After dodging bullets and rocket fire in Afghanistan, building a car may seem like a walk in the park. However, Jaguar bosses have recruited more an 100 ex-services personnel - from the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force - to assist in ensuring the new Jaguar XE is crafted with 'military precision' - and around 150 ex-military recruits are still being sought after!
The move is already paying off with ex-military personnel bringing a 'can-do' attitude to the brand, along with a wide array of skills, flexibility and improvisation. With Jaguar Land Rover spending more than 500 million on a special line bodyshop and final assembly line (covering the equivalent of 24 football pitches!), it is clear how far the brand are going to ensure that the New XE model lives up to the hype!
The inclusion of military expertise is evident throughout the XE manufacturing process. One example of this is the rapid response system adapted by personnel who sharpened their craft while working on fighter jets, Apache helicopters and support equipment. The system consists of individually supported 'crash trolleys' which can be wheeled out easily in the event of any machine failures. Each trolley's content is specific to a particular type of problem, much like the contents of the 'pod' in Thunderbirds 2, the popular TV sci-fi show! Other trolleys simply carry equipment to ensure day-to-day processes are made 'leaner' and more efficient.
'Having a fresh pair of eyes is helpful' says Andy Macfarlane, 41 who spent 22 years with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, including four tours of Afghanistan, before moving to Jaguar Land Rover at the start of 2015.
'In the military you are encouraged to ask why. I've amended a few of the processes to make them leaner and we're always on the lookout for continuous improvement.'
Richard Bainbridge, 27, was a fuel specialist in the Army's Royal Logistic Corps for six years where he served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now a Group Leader Product Coach at Jaguar Land Rover, he feels that his skills learned over the course of his career have continued to benefit him in his new role.
'Life in the services gives you confidence to speak to people, whatever their rank. I'm a bit of a perfectionist. Thinking on your feet never leaves you and I've been made very welcome at Jaguar'
Julie Taylor, 37, also spent more than eight years in the Army's Royal Logistic Corps before joining Jaguar Land Rover in February 2015. Her duties have moved from getting ammunition, rations and fuel to front line soldiers in Afghanistan to ensuring vehicles get from the factory to their showrooms. 'Some of the logistical planning is similar in terms of getting things to the customer on time.' she says.
With personnel from many different walks of life pouring their areas of expertise into the planning and development of the New XE, the quality of the finished product can be nothing less than staggering.