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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Jaguar Land Rover instills a drive for quality
Article Type: Notes and news From: Industrial and Commercial Training, Volume 44, Issue 2
A fresh approach to management behavior and attitudes at car-manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover has led to improvements in quality and morale.
The company designs, engineers, manufactures and sells luxury cars. Operating across six UK sites, it employs almost 14,500 staff. Land Rover’s Solihull site produces the Defender, Range Rover and Range Rover Sport.
A key part of ensuring a quality product is to ensure a standardized approach to production. But when an internal review revealed that the effectiveness of the standardized work confirmation audit varied across the plant, it spurred the company to devise a new management-development program.
Training consultant Jessica Shenton explained: “Through the training, we wanted managers at the Solihull site to understand the importance of standardized work, and look beyond the process in order to maximize the quality of the event. We also wanted managers to really understand the difference between accountability, responsibility and empowerment.”
Some 365 manufacturing supervisors were registered on the course. The program relied on group work, roleplay, live practices and networking to introduce new ways of working and thinking. With the expertise of internal trainers and external consultants, managers were taught to look beyond technical processes to the behaviors needed to improve.
During a ten-month period, supervisors took part in a rolling program of five-day courses, specific to their job and areas of responsibility. Many of the trainers were managers who had themselves been through the first wave of training. They were able to share their own learning and enthusiasm and demonstrate positive role-model behavior for trainees. In addition, a series of “top-up” refresher training days was delivered for more senior managers and people who had attended courses earlier on, to cover extra material and to keep the learning going.
After the training, which won a regional prize in the National Training Awards, a survey revealed that participants felt they had a better understanding of the importance of standardized work, and the means to coach their teams to make improvements. More effective audits are being carried out and managers feel more confident and valued by the company.
Bosses at the Solihull plant have noticed such a difference in behavior that the program is now considered part of the Solihull “philosophy”.
The Solihull operations director, Alan Volkaerts, said: “The management-development program uplifted the skills and behaviors of our staff and management. Through the program, we were able to increase business awareness at all levels. This initiative has had a really positive impact on our quality metrics.”
Senior executives at Jaguar Land Rover have made a commitment to continue investing in the program and there are plans to introduce it at other sites.