Customers to benefit from close collaboration with Seco Tools
Fagersta, August 2021 – Through collaborative partnerships with customers and their partners, Seco Tools monitors trends and identifies challenges, developing the knowledge required to overcome the industry’s most demanding issues.
Putting customers at the heart of research and development (R&D) has paid rich dividends for Seco Tools in terms of identifying and developing new products and solutions that can help change the face of manufacturing around the world. “By proactively solving the problems customers have today, we are creating the solutions of the future. We are looking to acquire and develop knowledge and understanding,” says Roger Granström, Senior R&D Manager at Seco Tools.
Granström points to a partnership with a major vehicle manufacturer as evidence that the idea is working. “They had a project that they didn’t really want to talk about or share, a next-generation component platform. We started to look at shared challenges in manufacturing, and during this journey we built a great trust in each other. This has led to top management showing great interest in having us assist them with a large automation project that will transform their manufacturing process, so it has exceeded our expectations,” says Roger Granström.
Such projects require both sensitivity and trust - customers need to be prepared to give Seco Tools insight into practices and processes that may be commercially sensitive in order for engineers and support staff to study them in depth and develop new ideas. “It’s a journey of confidence – Seco Tools is one of many suppliers and we have to show our customers that we are worthy of that trust. We are trying to build bridges between ourselves, the technical universities and our customers, and customers are starting to realize that this is exactly what they need,” says Roger Granström.
The customers Seco Tools work with are those regarded as technological leaders that are driving development in their industries. The initiative works on the principle of dialogue between Seco Tools and the customer. Once an issue of mutual interest is identified, Seco Tools commits resources to assisting the customer in analyzing it and coming up with possible solutions. “The issues raised can be very unique, from customer to customer and from industry to industry, but there are always things that we learn that can be applied elsewhere. We talk a lot about sustainability and energy efficiency, and new demands are being placed on the daily operations of manufacturers all the time,” says Roger Granström. “Knowledge is always useful, regardless of where it comes from. We find that we can always use the learnings from such partnerships and projects as we move our development forward. We’re less interested in the commercial aspect than the knowledge aspect,” he explains.
When it comes to co-operations, Seco Tools works alongside several technical universities in Sweden, as well as top European and American universities. “Building these bridges between ourselves, academia and our customers and industrializing new technology as quickly as possible is the goal,” Roger Granström says. “We are getting closer to our customers, and we want to get even closer still. We work in a very competitive environment and cooperation with them is key.” The close relationships with customers will continue to be a key part of the R&D work of Seco Tools in the future. “At present we are working with four different customers in different industry segments and we are looking at an additional three or four potential future collaborations,” Roger Granström explains. “We’re looking forward to accompanying these customers with our broad expertise and mutual collaboration, and it is in our utmost interest to support them in their transition into the next era of manufacturing.”