Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, Swedish Ambassador to the United States Karin Olofsdotter and Volvo Group President and CEO Martin Lundstedt recently visited the Volvo Group North America’s powertrain facility in Hagerstown, Md., for a dialogue session with employees.
The group, which Volvo says traveled to promote workforce development and the enhanced skills needed to be successful in today’s manufacturing environments, visited the Hagerstown plant to see proactive ways Volvo Group North America leadership is developing employees.
Löfven spoke to more than 100 employees in the plant’s Operational Excellence Hall about his optimism for the future of manufacturing.
“Some people say, ‘Manufacturing is on its way somewhere else. We cannot produce goods cheaply enough in the Western world.’ That is not true. Because we can,” Löfven says. “Production is about raising knowledge. And the more knowledge we put into the products, the stronger also the workers, the employees, will become.”
“We are proud to host the Swedish Prime Minister and the Swedish Ambassador to the United States during this visit and show them precisely how the Volvo Group’s investments in North America are helping to build a stronger and more adaptable workforce,” adds Pierre Jenny, vice president of powertrain production at the Hagerstown facility. “Producing advanced technologies in our trucks and developing them in our production facilities demand employees who are skilled, nimble and qualified, so workforce development is extremely important to our business. We work hand in hand with union representatives to prepare for the future in a trustful way.”
During a plant tour led by Jenny and Dave Dopp, president of UAW Local 171, Löfven spoke individually with employees, who shared Hagerstown’s development strategies, including an apprenticeship program that develops vital skills in-house and implementing creative process improvement suggestions from employees on the line. He also took the opportunity to drive a Mack Anthem, Mack Trucks’ newest highway truck model.