What we can learn from Lego
We reckon that everyone working in the construction industry harbours a secret fantasy of owning – and building – a Lego airport.
Our conclusion follows heated debate after the screening of The Secret World of Lego earlier this month on Channel 4. The one-off documentary not only took viewers on a tour of the company’s headquarters in Bilund, Denmark, but focused on AFoLs.
AFoL stands for adult fan of Lego. And while superfan Mark Guest will not admit to receiving the Lego Star Wars Republic Gunship for Christmas, he was happy to go on camera and say: “We might be adults but we like reverting to childhood now and then.”
His views are supported by Lego community manager Kim Ellekjær Thomsen, who revealed: “The AFoL community has grown. The geeks and the nerds are not supposed to stay in the closet anymore.”
The Lego people (the ones who work for the plastic brick-maker, rather than the tiny figurines that jam up vacuum cleaners all over the world) have a geek-like passion for their jobs that explains why Lego is the most profitable toy maker in the world.
The Secret World of Lego took the wraps off what makes Lego tick by meeting some of its key people and tapping into the company’s DNA.
Take Matthew Ashton, a Brit who has worked his way up to become Lego’s vice-president of design. His enthusiasm for using the 1 billion bricks the company produces every week to create new sets – including the recently-released Heathlake Airport box of delights – is infectious.
By the end of the programme, we couldn’t help but compare life at ProSkips with that of Lego. We have a similar DNA. Lego CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp says its staff are not just numbers on the payroll but part of a close-knit family.
Other Lego staff in the film said there was a set of values in their organisation that went far beyond making little plastic bricks.
And that is good for business. When a company takes care of its staff, they deliver a better service – or in Lego’s case product – for customers, who then become part of the extended family.
Our values include having an uncompromising commitment to quality, health, safety and the environment, which our customers benefit from.
But there is a dark side to Lego that definitely plays no part in the long-term business plan at ProSkips. Unlike any other company in the world with links to construction, Lego staff are banned from consuming sugar in the workplace. Not even in their tea!
When the workers at the Lego factory have finished a morning of turning granulated plastic into sets – including checking each brick for uniformity of colour and size (if a brick’s dimensions are even a 1000th of a millimetre out, it will be rejected) plus clutch power – they spend their lunch in a very impressive-looking canteen offering the likes of prawns in filo pastry and other Danish delights. Unfortunately for them, though, Danish pastries are off the menu.
We are unaware whether any of the skips hired through Proskips has ever been used to transport Lego bricks, but we do know our services are available for less money than Lego charges AFoLs for its Marvel Superheroes Shield Helicarrier, especially if the mega-set is bought with the optional Power Functions accessories.
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