The future is ours for the taking
Being part of a global company like Wärtsilä helped Björn Lindell see the world, and conversely, helped bring the world to him. He tells us why he thinks the future of the marine and energy sectors is ripe for growth.
When asked to pick a role which best reflects his time within Wärtsilä, Björn Lindell chooses ‘Ambassador – spreading the good word about the company’. And like any ambassador, he has seen a lot of the world.
“During my 26 years at Wärtsilä I have always been in working with the services business” says Björn. “Of the 26 years I have spent at Wärtsilä, I have been working in Asia for 19 years: 13 years in Japan and 6 years in Indonesia.”
Working closely together in cross-functional and cross-business teams has always been Björn’s aim, and that duality helped him acclimatize and work in multiple geographies, while always being mindful of local customs and work cultures.
“Working with lifecycle and service matters, I found that my tasks and objectives for Japan and Indonesia were the same,” he explains. “However, and as can be expected, the way of approaching things was completely different in both countries, which was an enlightening experience.”
After a long stint in Asia, Björn is now back in his native country of Finland and is based in the northern city of Vaasa.
“At the moment I’m heading Wärtsilä’s Turbocharger Services as a General Manager,” he says. “A big part of my job is to align with the global organisation and make sure that we have trained resources and tools available in the workshops where we decide to provide turbocharger services. I’m also very much involved in commercial issues with our turbocharger suppliers, and in this respect, my role as ‘ambassador’ comes to the fore.”
Keeping calm and thinking clearly
Björn has seen many changes in the industry and in Wärtsilä since he joined the company in the early 1990s, and he gives one example of how things have improved for the better.
“During my young days as a Field Service Engineer, I often travelled alone. These were the days before mobile phones and emails,” he explains. “Usually there was a problem somewhere which would require us to travel to fix it, but often we didn’t know what the problem or solution was until we came to the customer’s site or on-board the ship. Of course, the customer expected that you would know what the problem was and that you will solve it immediately, which was not always the case.”
Björn says it can be unnerving to face such scenarios, alone and with no resources available, while an impatient customer rightfully waits for a solution. While digitalisation has today brought all the resources of a company like Wärtsilä into the palm of your hand, his advice for young engineers facing such a situation is to be positive.
“Always remember to stay calm; otherwise you can’t think clearly,” he says. “Being there alone and with no chance to call anybody for help, you get the opportunity to think outside the box. It forces you to come up with a solution.”
When size, scale and expertise matters
Wärtsilä’s global reach, depth of experience and broad know-how have helped Björn in a number of cases.
“To get a deal in our business, it is often about price. In one particular negotiation of an Operations and Maintenance agreement, our competitor was always matching our prices,” he explains. “What happened, in the end, was that we changed the scope and offered something that our competitor couldn’t offer, and we won the deal. This is a clear benefit of being part of a complete lifecycle solutions provider, like Wärtsilä, and having the possibility to always give customers an ever-larger set of services.”
Additionally, being part of a company with operations around the world is a clear benefit.
“What I enjoy most about working with Wärtsilä is the global footprint and all the people that it brings in,” he says. “Our customers know and trust that we will offer the best tools and services, while we, as employees, know that we will be working with colleagues whose interests and drive match ours.”
Learning to see and seize opportunities
You can’t have a career spanning three decades without being an expert at serving the needs of the customer. According to Björn, winning Wärtsilä’s internal Customer Care Award in 2018 counts among his most memorable moments in the company.
“This is memorable because I was part of a great team involving people from different parts of the organisation. We gave our all at work for close to two years and the fact that we won the award is a recognition of this,” he says.
Björn operates on the motto of working and playing hard. Therefore, for the past year and a half, Björn has spent his free time renovating his house.
“Renovating makes you think about other things than just work, which I think is important to be effective and creative in your job,” he says.
Björn is confident that the future of Wärtsilä is bright, a prediction he bases on the company’s focus and its ability to innovate.
“I think Wärtsilä has always been a frontrunner in our core businesses, Marine and Energy, where we have an extensive lifecycle approach to offer,” he explains. “Moving forward, we will have more integrated solutions for customers in both sectors. The challenge of the engineer is to stay on top of all the developments, but if you can see and grab the opportunities, the future is yours for the taking.”