Through training, she helps customers succeed
For Caroline Carlstedt, Alfa Laval and education are matters of the heart. An engineer’s daughter, she grew up with Alfa Laval in the family. Now she works with Alfa Laval’s extended family, helping customers improve their operations through top-quality training programmes.DATE 2023-11-27
"You could say that my whole life has revolved around Alfa Laval," says Caroline Carlstedt, only slightly exaggerating. Caroline has lived in Tumba, Sweden since the age of three, when her father took a job at the Alfa Laval headquarters. "My father is one of the real separator experts and still works for Alfa Laval on a consultant basis, even though he's over 70," she says.
Having spent her life close to Alfa Laval, Caroline herself is now deeply involved in the company. She began working for the human resources department over 30 years ago, and in 2005 she took the job of Training Manager in Alfa Laval's newly integrated service organization. "I think I've always been very interested in education, especially anytime it deals with building relationships between people," she says.
Vital support in changing times
Caroline has worked steadily to build Alfa Laval's training programmes, which she sees as yet another way to improve customers' experience with Alfa Laval products. "When customers handle our equipment in an optimal way, it reduces downtime and minimizes maintenance," she explains. "We support them in getting the most out of their processes, which saves them both time and money."
Over time, says Caroline, the need for training has grown. "Our customers are experiencing high personnel turnover, so they need training more often," she says. "And well-trained personnel are more motivated to do a good job."
Complexity, she says, is also behind the trend. Today's technology comprises control systems, automation and more, and there are issues that reach beyond the technology itself. "Customers are dealing a lot more with environmental regulations and other new legal requirements," Caroline explains. "Those weren't a factor before, but now they're a big part of our Fuel Management Course, for example."
Open to ideas – and open to all customers
Although Caroline and her team develop courses centrally, especially when it comes to new product courses, many course ideas come from Alfa Laval sales companies or from customers directly. "Our sales companies are always asking about customers' course wishes, and customers themselves can write to us with their training needs on alfalaval.com," she says.
New requests for tailor-made courses come in every week. But Caroline is equally enthused about Alfa Laval's new open courses, the first of which took place in February. "Many customers have two or three people who'd like to do a course, but a tailored course for so few isn't economical," she says. "Now we can get all of these people into a course at the same time, which makes sense when most customers are dealing with similar equipment setups on board."
Focused on the practical
In Caroline's opinion, the popularity of Alfa Laval courses, whether tailored or open, has a lot to do with their hands-on nature. "Trainings are often just theory in a classroom, but at our training centre here in Tumba we try do things in a better way," she says. "I always have in mind that it needs to be practical. Participants need to work with the equipment, to see how it's connected to surrounding equipment, and to feel they can apply what they've learned just as soon as they get back to their jobs."
And of course, it comes down to the talents of the trainers, which Caroline has a key role in developing. "Our experts love their products and many could talk for weeks about them," she says. "But they have to do it in a way course participants can understand! We find those who are really motivated, we train them in how to train others, and we support tehm with top-notch standardized course materials. "
Praise for a job well done
The results of Caroline's efforts – and those of her training team – are self-evident. "Our courses get very high marks, and word usually spreads from mouth to mouth," she says. "We want our courses to be full, and it's really fun to be able to offer such a good product."
So what would her father say about the job she's doing?
"He thinks it's so much fun that I'm part of Alfa Laval, and I think he's very proud," Caroline says, laughing. "Our family dinners often turn into conversations about our fantastic products. He loves separators and Alfa Laval, and I do too!"
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