Ken Close heads up the global launch team within Powertrain Operations and has been responsible for the successful delivery of all new engines, including Ingenium.
He’s led the team through plenty of challenges in recent times, including ensuring that Ingenium launched on time and on budget and with more opportunities on the horizon it’s an exciting time to be part of launch.
“We were not only delivering brand new engines, but these are being delivered at brand new sites, with new employees,” said Ken.
“The launch team are responsible for ensuring the flawless delivery of all new engines, from design concept right through to delivery.
Working towards our ambitious goal to transform the way in which engines are manufactured and to be recognised as the new global benchmark for excellence, is just one of our ambitious.
Senior launch manager Paul Blackman supports three work streams, across machining and assembly areas. He considers the diversity of the launch team and its activities to be one of its key differentials, making it a dynamic team to be part of.
“I really enjoy my role in Launch. Members of my team are working really closely with the operational team here at the EMC to ensure the successful delivery of new manufacturing capabilities and work streams, a big challenge is launching on to a fully loaded integrated facility without lose to current production.
“Our Mod 4 launch managers, Stuart and Neville, enjoy a completely different challenge launching into a brand new facility, which still has some commissioning activity ongoing. In total I have 35 people in my team, including launch managers, launch engineers and product coaches.”
Stuart Hateley joined the global launch team in May 2017 and is the machining launch manager, with responsibility for all EMC machining. Prior to this he worked closely with the launch team as the lead product development engineer for the development of AJ200 Ingenium. This experience means he understands well the requirements of his customers.
He said: “My team are currently working on new launch activities and programmes, as well as the commissioning on our new facility. Part of our role following launch activity is to deep dive and identify the possible implications of our activity on future product activity.”
Working closely with Stuart, Neville Gleed’s team has recently completed a number of key launch activities. The team are constantly reviewing and improving process, working cross functionally with other departments to improve the quality and efficiency of production.
“The link with Stuart’s team is crucial in understanding the needs and requirements of our customer,” said Neville.
Two of the newest members of the launch team are Mitch McNeil and Lourdes Cano Ramirez, who both joined in November 2017.
Mitch is currently involved in developing and delivering 19MY derivatives, as well as working to revitalise the pilot line in diesel assembly to improve efficiency and support delivery.
Lourdes was previously a senior programme leader in PTME. She now leads the team responsible for governance, including PDS, AIMS and IPCs during the launch phase.
She said: “The team also compile the budgets and timing plans for all potential programmes for PTO through the study letter process, which requires liaising with colleagues from PTME-FP, MP&L and PD.
“To be successful we encourage colleagues to interact with the team and provide feedback on lessons learnt for any future projects.”
Chey Cummings returned to the launch team in the UK, following a two year project placement in China. He was previously launch manager for the EMC’s Mod 1 and 1A, before moving to work on the launch of the CJLR engine plant.
He said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time in China, it offered me some great opportunities and access to influence projects that were incredibly interesting. Having now returned to the UK, I’ve taken on responsibility for the forward planning element of Global Launch.
“I’ve challenged my own team to consolidate this learning and where required develop global systems that ensure that there is the maximum benefit from all global partners, their expertise and experience.”
William Chu is responsible for the global launch team, based at CJLR in Changshu. He considers the strong team ethic vitally important in resolving potential issues.
He said: “As everyone can imagine, launch isn’t an easy job. It’s a fine balance between timing and budget, with the product delivery in mind. We have a great team working spirit, which is evidence in the way the team pulls together to work cross functionally and also globally to resolve problems, quickly and robustly. In CJLR we have a quality first principle and cost balance to deliver exceptional products within a set time span and make sure we always meet the needs of our customers.
Launch activity at Jaguar Land Rover’s Pune facility is led by Nishant Tillu. It comprises a team of four, supported by product development and a resident STA engineer.
Leading this varied trans-continental team, Ken is well aware of the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead, due to rapidly changing global markets and technological advances.
“As a global team we have already successfully launched over 100 derivatives as part of the Ingenium family of engines. Introducing new products into existing facilities remains a challenge, but we’re committed to ensuring that our customer requirements, internal and external are met and exceeded.”