver a first machine that had the best quality possible.
What is the biggest difference when testing and approving trucks today compared with twenty years ago?
Back then, since we produced so few of them at the start of SMV, we were pretty much together with the machine till delivery. When the machine had been tested and got approved it sometimes happened that I traveled with it to the retail customer, sometimes far outside of Europe. That is one of the differences working alone as a tester for the first one and a half years. Today there are eight people in our testing team.
What does a regular day for you look like?
When we arrive in the morning, we take a look at our daily schedule that will show us which trucks each person will be handling during the day. Then we start doing the first controls, checking the oil and so on. Then we drive the machine for at least 8 hours - located in our test area. One machine takes about 2,5-3 days of testing before it is ready to be shipped and delivered – if everything in the test worked out perfectly. The truck will then be polished, the tubes and all electricity will be inspected and the truck provided with sound insulation. In the next step, the truck gets dismantled and ready for delivery. After that, we’re done and start getting ourselves ready for the next one! It’s a job that comes with great responsibility. Once in a while, I wake up in the middle of the night, wondering if I’ve forgotten anything. Next morning, the first thing I have to do to calm down, is to go investigate.
Is there someone who’s made an impact on you especially?
Yes, the nine persons that actually chose to quit their safe working conditions and start SMV, something that they believed in. Since we didn't have that many staff members in the beginning, we all got very close and no one had to solve problems without the support of the others. Once in a while the owners got dressed in factory overalls to help solve problems on the factory floor. That kind of engagement is still very typical for Konecranes as a business.
Name one great thing about being a tester.
It is to drive – I love our trucks and the bigger, the better!