Last year, the Dr Challoner’s Sixth Form provided an opportunity to students with the addition of A-level Business to the selection of courses available. Taught by Mr Gledhill - the Business course has been a fantastic opportunity to learn about the inner workings of companies and the strategies they employ. Last Monday, the Year 13s studying Business had the chance to visit one of these businesses. The car manufacturer - Mini.

The Mini became the iconic small family car of the 1960s. Since 2000, Mini has been built under the ownership of BMW in Munich, Germany. Even though the once British brand is not British-owned anymore, there are still factories pumping cars out just like they did back in the twentieth century.

To visit one of these factories, we all piled into a minibus driven excellently by our fearless leader, Mr Gledhill himself, and rode down to the Mini factory in Oxford. Upon arrival, we were astounded to see each model Mini has produced since its first car back in 1959. We then took off our jackets and put on our safety goggles and ventured into the factory to learn about Mini’s operations.

Mini applies a ‘Just In Time’ (JIT) process to their manufacturing of cars, this means that they only build cars to order. This significantly reduces the cost of holding stock - but this is not the only way Mini has optimised their production line. Most of their workers are now robots, able to do nearly all the tasks a human worker once did which not only cuts costs but also increases productivity as there are few flaws in the building process since the robots are extremely precise.

Another theory Mini has adopted is the ‘Kaizen method’. This is a theory that operates on the idea of continuous improvement with employees constantly suggesting improvements on how to decrease waste to increase efficiency; the building block of lean production. At the Mini factory, an example of this is that they keep every piece of scrap acquired from the production process in order to work out what goes wrong and how they can change this to fully optimise their operations.

With this trip, not only did we get a better understanding of the models we learn in lessons but we also got to see just how they are put into use in the real world.