Ford Motor Company has made Transit vans on the Southampton site for over 40 years. On July 25th 2013 the last Transit rolled off the line – a day of mixed emotions for those employees present.
Of course, they were all sad to see the end of an era, but there was also excitement amongst many of the staff who saw an opportunity to develop their careers further or to start new and exciting ventures. Several did this by taking up roles in one of the two new business operations which Ford have established locally in Southampton, others took up roles with new employers, whilst some decided to start up their own business.
As part of their comprehensive ‘Social Plan’, Ford called upon the services of Fedden USP to help up-skill the workforce, to further build their confidence and to help increase their chances of finding new employment elsewhere. Additionally, Ford requested learning interventions in Lean, which would assist those employees transferring to their new business activities, to be effective from day one, and to help reinforce a work culture founded on safe, lean and productive practices. Workshops
In support of this, Fedden USP ran a number of workshops for both Ford and contractor employees, which covered topics such as:
- Kaizen methodology, which helps companies to achieve their performance dreams through the continuous improvement of their people, processes and systems.
- Visual Management covering the types of visual management aids that companies can use to help employees see the performance of their company e.g. charts, graphs etc.
- 5S / Workplace Organisation.
- Problem Solving.
As a result of the workshops, a high percentage of employees chose to use their newfound skills to secure new jobs with companies such as Rolls-Royce Cars, McLaren, Eaton Aerospace and Autotech.
Geoff Glover, Head of HR at Ford Southampton, commented: “The training was very well received and will now be of practical value as we plan the layout of the new Vehicle Refurbishment facility located on part of the Southampton site and the new Vehicle Distribution Centre based at the Southampton Docks. These businesses will employ over 130 people under the Ford blue oval.
“We are keen that Lean is built into the very fabric of these business activities so that our commitment to safety, quality, customer care and continuous improvement can be delivered on a consistent basis.”
Neil Fedden, Principal Consultant with Fedden USP, said: “Our engagement as part of the Ford Social Plan for their employees has been a rewarding experience. Ford’s investment in people has meant that many of their ex-employees will move into new companies bringing a level of lean experience with them, which should provide a boost to any company and indeed to the region. Bryan Palmer, for example, was a Quality Manager at Ford Southampton and we quickly saw the potential he had to bolster our 6 Sigma product. He is now working with us delivering Green Belt training to our clients, as well as helping us deliver a funded 6 Sigma NVQ Level 2.”
Bryan Palmer added: “6 Sigma and LEAN has transformed the Automotive Industry over the years. I’m now delighted to have the opportunity to use the experience that I’ve gained from Ford to assist other companies to both apply and benefit from these tools and methods.”