India’s Tata Motors bought out Jaguar and Land Rover (JLR) in 2008 and since then it 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. JLR boosted the output to a record 621,109 vehicles sold in 130 countries in 2017 and created thousands of jobs.
The losses of the first few years have been turned into global profits, which are invested back into the business. Now they offer hundreds of models and specification derivatives – highly relevant, desirable products at the forefront of technology thanks to the £22 billion invested over the past decade. Moreover, the company is one of the biggest investors in research and development in the UK, with a further £4.2 billion being invested in 2017/18 FY.
“Change has been a constant feature of life at Solihull,” said director of operations, Nigel Blenkinsop. “We have succeeded through having clarity of purpose at all levels, developing the systems to support performance, coaching into teams and encouraging talents to be used for the common good.”
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 KPIs that drive operations across all three JLR sites and the four technology areas at Solihull (body, paint, trim and logistics).
In addition to this, JLR has also invested in voluntary schemes to maximise employee engagement and support for personal development. The ‘Pulse’ programme in the paint facility, for example, benchmarks employee engagement and stimulates management action, while the feedback from the workers is channelled through ‘Development Role’ volunteers.
Perhaps the most progressive and inspiring of these schemes is the Team Improvement Circle, or TIC programme, in which 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.
JLR’s success story has not only been about innovative technologies, but about engaging all of its employees into its mission.