Widriksson Logistik is one of the latest acquisitions to the Tempcon Group and is one of Sweden’s leading players in terms of last mile logistics. The company is now continuing its growth journey by joining Mikael Karlborg Hedrén as its new transport manager. A key role within the company. We have met Mikael to hear how he sees his new role and the future of the industry.
How did you end up in the transport industry?
I grew up in Linköping and came to Stockholm to study at the Academy of Music. Ever since I was little I had had a dream of driving a bus. So I did it during my study time on weekends and summer holidays. When I finished my studies, I was offered a job at the company where I drove the bus, it is called Keolis today. I enjoyed it fantastically well there and have been able to take part in an incredibly exciting journey. I worked in different roles there, but since 2011 I have had the role of depot manager for various facilities. What I learned over the years at Keolis is the complexity behind what customers see. Such as scheduling and timetables, to have a heterogeneous staff group that barely meets to start from company values and create a sense of belonging, to keep track of vehicles and so on.
What made you interested in the role of transport manager at Widriksson’s?
I heard about the role last summer and felt that this is something for me. On the one hand, it reminded me in some parts of what I did at Keolis, at the same time as there were some new challenges. The most important thing for me was that I felt that here I could contribute my knowledge and my skills. When I then got to know more about the company during the recruitment process, it felt completely right. Widriksson is a company with order and clear structures so the combination of the fact that I recognized myself and the good impression I got of the company meant that I never hesitated when I received the offer of the service. What I especially stuck with at Widriksson was their far-reaching work on sustainability issues and that they work with these issues from a broad perspective. We have been fossil-free since 2017, it is a matter of course that we have a collective agreement and we are an inclusive company where the social aspects are important while we develop the company with good profitability.
After your first time here at the company, what is your impression?
The expectations I had of Widriksson’s when I started, they have really lived up to. I have been met with a lot of warmth, energy and see a great commitment from the staff. I experience a genuine desire to find the best solutions in all situations. When, for example, a lunch bag is delivered by a nice Widriksson driver, that is what the customer sees. Now that I have an insight into the complexity behind it, it is something that makes me humble. Amount of goods, flows, which vehicles are to be used and which drivers in which contexts. There are a large number of parameters to be handled and it goes fast. Foresight for us in this work is perhaps at best about a week ahead. That is why we are a fast-paced and solution-focused organization that is close to decision-making. It’s simply super fun to go to work.
What do you see as challenges and opportunities in your role as transport manager and for Widriksson in general?
There are great opportunities in the new role as transport manager. Previously, they had an operations manager, but as the company has grown, they have now chosen to divide that role into two, a logistics manager and a transport manager. In my role, I am responsible for all transports and the staff who work with it. To help me, I have some team leaders and an HR manager. When you grow as we have done, the big challenge is to ensure compliance with routines, that we have a good customer service at all levels and that everyone involved understands the scope of the various assignments. We must therefore have a strong focus on following routines and structures and becoming good habits. The challenge in the operational organization is to wear and keep the habits alive. A great opportunity for me is to continue working with close leadership, which I have always done. To create a we-feeling and do things together, to be in place in the business and have your ear to the ground. It is also important that we follow up and handle the deviations we receive. That you dare to see it and handle it so it becomes action. We must deal with the negative and reinforce the positive. An important part of this is Widriksson’s values on which we base all work.
Widriksson is today part of the Tempcon Group. What benefits do you see with it?
I see great advantages in the fact that we are now part of a larger whole where we can use the sister companies’ skills and they can use us based on our skills. That you find synergy effects between the companies. I see the exchange of skills as a very important part, but I also see many positive benefits linked to resource utilization, such as terminal space. In the changing world we also operate in, it is a security to be part of a larger context.
If we then finally think a little about the future, where are Tempcon and Widriksson’s in five years?
One of the reasons why I chose to apply for this industry and Widriksson’s is that I see this as a future industry. Last mile transports have grown enormously now during the pandemic and I am convinced that there will be an increase that will continue. People have acquired other routines and habits during the pandemic. Both Widriksson’s and Tempcon will have taken further steps forward in their development journey where the differences between the companies create fantastic opportunities where we can be involved in more steps during the transport chain. We will continue to grow and I can very well imagine that Widriksson’s has established itself in more cities within five years together with its sister companies. We will also continue to be at the forefront of our sustainability work and work with it from the broad perspective we do today with a focus on the environment, economy and social issues. We notice that this is crucial for many customers already today when they choose to work with us and that issue will become more and more important every year.