Bright ideas from Mini staff saves BMW £10.5m

Innovative ideas from workers at Mini’s Oxford plant have saved its owner
BMW £10.5m over the past two years.

Every worker at the Cowley plant in Oxford is asked for three ideas a year
by management, with production stopped for 90 minutes every month to review
submitted suggestions.

Around 11,000 ideas of the 14,333 submitted have been taken forward by
management. They ranged from turning off unused lights to more complex
engineering solutions.

Nicola Scott, head of change management, said the principle behind the
scheme was demonstrating to staff that everyone at the plant could make a
contribution to the business.

"Our ‘Working in Groups’ scheme allows employees to discuss everything
from production problems to ergonomics and their working environment," she
explained.

"Those ideas are then captured

on a database, and it is the responsibility of the individual or the team
who submitted the original idea to follow it through and press for its
implementation."

Tony Heiss, the plant’s managing director, said: "We have moved away
from a strongly directive management style to a much more autonomous team
working approach.

"This places the achievement of plant improvement targets directly into
the hands of our employees, and it has made a real difference," he added.

The plant produced 174,000 Minis last year, up from 160,000 the year before.

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