Malmslätt, Östersund, Kenya, Nairobi, Somalia, and Mogadishu – these are places that you would not normally think have much in common with each other, yet they are all connected to Saab. How, you may think? They are all part of a transition project that I had the opportunity to participate in during my rotation with one of Saab’s business areas, Support & Services (S&S). In this post, I would like to tell you more about this unusual project and the interesting experiences I had along the way and hopefully I have broaden your view of Saab a little. But first, let me give you a short background.
The United Nations has a camp adjacent to the airport in Mogadishu, Somalia, where it has its base and operations. Within this camp, Saab has its own smaller camp which provides different services such as accommodation, logistics support, vehicle rentals and maintenance to a number of governmental organisations associated with the UN peacekeeping mission. Business support to these operations are provided by Saab Kenya Ltd, which is a legal entity in Nairobi. The camp is managed by the Tactical Solutions business unit within Support & Services in Östersund.
Due to practical and economic reasons, a decision was made in October 2016 to transfer the administration and management functions in Östersund to Saab Kenya Ltd during a 3.5 year period. I was called up by my prospective supervisor and was asked if I was interested in helping out with this transition project which I definitely was. I joined the project team in the beginning of November for a 10 week assignment as part of the Saab graduate program. My job was to help out in setting a budget, analyse cash flow and analyse how the transition would affect the Kenyan office, such as what new duties and responsibilities they could expect during the first year.
Members of the transition team are widely spread between different locations and due to this, I had the pleasure of visiting several Saab sites over the short period of 10 weeks. Östersund and Malmslätt were among the first sites I visited, since they are placed where the Tactical Solutions unit is mainly located.
As the transition effort progressed, I eventually found myself with the transition team in Nairobi. Although it was only a five day trip, it was really memorable. I felt a mix of uncertainty and excitement since, first of all, it was my first business trip abroad and secondly, my first visit to Africa.
On our way to work
You can say that there were “some” differences from working in Sweden. For security reasons, my colleague and I were picked up every morning by a Saab driver at our hotel, which was located inside a gated community (Nairobi is not called Nairobbery for nothing). We then drove out on the chaotic, half-asphalt and half-clay roads. This was only a 5 km drive but, due to traffic, sometimes took us almost an hour. Along the road, the locals sold everything from furniture to fruit and flowers which created a really lively atmosphere. I also noticed an odd contrast of luxury villas surrounded by walls and fences next to huts and dilapidated houses. What was really interesting was that all of these cultural and social differences seemed to just disappear as soon as we stepped into our Nairobi office. Once you entered it was like being in any other Saab office. Our staff at the office are mainly locals and they were all really, really great.
During this 10 week assignment, I also had the opportunity to attend a meeting with the Swedish ambassador in Somalia. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the possibility of him and his staff to stay at the Saab-provided accommodation when visiting Mogadishu.
The conclusion of this post and what I really want to highlight is that in Saab (and especially within the graduate program), you are given the opportunity to visit Saab offices all over the world and see our different operations. If you are lucky, you might even get to visit unique and exotic countries like Kenya. I would love to come back and experience more of this beautiful and interesting country!
Beautiful morning view from the hotel.
Picture of the camp in Mogadishu.