Development Engineer at AKKA Switzerland
Could you please introduce yourself and describe your role at AKKA?
My name is Johannes, and I have been at AKKA now for nearly ten years. I studied Mechanical engineering at Imperial College in London before working on performance engine design previously to my career at AKKA. I am currently working as a consultant development engineer, which means that I help our clients in all parts of their product or tool development. While my background is combustion engines, I have worked with CAD tool development, concept development and railway systems while at AKKA.
What’s the greatest challenge you’ve overcome in your professional/academic career?
In engineering, there are only two kinds of challenges: the impossible and the routine. Once you have the right answer to the challenge, then it only remains to apply for the work. There is one challenge, however, that never becomes routine: balancing the hard facts – what you learn at university and what you find in a data book – with the human side: the customers’ organization and its people. Coordination of the different ideas, capacities and interests – especially in a multi-cultural environment – is an ever ongoing challenge that provides a great reward, when you see the ideas that you helped grow turn into a concept and then, finally, a product, into which the entire team has contributed together, where you have helped each other reach the best potential.
What kind of value do you think AKKA Switzerland can bring to our customers?
AKKA, being international, with multiple centers of expertise, has two clear strengths: one is that we have a great range of knowledge and capacity within the company and our partners to answer the technical requirements of our customers. And, tying into the answer to the previous question: because we are international and intercultural, we can work together with our clients in a way that we foster mutual understanding, so we can get the knowledge and the capabilities we have to where our customers need them in ways that our work brings its full value to bear. In short: we can get the best practices from each industry and combine them to help each individual client for any type of need.
You have had experience in the automotive and railway industries. How do you see these two sectors evolving in the future?
Huge developments are coming to both sectors, both technological and organizational. The drive to increase sustainability will challenge the automotive industry to develop products for a changing market with new energy solutions while the market is no longer expanding due to Transport As A Service reducing urban demand for privately owned vehicles. The same drive will increase the demand for rail and rail infrastructure, both for goods and passenger service. This will mean that there is a ramp-up in the railway sector while there is a restructuring of the automotive sector. One of the interesting opportunities here is to bring the practices and experiences of the cost-driven high-volume automotive sector to the railway sector, where, due to the ramp up in demand, development and production practices need to evolve.