An engine for growth
To grow fast, Aurobay depends on consultants, and needs often arise at short notice. The solution from Ework Group meets all requirements and makes the company ready for the future.
The Swedish-Chinese engine manufacturer Aurobay is facing a double challenge. Aurobay is set to grow within an extremely dynamic technology area – engines and drivelines for vehicles, while large parts of its own operations are being transformed. Until summer 2021, Aurobay was a part of Volvo Cars. The company is now standing on its own two feet and has experienced an ambitious growth journey.
In order to succeed Aurobay’s innovative capability is crucial. The demand for electric vehicles is growing rapidly in Europe, the US and on many Asian markets. In countries where there is limited access to green electricity and infrastructure for charging electric vehicles, the demand for combustion engines and hybrids still continues to rise.
Aurobay is investing significant resources in the development of engines for alternative fuels, as well as hybrid solutions where electrical power is included as a component. Last year, Aurobay manufactured around 750,000 units in its factories in Skövde, Sweden, and Zhangjiakou, China. Around 120,000 of these were electric engines.
Like a startup
Although there have been engines manufactured in Skövde since 1907, the business feels like a start-up. That is also the term Henrik Ohlén uses to describe Aurobay. He was previously responsible for the consulting operations at Volvo Cars and is now working at Aurobay’s HR department. Part of his mission is to identify and procure necessary systems for the operations.
“In some respects we are actually a bit like a startup company. Even if the fact that we from the start have 2,000 employees and a commercially robust business doesn’t really match that picture.”
Most of the 2,000 employees work in the engine factory in Skövde, the rest in the office in Gothenburg. Besides the major need for development they have other similarities with many start-ups, namely the requirement for rapid growth. While it previously was sufficient enough to develop and deliver engines to Volvo Cars, they now need to find other customers. Or above all – find new customers, as all Volvo Cars should be fully electric by 2030 according to the owner Geely.
“For our business to be commercially viable, we need to achieve high volumes. Of course that’s not unique to us, but it’s still something that puts different demands on the business compared to previous years, when we were part of Volvo Cars.”
Two demands that Henrik Ohlén and his colleagues identified were speed and high degrees of flexibility. It was self-evident that the business should continue to be partly dependent on white-collar consultants. In view of the new conditions, it was also likely that the proportion of consultants would rise.
“In some respects we are actually a bit like a startup company. Even if the fact that we from the start have 2,000 employees and a commercially robust business doesn’t really match that picture.” Henrik Ohlén, Aurobay.
No in-house consultant management
The company’s relatively modest size also means that management of consultants cannot be taken care of in-house. It would be too cumbersome and also a burden on profitability, explains Henrik Ohlén.
The management decided to outsource everything involving the consultants; from finding and matching consultants to supplying tools for handling them in the operations. Which supplier they would choose for this was far from clear. The one they had previously used did not meet the requirements, and a procurement was initiated.
“When we evaluated the tenders, Ework Group didn’t stand out immediately from the others, but the more we had to do with them, the easier it became to make the choice,” recounts Henrik Ohlén.
The reason Aurobay picked Ework Group had less to do with the good functions and services provided, and actually more to do with commitment and interaction in the collaboration. Focus was the much talked about values that often is missing, like the day-to-day communication and the suppliers willingness to resolve situations.
“That often works in the beginning of a supplier relationship, but Ework has continued in the same way, which is evident through such simple things as their quick response to emails and their availability on the phone.”
Intuitive and quick
Responsiveness is a term that often pops up when he describes the implementing of Verama – Ework Group’s portal for consultant management. Verama can be customized for each client to follow their existing or desired processes, making the tool adapt to the existing work process, instead of having to adapt the work process to the tool.
“That in particular was absolutely necessary for us. We have to be extremely quick to respond and cannot be weighed down by systems that are cumbersome or difficult to learn to use.”
Henrik Ohlén describes Verama as intuitive, and explains that they have chosen to optimise it for speed and flexibility, one of the effects being that they have few approval stages. When a manager identifies a need for a consultant, he or she submits a request in Verama, which is then handled by Ework Group. A short time later, the manager receives a number of suggestions of suitable consultants, and has a personal mandate to choose the one he or she considers most suitable for the assignment.
Once the consultant has onboarded the company, he or she handles its time reporting in Verama. The fact that it all takes place in the same system naturally makes consultant management easier, emphasises Henrik Ohlén.
Meeting a broad need
At the beginning of 2022, the proportion of consultants in the white-collar area at Aurobay was around ten per cent. A fairly normal figure for this kind of company. But as the business grows, so will the proportion of consultants. Partly because of the nature of the assignments. There are often short commitments that require Aurobay to quickly bring in specialist expertise, and then release it just as quickly.
“But there’s a need for consultants in all functions, not just in research and development, but also in areas such as IT, purchasing, finance and management. And by using one single tool, and the same supplier, to find and manage all consultants, we see that we can retain the speed and flexibility that are necessary for us.”
- Business activity: Development, production and sales of drive lines for vehicles. The business was formerly part of Volvo Cars.
- Number of employees: 2,000 (2,900 including the factory in China).
- Number of consultants among white-collar employees: Approx. 10% and increasing.
- Business locations: Skövde (factory, 1,400 employees) and Gothenburg (600 employees). Also factory in Zhangjiakou, China (900 employees).
- Collaboration with Ework Group: Ework Group was chosen primarily because of their high levels of client understanding and flexibility, as well as their powerful supplier management tool, Verama.
Clients, consultants & employees
The collaboration with Aurobay is a little bit broader and a little bit tougher than other collaborations. That’s how Erik Degerman at Ework Group sees it.
Aurobay is a world leader in the field of combustion engines. Consultant Daniel Balke is one of the people who took them there.