From its start in 1968, industry know-how has been a key factor for Sweden-based company group Trans-Auto's success.
“Knowledge is our edge and the key to being successful in a segment like marine driveline applications,” says Lars Håkansson, Marine Business Developer at Trans-Auto, and a sales veteran in the marine segment with more than 35 years of experience.
With Lars approaching retirement, the company started planning for a controlled generational shift. The first opportunity came in 2019 when the sales office in Finland wanted to step up its business and hire a new key account manager.
The next generation
“I saw Lars’s expertise as vital, so I involved him in the recruitment process,” says Petri Henriksson, Managing Director for Trans-Auto in Finland.
Ultimately the choice fell on Dylan Rafferty, a 32-year-old engineer who previously worked as a design and project engineer in a company that specialised in hydraulics. Dylan was highly motivated and eager to learn but lacked the sales experience that the position required. With help of Lars and Petri, he got the dedicated support, knowledge and experience transfer needed to succeed in his new role.
“Lars and I quickly developed a close working relationship where the knowledge transfer took place very naturally,” Dylan recalls. “Lars supported me with his vast technical expertise and long experience of complex projects.”
A typical installation for a shipyard requires a lot of know-how, not only of the individual components in the driveline but also how products such as propulsion control systems, transmissions, gearboxes, waterjets, hybrid systems and bow thrusters should work together.
This is where Trans-Auto’s expertise comes in. “We have an ability to see the big picture, conveying to our customers the ‘feel’ of how the boat will behave with a specific driveline, a specific waterjet and a specific gearbox,” says Dylan.
“We want to be seen as a partner to our customers – an honest and competent partner that keeps its promises,” Lars adds.
Petri is pleased with the outcome of Lars’s and Dylan’s cooperation and the knowledge transfer, which is beginning to show in the order books. “We have managed to keep good relations with our existing customers,” he says, “and are now taking new orders both from existing customers and new ones. We also have a good dialogue with our suppliers, thanks to Dylan and Lars.
”Early on in his role as key account manager at Trans-Auto, Dylan was also accepted into Axel Johnson International’s Talent Acceleration Programme, which boosted his confidence even further. “The leadership and project management trainings have developed my ability to deal with everything from suppliers to the people I work with, as well as how to solve problems,” he says.
Trans-Auto AB, part of Driveline Solutions business group, started in 1968 as a family-run business. The head office in Sweden works closely together with its subsidiary in Finland both in business and with knowledge sharing.