“We are in a people business, which means we are putting people first, including customers, at the heart of our business,” said Peden.
Upclose with Mitch Peden
Mitch Peden, the new President of Volvo Trucks Malaysia, had been in Malaysia for 11 months when this exclusive interview was carried out during the Malaysia Commercial Vehicle Expo (MCVE) 2019.
Hailing from Australia, Peden brings with him more than 20 years of experience in the automotive industry, 14 years of which were with Volvo. He started his career at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. In 1994, he joined General Motors. Since then Peden has worked in a number of automotive companies before joining Volvo Trucks in 2005. Prior to his posting in Malaysia, he was the Vice President of Sales for Volvo Trucks Australia and Oceania.
“We are a strong brand and have great business partners in Malaysia, who continue to stay with us over the years going through the ups and downs. This year we celebrate our 50 years in Malaysia and I am proud to be part of the celebration. Over the years, we have expanded our footprint through launching models, opening dealerships across Malaysia, gaining new customers as well as introducing many key aftermarket services and activities to meet the needs of our growing customer base.”
Milestones and Achievements
Among some significant milestones that he highlighted were the assembly of the N Series trucks and equipping of 3-point safety belts in all units during the 1970s; the introduction of the Euro 1 in the FL10 model, which made Volvo the first truck brand to introduce airbags, and the 6×2 tag axle in the 1980s.
In the early 2000s, he said Volvo Trucks Malaysia brought the FM9 and FM12 models to Malaysia and launched its Customer Care Centre to provide 24/7 breakdown service support. “We also take pride in delivering Volvo FMX 8×6 trucks to the Malaysian Army in 2018; these trucks took us 2 years to plan and custom make to meet the highly specific requirements of the military heavy recovery vehicles.”
Another achievement, he said, was employee retention. The average employee tenure is about 10 years. He believes that the employees are the company’s greatest assets and they are its competitive advantage.
“I am excited to take the company forward, building on the strong foundation laid by my predecessor and fellow colleagues. Truck business is a people business and we are in a people business, which means we are putting people, including customers, at the heart of our business. Thus, my focus is to continue introducing new technology and innovation as well as better quality, and customer-centric products and services for our customers here.”
Peden has no plans to expand the company’s dealer network as the dealerships are pretty well placed since the last expansion project 4 years ago. The challenge, he pointed out, was to grow with the existing network by equipping the dealers with technical support and parts supply to help get their customers’ trucks back on the road as quickly as possible.
“With the official launch of the Uptime Promise, a newly added service to the Gold Service Agreement, in the MCVE, Volvo Trucks Malaysia promises to deliver maximum uptime to its customers’ businesses. For customers who subscribed to the Volvo Trucks Gold Service Agreement, the company would offer them monetary compensation if they have a truck on a breakdown time that exceeds 12 hours that Volvo Trucks has committed.”
In products, Peden said that one of Volvo’s most significant milestones was the launch of the premium flagship Volvo FH Series – FH13 and FH16 – in 2017 that featured three revolutionary technologies, which were the I-Shift with ultra-low crawler gears, Volvo Dynamic Steering and I-Park Cool.
Peden stressed that with Volvo continuously striving for outstanding product quality, the next truck must be better than the previous one. In providing the customer-centric programme such as the addition of the Uptime Promise to its existing Gold Service Agreement, he said the company ensured the best returns on a customer’s investment.
“Driver shortage is a global issue. Good trucks with advanced technology and safety features would help you to attract good drivers and retain them. Safety has been a core value of Volvo Trucks since its establishment, but without proper knowledge and training, a driver might not fully make use of the safety features such as Lane Change Support, Driver Alert Support, Adaptive Cruise Control and many more in their trucks. Thus, we have driver training programmes to enhance their product knowledge and skills, helping them to familiarise with their trucks and deal with an emergency situation.”
In addition, he continued, Volvo Fuelwatch Challenge was Volvo’s annual competition that aimed to promote safe driving and fuel saving skills among truck and bus drivers around the world. The drivers were tested on fuel efficiency, overall driving skills, performance and driving behaviour. Held globally, and in Malaysia since 2010, the finalist would represent his respective country in the world finals in Gothenburg, Sweden.
“Safety is deeply imprinted in Volvo Trucks’ DNA. We have a clear safety vision that no Volvo truck should be involved in a traffic accident. This is why, in addition to developing many innovative safety features for our products, we also work on other aspects of safety. Instead of waiting for the government’s safety policy, we take a proactive role. We strive for worldwide traffic safety through our global safety campaign such as ‘See And Be Seen’ and ‘Stop Look Wave’. The former initiative features activities that demonstrate how to improve safety in the interaction between cyclists and truck drivers, while the latter is designed to teach children around the world about the danger they face in traffic every day.”
