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The winners of Axlab 2015

The technology for monitoring has been used for a while. Using sensors for the purpose is also not revolutionary. What makes the idea unique and smart – and thus the team from Axel Johnson International to one of the winners of Axlab 2015 – is that the team has chosen to renew what’s already there.

– Our idea Sensortech is based on existing monitoring technology for – in our case – load anchors, pumps and cables. At the same time, when the alarm sounds, a signal will be sent to request spare parts or control. This gives us great opportunity to build close and long-term relationships with our customers who do not have room for damage to the load, unforeseen production stoppages or other errors, ” said Olga Krejci Halkovova, marketing and communications director at AxFlow, which is part of Axel Johnson International.

It was the team of Axel Johnson International and Robert Hård, responsible for HR, Legal and Environment at Meca – part of the Mekonomen – who took home a first place in the first edition of the innovation competition Axlab.

Manning companies solve several challenges
Meca’s workshops are often small businesses with few employees, which implies certain challenges during periods when demand for engineering services is high. In order to meet customer needs with sustained profitability all year round, Robert Hård came up with an idea where everyone is a winner.

“The workshops have a fear of hiring as it becomes too costly during periods of slow business. At the same time there is a need for staff to cover the peaks, “says Robert Hård at Meca.

The solution: To start a manning company focusing on people with car mechanic skills and a foreign background.

“When our workshops can handle at high pressures, they can also be profitable all year round, even during periods when the pressure is a little lower. For Meca, the idea can increase profitability for the company and its customers and contribute to the goal of being a sustainable company” continues Robert.

Many new Swedes have a background as car mechanics, which creates additional opportunities for Meca and Mekonomen. In the next few years, there will be a lack of car mechanics in Sweden.

Commitment important for better business
The idea of Axlab is that employees’ ideas will help create even better business. Olga Krejci Halkovova thinks that the first competition in Axlab was a good example of how to engage all their employees in the idea-creating process.

“Here we can participate in and influence the future growth of our own companies and the entire Group’s future. The large number of participants and ideas given in such a short time proves it, she says.
At the same time, Axel Johnson’s management, with Axlab, takes an important stance, “said Robert Hård. The competition sends clear signals to the Group’s approximately 20,000 employees.

– All ideas are equally valuable, no matter who is the sender. Even if a company is successful today, it does not mean that the company can exclusively live on old merits. Without developing new business ideas, there is a risk that someone else sooner or later will compete for the company, “he says.
How does it feel to win the first edition of Axlab? “Unexpectedly but above all very honorable,” says Robert Hård.

– People are creative and committed to their work and they care about the future. Axlab has the potential to become a platform to capture and develop this creative energy. For us, profit is the first step in a very exciting journey in our work with smart machines that communicate with us and which helps us provide even better service to our customers, “says Olga Krejci Halkovova.

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