Page 1: Introduction
In recent years, many UK manufacturing and service industries have transformed their production methods and processes. Businesses that have been at the leading edge of change have prospered, leaving their competitors behind. Key ingredients in this process of change have been an emphasis on creating total quality systems that involve:
- getting it right first time at every stage of production
- lean production to cut out waste and to simplify manufacturing systems
- creating environmental management systems that guarantee:
- the highest levels of environmental performance within an organisation
- excellent relationships with the local community.
Today, the Halewood plant is dedicated to producing the new Jaguar X’ Type. This is a car for the 21st century. It has been developed as a result of feedback from a massive global consumer research programme. The programme has ensured that the car’s designers, engineers and marketers remain in tune with the needs and expectations of potential customers at every stage in the car’s development.
This case study examines ways in which Jaguar has transformed its new assembly plant at Halewood to guarantee World Class Performance in its production systems.
Developing the site
In January 1960, Ford bought the 1390 hectare greenfield site in Halewood from Liverpool corporation and the British Transport Commission. The Halewood site quickly became established as a leading car manufacturing plant and was associated particularly with Ford Escort production. When Ford acquired Jaguar in the early 1990s, Halewood also began to produce body panels for Jaguar cars.
In 1998, Halewood was announced as the production site for the all new Jaguar X’ Type sports saloon. It would replace Ford Escort production, which was to be phased out by 2000. Halewood was chosen to produce the X’ Type because:
- existing Jaguar plant in the Midlands lacked sufficient capacity
- the ‘Britishness’ associated with Jaguar made overseas production inappropriate good transport infrastructure
- opportunity to develop business park.
However, it was clear that the Halewood plant would need to be dramatically updated and upgraded if it was to become a world leader. So £300 million was set aside to modernise the plant. Coupled with this was a programme for changing ways of working and also the culture within the plant. Many Halewood employees had previously produced Ford Escorts using
traditional manufacturing techniques that did not encourage them to show initiative. They have now learned new approaches that involve empowerment and flexibility; more responsibility has been given to operatives at the sharp end of production.