‘Stop, Look Wave’ was introduced by the company in Malaysia in 2015 and ‘See And Be Seen’ in 2017. For the ‘Stop, Look Wave’ programme, Volvo Trucks partnered Kidzania in the initiative called KidzaniaGo. Over the past 2 years, the KidzaniaGo programme saw visits to 315 schools/events and reached 52,861 school kids and the public. The ‘See And Be Seen’ initiative was introduced in December 2017 to 800 scouts nationwide in the Hin Hua High School. This programme reached more than 1,300 people who participated in the events.
Volvo Trucks Malaysia sold 450 heavy duty trucks in Malaysia in 2018, an 18-per cent increase compared to 380 units the previous year. Of the 450 trucks sold, 266 units were the Volvo FM, 138 units the Volvo FMX, and 46 units were the flagship Volvo FH, which comprised two variants, the FH13 and FH16.
Peden expressed that the company was very satisfied with the sales performance and believed that the Volvo FH had pushed the limits on what a premium truck could offer. He revealed that the growth segment was the transportation of chemical products and extremely heavy machinery sector.
“Being equipped with the I-Shift with ultra-low crawler gears makes the Volvo FH ideal for transporting the most demanding loads and in operations that demand real power. They could offer excellent manoeuvrability and extreme stability on difficult terrain,” he stressed.
In today’s ever-changing trucking industry environment, Peden emphasised the importance of listening and understanding the needs and requirements of customers.
“We have to adapt to their business changes and priorities, and stay at the forefront of technology and trends. Knowing that electromobilty won’t happen in the near future in Malaysia, Volvo Trucks hosted the ‘Road to Electromobility for Malaysian Transportation industry’ panel discussion at the MCVE, as we saw the opportunity and wanted to start the conversation right now. This allowed us to have a proper conversation and find our first business partner who would like to work with us.”
马来西亚沃尔沃卡车总裁佩登（Mitch Peden）在2019年马来西亚商用车展（MCVE 2019 ）接受本刊专访时，他已经在马来西亚任职11个月。
他指出几个重要的里程碑，包括N系列卡车的组装和在1970年代在所有的沃尔沃卡车上安装三点安全带、推出符合欧1标准的FL10车款，使沃尔沃卡车成为第一个推介安全气囊的品牌，以及在1980年代推出6X2 标签轴（tag axle）。
2000年代初期，他说马来西亚沃尔沃卡车将FM9和FM12车型引进马来西亚，并设立了客户关怀中心提供24/7故障支援服务。“2018年，我们将沃尔沃FMX 8X6 卡车交付给马来西亚军队。我们用了两年的时间来筹划和打造这些卡车，以符合军用重型救险车的高规格要求。”
“我很高兴能够在前任领导人和同事们所奠定的坚实基础上，带领公司前进。 卡车业务是和人打交道的生意，而我们从事的正是与人打交道的生意，也就是说，人，包括客户就是我们业务的核心。因此，为这里的客户继续引进新技术和创新 ，以及品质更好，以客户为导向的产品和服务，便是我的工作重点。”
佩登说在产品方面， 沃尔沃卡车的最大里程碑是在2017年推出优质旗舰沃尔沃FH系列–FH13 和FH16 。这两款车型采用三项革新技术—配备超低爬行档的I-Shift、沃尔沃动态转向系统及I Park 冷却系统。
此外，他继续说，沃尔沃节油挑战赛（Volvo Fuelwatch Challenge）是沃尔沃一年一度的竞赛，旨在推广全球卡车和巴士司机的安全驾驶和节油技巧。该挑战将考验司机的省油、整体驾驶技巧和表现，以及驾驶行为。马来西亚是在2010年开始参与这个全球大赛，各国的决赛优胜者将代表自己的国家参加瑞典哥德堡全球决赛。
“安全就在沃尔沃卡车的DNA里。我们有一个明确的愿景，没有一辆沃尔沃卡车应该发生交通事故。这正是我们在研发许多创新产品的安全功能外，也着手于其他安全面的原因。与其等待政府的安全政策，我们总是积极主动。我们通过我们的全球安全运动如‘注意观察，保持醒目’ （See And Be Seen）和 ‘停下来，看一看，挥挥手’（Stop，Look， Wave），为世界的交通安全而努力。第一个安全运动是改善自行车骑行者与卡车司机会车时的安全性，后者旨在帮助全世界的孩子了解到他们每天所面对的交通危险。”
该公司在2015年于马来西亚推行 ‘停下来，看一看，挥挥手’运动，接着在2017年推行‘注意观察，保持醒目’。沃尔沃卡车与Kidzania合作，在KidzaniaGo推行‘停下来，看一看，挥挥手’安全运动。过去的两年里，KidzaniaGo 探访了315家学校/活动，接触了52，861学童和民众。2017年12 月，该公司在巴生兴华中学把‘注意观察，保持醒目’倡议介绍给来自马来西亚各地的800名童军。接触这个计划的与会者超过1，300 人。
马来西亚沃尔沃卡车的2018年重型卡车销售量达 450辆，相较于去年的380辆。在这450辆卡车中，沃尔沃FM占266辆，沃尔沃FMX 138辆，以及沃尔沃旗舰FH 系列（包含FH13和FH16）的46辆 。