Jaguar Land Rover Solihull has been at the centre of that transformation for more than 10 years, and in 2017 it won The Manufacturer Manufacturing Excellence Award for ‘Leadership and Strategy’ at the first attempt.
Since the 2008 buyout of Jaguar and Land Rover (JLR) by India’s Tata Motors, JLR has become a global success story. Tata’s strategy was to invest heavily in growth at a time when other multinationals were retrenching following the worldwide financial crash. Since then, JLR has continued to invest, boosting output to a record 621,109 vehicles sold in 130 countries in 2017, and creating thousands of jobs.
Production is growing globally, with plants in China and Brazil and a plant opening at the md of the year in Slovakia. The losses of the first few years have been turned into global profits, which are invested back into the business. A little over 10 years ago, Jaguar and Land Rover produced a handful of models. Now they offer hundreds of models and specification derivatives – highly relevant, desirable products at the forefront of technology thanks to the £22bn invested over the past decade.
JLR is one of the biggest investors in research and development in the UK, with a further £4.2bn being invested in 2017/I8 FY. That kind of visionary, strategic leadership is now the stuff of business textbooks.
Simplification and standardisation of systems have undoubtedly helped Solihull’s 10,000-strong workforce to deliver JLR’s strategy and adopt continuous change. More than 60 KPIs (key performance indicators) have been refined into 18 KPI’s that drive operations across all three JLR sites and the four technology areas at Solihull (body, paint, trim and logistics). Having a uniform set of KPI’s has led to strong cooperation with a common purpose across the business, “sometimes with too much help offered!”.
In addition to the formalised Kaizen continuous improvement scheme, which you would expect in a modern manufacturing business, JLR has developed voluntary schemes to maximise employee engagement and support for personal development. An example of this is the ‘Pulse’ programme in the paint facility, which benchmarks employee engagement and stimulates management action.
Feedback from the workers is channelled through ‘Development Role’ volunteers. Over several years the feedback has turned from complaints about problems to constructive ideas on how operations could be improved. The quaintly named ‘Dipped in Paint’ programme was introduced by management, but taken over by workers eager to broaden their understanding of all the growing activities of the paint shop.
Perhaps the most progressive and inspiring of these schemes is the Team Improvement Circle, or TIC programme. Employees are encouraged to put forward their ideas for improvements of any kind, and supported with problem-solving techniques to turn them into real solutions. TIC projects are tested through local and national selection processes. Last year, the paint shop’s own ‘Paint Perfection’ team represented the Solihull plant and headed out to JLR’s Pune plant in India to launch TIC the local plant.
Solutions and lessons learned are shared around the JLR family of sites and teams, so that an idea grown in Solihull can become a new standard across JLR’s global operations.
The UK’s automotive manufacturers face a challenging future as the industry embraces significant change. Businesses, especially those that form the complex supply chains for a range of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), are understandably seeking clarity on the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU.
The publication of the UK government’s Brexit white paper has been met positively by parts of the industry however there’s collective agreement that there is hard work ahead in agreeing the position with Europe. In addition, the UK government’s pledge to transition to a low-carbon economy, and move away from conventional petrol and diesel vehicles to models with lower carbon emissions has contributed to increased uncertainty and a dip in business and consumer confidence. Amid the uncertainty, however, there are opportunities in new markets and major OEMs are investing significantly to configure their operations and implement plans to produce the next generation of hybrid and pure eclectic vehicles.
Santander recently hosted a delegation of British automotive businesses on a trade mission to Slovakia, a country with a strong industrial heritage. Significant investment in the market from automotive OEMs and the supply chain has created a stable base and ample opportunity for UK businesses.
As a bank, Santander runs a programme of dedicated trade missions to overseas markets that have ranged from Poland, the United States, Latin America, the Middle East and China. Delegates on the Slovakian visit had the chance to meet and present to a number of OEMs and supply chain companies from across the country to explore potential business opportunities.
The trade mission took place in early June and delegates heard from and met with several market and sector experts on the practicalities if doing business in the country, as well as experienced factory visits to suppliers located in close proximity to the new JLR plant at Nitra. For automotive firms, establishing additional operations or doing business with countries such as Slovakia is recognition of a market where an increasing volume of car manufacturing is taking place.
Farnell Jaguar Land Rover Bolton is celebrating the grand opening of its new £10m Bolton showroom. The retailer has seen colleagues from Farnell Land Rover Bury and Farnell Jaguar Bolton relocate to the new showroom, built at the end of St Peter’s Way on the A666. The current team has expanded, and there will be the potential for further job Opportunities in the future.
The new facility will have the capacity to showcase 20 new cars and 80 used models and feature a dedicated vehicle handover area, barista bar, interactive colour and trim display, brand merchandise area and drive-through service area.
The site is part of an extensive investment programme by Vertu Motors, which operates the Farnell brand and is keeping in line with the Jaguar Land Rover ‘Arch’ concept with the two brands under one roof.