Ambassador Mattias Johansson
- Forestry cranes
Kjell & Aste Larsson Åkeri AB Molkom, Sweden
“When we decided to invest in HiVisionTM it was first and foremost the safe and comfortable work environment that we valued. As we are lonely at work it is reassuring to we have a comfortable and safe work environment. It was not too hard to decide when we realized how everything worked.”
- Mattias Johansson
To be in the on the forefront of development is exciting but also scary. However if you decide to be a pioneer you may also win big! Mattias Johansson at Kjell & Aste Åkeri AB in Sweden decided to take the chance and become the worlds’ first owner of a serial produced HiVisionTM crane, and so far, he has not regretted a thing.
When meeting Mattias Johansson for the first time you notice two things; he is above average tall and he is dedicated to timber logistics. He has been operating timber cranes for over 22 years and really knows the trade inside out and is passionate about his profession. At Kjell & Aste Larsson Åkeri AB he is responsible for the timber truck fleet, and in his role there are two important focuses; deliver timber logistic services with high quality according to the market demands and attract and retain new timber truck operators to be able to do so.
To make sure you are up to your customer’s demands and that you can deliver your services with high quality you must rely on skilled operators and reliable equipment. “Our customers expect a lot from us. We have to deliver on time, with correct quantities to the right factory. It is important to have reliable equipment so that we don’t spend our time standing still in the workshop.” Mattias states as time standing still is lost and thus not an option. Standing still means lost reputation and customer satisfaction and a reduction in the utilization of the fleet. Reliability of the equipment and predictability in operation is paramount. In order to keep both reliability and predictability, service is key but even spare parts. “When we change parts on our cranes we always use original spare parts. This is because they last longer and if it lasts longer we have less down time.” Mattias explains.
In May 2017 Kjell & Aste Larsson Åkeri’s big investment for the future materialized. The Scania truck equipped with a LOGLIFT 125Z HiVisionTM crane and Exte Com 90 balks was delivered and from then on nothing has been quite the same. The attention Kjell & Aste Larssona Åkeri has received from the surroundings have been overwhelming; from the press, from other timber truck owners and from the overall trade.
Mattias was one of the driving forces in the process leading to the decision to invest in the new HiVisionTM timber truck. To some perhaps a risky investment as the truck was a daring combination of new untested technology together with other innovative solutions. As others perhaps considered it a bold move, Mattias did not. First of all he had trust and confidence in Hiab. This trust rested on the long relations with Hiab sales representative Henrik Johansson whose acquaintance goes back a long time. “That Kjell & Aste Larsson Åkeri AB prefer Hiab products is very much a result of the sales representative, at least for the forestry business. He always helps us regardless of when we need help.” Mattias explains. Henrik introduced him to HiVisionTM and explained how the new crane solution worked. So arriving to the decision to buy a HiVisionTM crane was not too difficult or as Mattias quite simply states, “The decision was not hard to make when we understood how everything worked, and it went quite quickly from being an idea to owning a fully operational truck.”
Timber logistics is a profession where there is a big future need for labor. The combination of an aging work force and difficulties to attract and recruit new operators is problematic. In addition, you have an increasing demand for timber logistic services in the market. The timber trucks at Kjell & Aste Åkeri already run two shifts and Mattias states that they have never had such high demands on the business as now and the prospects are positive.
As Mattias sees it, investing in HiVisionTM is one way to try to become a more attractive employer to young operators. “If you want to reach out to young people for future recruitment you have to dare to be visible. I have been to machine operating schools showing up my timber truck with all the new available technique and told the students what it means to be a timber truck driver. These days the equipment is a lot more computerized, your workday includes more social interactions and you are more flexible than before.” he tells us. His co-driver Sofie Tjus Ekström, 22 years old, is a classic example. She chose to work at Kjell & Aste due to the modern timber tuck. She has never operated another timber crane but HiVisionTM and she loves it!
But it is not only about attracting new employees, it is also about the work environment. “When we decided to invest in HiVisionTM it was first and foremost the safe and comfortable work environment that we valued.” Mattias states. Timber crane operation is a very challenging occupation due to the strain on your body but also from a safety perspective. As Mattias sees it; “The advantage of operating from the truck cabin during bad weather conditions with no risk of injuring yourself climbing the crane or slipping on ice during winter is crucial.” From an employer perspective Mattias even states that; “It feels safe to let the truck over to driver number two knowing she will be safe and comfortable inside the truck cabin.”
The new timber truck is even closely studied and monitored in the project “The future timber truck”, a cross organizational project. A working group with representatives from several companies and organizations with resources from Kjell & Aste Larsson Åkeri, Exte, VSV Frakt, Hiab, Lecab, OP Höglunds, The Paper Province, Svenskt Åkeri Företag all meet once a month to carefully monitor how the vehicle performs following many aspects such as productivity, work environment, safety and so on. The objective is to create more value and effectiveness to customers and owners alike.
After taking the new timber truck equipped with the LOGLIFT 125Z HiVisionTM crane into use, nothing has quite been the same for Mattias at Kjell & Aste Larsson Åkeri AB. But there is one thing Mattias is sure about; “I am never going back into a crane cabin again!” he states with a smile as he climbs into his truck cabin making himself comfortable for his next assignment.