Meet our Director of Quality: “DEFA sets the bar very high.”

Meet Tobias Johansson, Director of Management Systems & Compliance, who talks about DEFA's view on quality and safety.

– It’s important to never compromise on quality, and we always want to exceed the customer’s expectations. This is where, among other things, third-party certification comes into the picture, says Tobias Johansson, Director of Management Systems & Compliance at DEFA.
He lives and breathes quality – an area DEFA has valued highly for more than 75 years.

What is the quality of DEFA’s products like?
– Incredibly high. Especially considering the strict processes, we must ensure the function and safety of the products. We always start with a virtual product review, which means thorough simulations and calculations. Based on the virtual phase, a prototype is developed and then tested based on the product’s requirements for function and safety. When the product has passed the verification phase, a validation is made that the product as a whole meets the requirements.

– As proof of DEFA’s verification and validation, a third-party certification is made to prove that we meet all standards and requirements – and, as a result, have reliable and safe products on the market.

An example of high product quality?
– If we take our Mode 3 cable – eConnect – the requirement is that they should be able to plug in and out of the outlet 10,000 times; our charging cable endures 30 000 connections.

– A customer who expects a premium product should get a premium product. At DEFA, we set the bar very high in all areas. We have a strong focus on product testing and continuous improvement. It’s almost like I bring a magnifying glass when I visit our suppliers.

Tell us about the certificates we have.
– We have a quality management system that complies with ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001, and IATF 16949. Having an IATF 16949 is very exclusive in this industry and demonstrates DEFA’s focus on accuracy and quality throughout the product development chain. The certificate proves that we follow the norms and rules, our processes are robust, and we ensure high product quality and customer satisfaction. With these ISO certifications, you must meet all the requirements of the country in which you are located. Here in Sweden, it is mandatory to comply with the Swedish Electrical Safety Authority’s regulations.

– IATF 16949 is the car manufacturers’ requirements for their suppliers. It is an incredibly prestigious certificate that we at DEFA are very proud of. It is unique that a company in the EV charging industry has this particular certificate, which states that DEFA has a solid and robust quality management system.

What does a typical day look like for you?
– My main areas of responsibility are process follow-up, supplier follow-up, product quality, product safety, and legal requirements. Regarding project follow-up, I focus on ensuring everyone involved in the project delivers according to our needs. This is important. We must not miss anything but follow our processes scrupulously for each product to measure up to the standards regarding function, design, and safety. For example, if we were to sell a product in Germany, then we must work according to all the standards and norm requirements of that country.

– I often visit suppliers to confirm that they meet all our requirements, as they are usually very strict. I am based at our Stockholm office, but I spend time in our factory in Nesbyen, Norway, at least one week a month. Last spring, I spent four months in the factory to, from a quality perspective, ensure the correct implementation of our new product lines.

What do you enjoy most in your role?
– I work broadly with all functions and processes in all areas – and contribute to their continuous improvement. It’s also fun to have such large contact areas. I have a master’s degree in engineering physics and started as a development engineer – a job where you sit in your own bubble. Then I became a project manager, and after some time, I got into the quality field. I discovered that I enjoy a job where you meet many people. This job suits me perfectly as I am both extroverted and highly detail oriented.

– I had a supplier once who happened to send me an email that wasn´t supposed to reach me, but his colleague. “Tobias is a little pain in the ass,” he wrote. Then he apologized profusely when I responded to the email and signed it Tobias “Pain in the ass” Johansson. But honestly, I took the whole thing as a compliment.

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