Just got in at 10pm having been in Birmingham VW Van Centre for the day. I did promise to write a blog so I dropped the shirts in the wash, put everything on charge, went upstairs kissed girlfriend hello and goodnight, grabbed a mini French lager from the fridge and here I sit to write blog. Having stopped at services on the M40 to email all of the issues that we went through during the day I find, upon my return to the house, some rather chunky emails in reply and issues from the other members of the team. Looks like we are earning our money and adding value, as always! A new system at work, unfortunately, is not like buying a flash new bit of software for your home computer. In fact, when a new and complicated system is rolled out across different brands in different territories, the ultimate beneficiaries long term, often get huge pain in the short term. “We shouldn’t have changed, the old system was better!”,you will often hear. Funny thing is that when a new system is installed you never seem to hear “Oh we should go back to the system we had two versions ago”…….that must tell us something. We might not see the improvement straight away at the sharp end, but when the transition is over and we are in full swing with a new system we might not notice just how well it is working! Rather like the Honda advert that showed all of the bits of a car working that we take for granted. Obviously I can’t mention Honda and would recommend everyone drive one of VW’s remarkable range of commercial vehicles. I might say that slightly tongue-in-cheek but actually, the world of commercial vehicles has changed. The centres selling the vehicles tend to be less flash than say, a striking Audi centre. Take a look at the vehicles though, and the cliché white van is not as ubiquitous as you might think. White van man gives way to ‘Mr Toffee Brown Kombi with an appearance pack and an ipod connection’. When you look at the Caravelle, Caddy Maxi Life and the California, you will see that the world of vans is more colourful and that work and play, in this case, mix very well.
So how are we helping with NVS (VW Groups’ New Vehicle System)? It has been in operation for a few months now, lots of early issues have been resolved, but users are sometimes slightly bewildered in some areas. When you have a mix of issues at once it isn’t easy to establish whether it is user error, a technical issue, or an external factor that is causing your problem. People need help in these instances and if they don’t get it, it can cost them money, and a lot of stress. At the Big Team we are all people who like to get to the bottom of a problem and find a solution. If we can’t own a problem and fix it, we like to make sure that we find the right person to take ownership and to fix it. Some stuff that we do is just common sense, and actually, it is easier to come into a project fresh, with no axe to grind, and to assess the problem and offer help. I was slightly worried on this one that people, having had problems, would be rather miserable towards us, as we are working with their new, and perhaps painful at times, solution. Actually, people have been great and genuinely keen on learning best practice and any information that will help them to work better. I also find that people are always keen to get their ideas and feedback to you and it is crucial that we demonstrate that they can contribute and shape their own solutions. That is what happened today in Birmingham and around the other sites that our team attended. Help, information, common sense, collaboration and happier more efficient workforce. Alright, it always sounds simple when you right it down like that but small steps get you closer to where you want to be and if your problem is not being able to isolate issues, small steps can sometimes be big ones.
Poole tomorrow and next week driving Cheltenham-Cardiff-Basingstoke- Aberystwyth- Wrexham, helping poor souls understand how to protect their stock from mandatory transfer and this time next Friday I will be back on this couch having a mini French lager wondering if I can save enough for a van. I’m not even kidding, and mark my words toffee brown is the colour you want this year.