1. Organisational Challenge

The NGK Spark Plug Company is one of the leading manufacturers of automotive components in the world with its headquarters in Nagoya, Japan and 36 subsidiaries globally. NGK has 11 factories, four development centres and more than 20 sales offices outside of Japan, one of which is based in the UK.

NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Limited employs 90 people and represents one of the greatest success stories in the UK automotive sector following its introduction into the market in the 1960s. Since then the company has grown its market share dramatically and this growth is continuing.

Many of its people, who are technically skilled, have grown with the company. In 2015 the Personnel Department was presented with the challenge of consistently developing the management and leadership skills of its management team.

The solution would need to be a continuous learning programme that was flexible enough to accommodate differing levels of seniority and offered an approved qualification of professional development.

2. Choosing Impellus

After researching potential training providers, Impellus was selected due to its experience and knowledge as an ILM-Approved Training Centre. NGK was impressed with the enthusiasm shown by the Impellus team and felt sure they would offer the required support during the ILM assessment process.

NGK, Personnel Manager, Christine Hurley said: “Impellus regularly delivers the three ILM Level 3 Award courses that our Board of Directors had selected for our people. It runs these courses around the country, so we knew we would have no trouble getting our managers trained at a time and location that suited us. Also, Impellus offers the option to buy multiple delegate days that qualify for a discount, which, as we knew we would be training numerous managers over several years, was attractive in terms of budgeting and a key factor in our decision.”

3. Working with Impellus

“The Impellus Learning and Development Consultants who deliver the training courses are excellent at relaying the course content in a lively and engaging manner. They realise that the delegates are very busy, so they make the sessions interactive and use real-life commercial examples that help on return the workplace.”

“Personally I have found the Impellus staff to be very helpful when I want to check the number of delegate days remaining on our account and when I need to book delegates onto courses. They are also very supportive when my colleagues have a query or have forgotten their login details to the Business Centre for submitting their ILM Award assessments.” commented Christine.

4. Results Achieved

“The whole NGK management team has been studying the ILM Award Level 3 qualification for approximately a year. We are at different stages, some like myself have successfully completed with others in the process of submitting their assessments. I put aside a couple of hours at the weekends and disciplined myself to study over a 15-month period. The Impellus Learning and Development Consultants supported me and provided very useful feedback after I had completed each module and before I made my submission to the ILM.”

“I found the assessment work thought-provoking. It forces you to reflect on how you and your organisation approach management and offers you guidance for making changes. Other elements of the study provide a ‘standard’ to which you can aspire. It doesn’t give you an answer to every managerial challenge you will ever face, but it equips you with the tools to cope in the future.”

NGK embarked on the management development programme at the same time as the company changed its business system, so it has been time of major operational change. At this stage it is difficult to fully assess the impact of the training so far. However, increased communication and confidence among managers and changes to how they manage their teams have been observed.

Christine Hurley, Personnel Manager