Jaguar Land Rover – a masterclass in putting workers at the heart of your business

When Jaguar Land Rover hosted a Breakthrough Masterclass, it was an opportunity not only to take a close look at the production facilities of an iconic company, but also to gain unique insights into the car manufacturer’s lean production processes.

Jaguar Land Rover is one of the UK's most celebrated businesses. With a trading name that embraces two of the British motor industry's best-loved marques, it’s a company that has built on an illustrious past by investing in its future.

In October 2015, Jaguar Land Rover hosted a Breakthrough Masterclass. Over the course of the day, the company provided a unique insight into an approach to manufacturing that has underpinned rising sales in a global marketplace.  As well as offering a guided tour of one its production facilities and a chance to see the latest models in action. 

Santander's Breakthrough series of masterclasses provide ambitious, fast-growing businesses with the opportunity to visit and learn from companies that have already established themselves as market leaders, often on a global stage. 

Here two masterclass delegates share their experience on the day.   

Richard Reynolds, General Manager, Reynolds of Selby 

What attracted you to the Jaguar Land Rover Masterclass?  

“The main reason I attended was to learn about applying lean principles to processes. We also have a workshop and I felt the principles applied by Jaguar Land Rover could be used to improve our own processes.”

Did the event live up to your expectations?   

“Yes. I already knew that I would enjoy an opportunity to experience the cars out on the test track and I expected the tour of the factory to be interesting. But, in fact, the masterclass element was by far and away the most interesting and useful part of the day.  

What was particularly interesting was the concept that it is the production workers who are the most important people in the company because they create the value. Everyone else is there to support them. What was also interesting was the constant drive to improve the processes while also pushing the quality of the work. That was very relevant to us and our workshop.”   

Was there anything you took away and will implement?  

I believe if we can improve our processes, we can do more with the same number, or fewer, people, which means lower costs and higher income. Since attending the event, one of our technicians has handed in his notice. I see an opportunity to improve our processes and we won't necessarily have to replace him – and that’ll mean a real cost saving.” 

By hosting masterclasses such as these, I feel as a bank, Santander are actively helping companies like ours to build better businesses. 

Grahame Austin, Design and Development Engineer, Marco Cable Management 

“As a company, we have started our own 'lean’ journey but we are new to this. I have been tasked with driving a lean project through the production and manufacturing departments and I wanted to broaden my knowledge. 

What particularly impressed me was Jaguar Land Rover's approach to staff engagement. They showed us a graphic of how they see the company structure. Usually you think of a company as a pyramid, with a broad base and small number of people at the top. They flipped that around: in their graphic it is the production workers who are at the top.   

They take a very proactive approach to staff engagement. Workers are encouraged to contribute two improvement ideas every month. I also liked the cubes – electronic information boards beside every workstation that keep staff up to date with everything they need to know.   

What I really took away from this event was Jaguar Land Rover's approach to staff engagement, which was very striking. I think as we go on our lean journey, we can learn a lot from that in improving our own teamwork"

About Reynolds of Selby 

Established in 1995 Reynolds of Selby is an independent car dealership specialising in selling and servicing Fords but covering all marques. In addition to its sales operation, the business runs a team of qualified technicians and mechanics. General Manager, Richard Reynolds is in the process of buying out the business from his father, Steve Reynolds.  

About Marco Cable Management 

Founded in 2003, Marco has rapidly established itself as a leading uPVC cable management company and is Britain's largest manufacturer of steel wire cable trays. Recognised as an innovator in its field, Marco has invested heavily in its capabilities and is committed to bringing new products and accessories to the market.

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John Carroll - Helping businesses achieve International success. Head of Product Management & International Business, Santander UK