Strengthening Business at Saab India Technology Center

Four years ago Saab started a technology center collaboration with Tech Mahindra. The purpose of the Saab India Technology Center (SITC) is to provide research and development services for the business areas of Saab.

SITC enables Saab to utilize the huge base of skilled engineers, within a large number of competence areas, that are available in India. This provides a number of opportunities. Availability of a large pool of skilled engineers strengthens Saab’s development projects. Furthermore, working with Saab products will give valuable product knowledge that can be utilized when Saab products needs to be adapted for India, combining product knowledge with knowledge of specific Indian conditions. The cost efficiency, provided by the center, also increases the competitiveness of Saab products.

The center is situated in Hyderabad, where more than 100 engineers provide research and development services to various Saab departments. In addition there are also 40 engineers who deliver IT services to Saab IT department from the center. The services provided are within areas of mechanical design, stress calculation, software design and verification, production engineering and technical publications. Since its commencement in March 2012 more than 400,000 hours of development work has been delivered.

Four years of operation have resulted in a number of valuable experiences and learnings. One of the main learnings is that the way of working together and relationship building is a major success factor in this kind of collaboration. Saab products are complex and to be able to work with them procedures have been developed to transfer knowledge, to work in a manner that is geographically distributed and to manage huge amount of data and information involved in a structured and systematic way, while keeping track of the progress.

A lot of effort has been spent on both establishing an integrated development environment that meets the strict security norms of a defense industry, as well as developing a way of working for the actual engineering work. Two main ways of working have been developed – the Combined Teams and the Factory.

In the Combined Team setup Saab and SITC engineers work together, utilizing advanced and modern tools of communication and in an integrated development environment. The core of this way of working is that one engineer is working with another engineer regardless of the geographic location. This approach has proved to be an excellent way of knowledge transfer as well as a means to deal with cultural challenges. The Combined Team setup is suitable both for development and maintenance work.

In the Factory setup approach large work packages, for example within stress calculation or software verification, are performed in a very efficient way both from a time schedule and cost efficiency perspective. The Factory is autonomous and needs very little support; it’s a suitable way of working when you have a clear input and an output. After the first output has been verified from a quality point of view you will receive the same quality level through a well-defined processes. Tech Mahindra’s large pool of skilled resources enables a scalability and flexibility to manage ramp ups and ramp downs over time which is very hard to achieve in Sweden.

SITC has now reached a level of maturity. The focus will now be to make use of experiences and learnings in order to take the next step to further strengthen Saab’s business.