In September 2011, GSK and the McLaren Group joined forces to share knowledge and expertise with the aim of improving our business performance and driving a more dynamic business culture.
Bringing together two science-led British companies, the unique partnership looks to identify opportunities to align the high-tech innovation demonstrated by McLaren, particularly in Formula 1, with our strengths in manufacturing, R&D and nutritional research.
There are four core pillars to the relationship - business performance analysis, sports nutrition science, employee engagement and the creation of a new McLaren-GSK Centre for Applied Performance.
Performance analysis and improvement
Performance analysis covers three core areas of our business, including consumer healthcare, research and development and manufacturing. Within our consumer healthcare business, which markets brands such as Lucozade, Panadol and Sensodyne, we are learning from McLaren’s Formula 1 “Mission Control” – the unit which analyses the team’s performance.
Mission Control uses predictive analytics to direct decision making to drivers during a Grand Prix race, and we are now developing a similar way of working to drive quicker decision-making around issues such as wholesaler stocking, inventory management, pricing and retailer requests.
Across our manufacturing business, which supplies medicines and products to patients across the world from more than 2000 production lines in 80 factories, we are learning from McLaren to enhance our processes. During a racing season, 80 per cent of an F1 car will change between the first and final races with 22,000 upgrades being applied to each car over just 20 races. This pace of innovation is a stark contrast to our industry but there are applications of this real time innovation that have already helped us become more efficient in some of our business areas. For example, our change-over times – shifting from production of one product to another – at one of our factories was cut by 60 per cent after we applied these principles.
GSK science - fuelling the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team
During an F1 race, drivers can lose more than 3kg through perspiration. This level of fluid loss can cause dehydration and ultimately have a significant impact on physical and mental performance. It is vital that the 1 litre of fluid that the drivers are allowed to carry in the car during a race must be very effective. In the same way that McLaren’s team engineers continually work to improve the performance of their cars, GSK’s sports nutritionists and scientists have worked with the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team to help maintain the drivers’ peak performance.
Our R&D scientists have developed two bespoke formulations of Lucozade and Maxinutrition for the drivers’ unique needs; a ‘hydration formulation’ for pre-race hydration, and a ‘race formulation’ to enhance endurance during a race.
We are working to create a more dynamic business culture by using the partnership to engage and inspire our employees. The core principles that make F1 teams successful are no different to our business, so we are focusing on how they are applied in such a high pace environment. We have been able to reward and recognise employees through engagement programmes initiated around the world, promoting and reinforcing key behaviours such as cohesive teamwork.