Our first visit in Gothenberg was at Volvo which in Latin roots means “to roll.” The factory tour consisted of a blue train taking us through one of the cleanest, most efficient body shops, press shop, paint shop, and quality control. This factory only makes to order their vehicles meaning everything has already been purchased by a buyer or dealer. The most unique aspect of our tour was the partnership between skilled workers and robots that put together nearly every aspect of the cars using unique codes. Other effective mechanisms include automated guided vehicles, ID cards, and special wavelength lighting to detect defects.

The most Scandinavian element of Volvo’s business is their environmental efforts, using 85% waste heat and 15% natural gas as well as their fundamental transformation drivers. Volvo aims to improve connectivity digitization, shared mobility, electrification, and autonomous driving. Disruption is an important aspect of their company from autonomous driving to electrification. Volvo Cars announced that every model from 2019 onwards would have an electric motor, making it the first traditional carmaker to call time on vehicles powered solely by an internal combustion engine. Their design is based around their customers with intuitive transformation, safety and environmental practices, and uniquely clean and smooth Scandinavian design. Above all, Volvo has a higher purpose with a vision statement that by 2020, no one should be seriously injured or killed in an automobile accident.

SAAB prepared a talk on Thinking Edge in Defence and Security and covered their business areas in aeronautics, dynamics, industrial products and services, kockums, support and services, and surveillance. As a private company mandated by the government in 1037 to develop and produce fighter aircrafts. They must do as much as they can with a limited amount of money for such as small country of only 10 million. SAAB’s innovative approach allows them to achieve performance and cost advantages in taking the best ideas from commercial industries and using the same technology in many applications. SAAB represents some of the best of Scandinavian quality with 60 years of experience and close cooperation with customers, world class know-how, and cutting edge portfolio.

On our last day in Gothenburg, we had the decision to either enjoy exploring the city or squeeze in one more quick visit to the digital marketing company, Zooma. Although I didn’t notice any real cultural differences in this meeting, the ideas of current digital marketing trends were challenged, and I believe this different view is due to the location of the agency. Anders, the owner, spoke about how trends, such as augmented reality and chat bots aren’t the real digital marketing trends. At the end of the day, the latest trends all have to deal with new ways to provide customer satisfaction. He believes that businesses are overcomplicating what they need to do to communicate and interact with customers. His business is streamlining the way they approach marketing. For example, Zooma does not pitch. If a business is interested, Zooma tells them what services they offer and what they charge. Anders believes that they shouldn’t offer their knowledge for free. Again, I believe his model of business is a by product of their location. Gothenburg is a small city in a somewhat small country. Zooma is in an extremely competitive market. As we’ve learned in other business meetings, Swedes keep things simple, which I think we see in Zooma’s streamlined model and Ander’s theory of business. By not pitching, Zooma does not share their knowledge, which keeps them at the top of the competitive market. Although I did not see the cultural differences, it is clear to see how the region has affected the business.