Jaguar Land Rover colleagues from all around the globe were given the warmest of welcomes as Slovakia hosted the 2019 Team Improvement Circle Convention.
Teams representing UK Manufacturing sites, UK Indirect areas, Itatiaia in Brazil, Pune in India, Chery Jaguar Land Rover in China, suppliers Gestamp and hosts Nitra joined together to create a truly international three day event.
After settling into the country with a welcome dinner on Monday evening the teams woke early on day two for a cultural experience tour around the Slovakian capital city Bratislava that sits on the banks of the Danube River.
Once they had taken in sights such as the baroque style Bratislava Castle, the Old Town Hall and the Slavín War Memorial the team returned to the hotel and after a quick change got back on the coach and set off to the DSA Polytechnic Secondary School based near our manufacturing plant in Nitra.
The school, who work in partnership with our plant to educate young Slovakians for automotive apprenticeships, has been undergoing a major refurbishment and the entire second floor of the building needed decorating to improve the learning environment for the students.
This is where our circles came in….
Mixed into teams that included employees of all nationalities, the delegates pulled on their overalls, picked up their paint rollers and got to work.
“Being involved in the activity at the college in Nitra was a great team building activity and we got to really mingle with all the other teams from the other countries,” said Craig Hill, based at the EMC and part of the DiversEMC circle.
“I’ve never seen so many people painting in one room at once but we made quick work of it. It feels great to have made a real difference for the children who go there”
With the painting complete the team turned their attention to the next feel good activity. The school have been running a Christmas toy appeal to support underprivileged children in the local area and, as part of the kit list for the trip, our delegates had been asked to each bring along a teddy bear to contribute to the appeal. All that was left to do was help wrap them.
Having bonded with the other circles and with two good deeds in the bag, it was time to head back to Bratislava.
Speaking just before the teams departed the Principal of the school Oľga Hodálová had these kind words to say.
“The most beautiful things in this world are our experiences – the pleasant moments. Your Christmas present will stay with us and it will make every day of our pupils and employee’s lives more pleasant.
“May your noble deeds pay back to you in the form of endless joy and life vitality. We will all remember these moments with you for a long, long time.”
With day two of the adventure complete, the teams settled in for the night ahead of the TIC Convention Final.
Delegates were up early on day three to make their way back to Nitra, this time heading to our manufacturing facility where they would share their winning projects for the final time.
With the sun shining on a brisk December morning the circles were given an honour guard welcome by the Nitra team as they entered the foyer where the national flags of all the participating teams had been hung especially for the event.
“As we walked past the new Defender stood on display outside the plant you couldn’t help but be impressed by scale of the new facility,” said James Brownhill from Castle Bromwich’s Water Tight circle.
“To be given what felt like a hero’s welcome by the Nitra team was really special and something that I’ll remember for a long time.”
Before the final convention could begin the circles were given a tour of the new facility and a look at the new Defender production halls before the official Team Improvement Circle flag was ceremoniously handed over from Itatiaia Director, Joao Mattosinho to Nitra Director, Russell Leslie.
The handover moment signified the start of the Global Convention Final where teams shared their winning presentations once again with peers and well-wishers from the Nitra facility.
The presentations, by now well-rehearsed were delivered by all of the teams with a confidence and an obvious pride in what they had achieved.
“TIC is just such a fantastic thing to be a part of and we’ve enjoyed every second,” said Dan McMurray from Gestamp’s supplier circle. “The Jaguar Land Rover team made us feel so welcome throughout our TIC journey and we really feel proud to be here today presenting to our wider TIC family.”
There was a wide range of improvement ideas on display at the final, all different in size, scope and application, but the core of each theme was the same.
That is engaged people coming together to share ideas, have their voices heard and make their parts of the business better for themselves and their colleagues.
The Global Final allows circles to share ideas internationally and truly experience being part of a larger Jaguar Land Rover TIC family. Not every team can make it through to each stage but everyone who has taken part in 2019 can be immensely proud of their achievement.
The TIC final doesn’t have one overall winner, not because it would be too hard to pick just one circle from the many fantastic presentations (though I wouldn’t want to pick between them) but because but by getting involved, completing the 10 TIC steps, developing and learning simply makes everyone involved in TIC a winner.
Speaking at the final Team Improvement Circle Chairperson, Trevor Leeks closed by saying.
“I’m really proud of everyone who taken part in 2019 Team Improvement Circles, we’ve had over 600 circles all selecting a theme and improving our operations for today and tomorrow. As a result the circle members they’ve improved themselves too and I’m sure will take their learning back to their sites with them to make future improvements.
“It’s been tremendous to watch the teams involved grow and those here today sharing their experiences with each other as one Team Improvement Circle family.”
So if you are inspired and want to get involved remember, the 2019 / 2020 TIC entries are now open, if you’d like to get involved and form a circle contact your local TIC administrator today.