Companies learn about AI transformations in research projects

The reserach project PropAIr at Jönköping University.

Researchers and company representatives within the research project PropAIr during the latest workshop at Science Park Towers in Jönköping. Project manager for PropAIr is Annika Engström (to the left).

Husqvarna Group, Combitech Sweden, Fagerhults Belysning AB, Siemens Energy and Bufab are learning more about AI transformation through the research project PropAIr at the School of Engineering in Jönköping (JTH) and Jönköping International Business School (JIBS) at Jönköping University (JU).

The research project PropAIr at Jönköping University.

Helena Häger, Business Controller at Bufab, and Ronny Norberg, Head of Business Excellence at Siemens Energy, are two of the company representatives within PropAIr.

Within the framework of PropAIr, researchers at JTH and JIBS look at how AI is integrated into operations at manufacturing companies. The goal is to identify forms for how tasks, roles and responsibilities can be created in AI-integrated work processes.

“A combination of good leadership and cross-functional collaboration is crucial to take full advantage of AI's potential, which can be easier said than done. In PropAIr, companies and researchers get the chance to follow this work while it is happening, try working methods and learn from each other's experiences and knowledge,” says Anette Johansson, university lecturer at JTH and researcher within PropAIr.

Need to understand AI’s capabilities

Among other things, it has emerged that questions about management and control are very central to the implementation of AI technology. It requires collaboration across traditional functional boundaries, where different functions within the organization must work together in sometimes unusual and therefore difficult ways. This, in turn, places high demands on change management and that those at a management level have, at least, a basic technical understanding of AI's possibilities.

Discusses corporate AI initiatives

Every four months, the participants within PropAIr meet for a working lunch workshop, which most recently took place at Science Park Towers in Jönköping.

“The purpose of the meetings is to discuss and reflect on how companies' AI initiatives are progressing with a focus on how to lead and organize for AI transformation,” says Anette Johansson.

The companies then present work they have done based on information about AI transformation. Helena Häger, Business Controller at Bufab, and Ronny Norberg, Head of Business Excellence at Siemens Energy, think they have a great benefit from PropAIr.

"They challenge us in a good way"

“We get the university's perspective on our daily operations and the things we take for granted. They challenge and question us in a good way, such as how we as a smaller company can create competence for AI transformation without building an AI lab with 20 experts. We have realized that we should use the AI technology that is built into the systems we already have and that this knowledge should benefit our employees. This can happen through, for example, courses, but also through networking in projects like this,” says Helena Häger.

"Confirmation that we are on the right track"

Ronny Norberg says that he was curious about how, through PropAIr, Siemens Energy could apply AI and machine learning in their operations, and he thinks that the project has given them tools to work with further.

“I am satisfied that we have received a clarification of our thoughts and ideas about AI transformation from both the academics and the other companies in the project. It gave confirmation that we are on the right track and that we are facing roughly the same problems,” says Ronny Norberg.

"Incredibly valuable to us"

Like Helena Häger, he sees great gains in meeting the other companies in the project.

“It’s very useful to hear about the other companies' challenges, what works well and less well for them and what we can learn from that. Several of the companies in the project are also our customers and it is extremely valuable for us to be able to follow their technical development and hear how we can adapt to them,” says Helena Häger.

PropAIr project will last until the beginning of 2025. The project manager is Annika Engström, Associate Profesor in Work Organization at JTH.

Read more about PropAIr here Opens in new window.

The research project PropAIr vid Jönköping University.

Here employees from Bufab give their presentation.