The Wilson Brothers Limited Case You have recently been hired as the HR manager responsible for two separate Ontario locations belonging to Wilson Brothers Limited. You have been asked by the HR Director at the head office in Brandon, Manitoba, to quickly provide a report on any initial HR issues related to Recruitment and Selection, Compensation and Benefits, Health and Safety, Training and Development and Labour and Employee Relations that are affecting or will affect the Cambridge operation and the new plant in Scarborough. The HR Director has made it very clear that Wilson Brothers would like both the Cambridge location and the new plant in Scarborough to remain union-free and are willing to offer very competitive wages and benefits in order to ensure this.
This report must be submitted within 7 days. You were provided with some background information about the company during your selection interview. Background Information: In 1960 the Wilson brothers, Bob and John, started Wilson Brothers Limited. This Canadian company manufactures and distributes various lines of prepared foods (including baked goods and various types of bottled juices) for the Canadian market from a number of plants, with the head office located in Brandon, Manitoba. By 2000, Wilson Brothers Limited had six operating plants in Canada. They had also expanded to the Western US market and had a number of plants in Europe. In Ontario there is a medium sized plant located in Cambridge. Until recently both bottled items and bakery items were produced at this location. In the last 30 days the company has finalized a deal with some large grocery chains to supply baked goods that are part of their current line and also new baked items that grocery companies have requested. These grocery chains have decided that they no longer want to bake items on their own sites. The plant in Cambridge does not have the capacity to produce the goods to meet the requirements of the contracts. As a consequence, the company searched for additional facilities and found a manufacturing plant for sale in Scarborough that was previously owned by a company that also manufactured various baked goods. The plant has the ovens, the vats, the prep areas, and the packaging conveyor belts that will be needed to produce the goods to fulfill the new contracts. This plant will have five times the baking production capacity as the current Cambridge plant.
A small fleet of trucks, most with refrigeration units, was also included in the package deal so the new plant will not be contracting with a trucking company to get their goods to customers. Recent increases in orders for bottled juices will result in increasing the output of the bottling operation at the Cambridge plant and it will take over the space previously used by the bakery operation. Discussion with Retiring HR Manager On your first day on the job at the Cambridge location, you have a discussion with the retiring HR Manager who will be leaving in two weeks. He appears to be somewhat out of the loop - possibly by choice - and is not able to provide much information. He seems to be more intent on telling you about his fishing boat that is currently moored in Key Largo in Florida. However, you obtain a couple of details from him. His wife is the company accountant and she is also retiring on the same day as him and while an offer was made to the daughter of a neighbour, that individual has declined the offer in favour of an offer to work with a company in California. His pride and joy is his daughter who has worked for the company as a project leader for two years. She is leaving shortly to pursue a Bachelor's degree and he said that the company has agree to pay her university tuition each year if she returns to work during her summers off.
He admits that he has been uninvolved in the decision to expand to Scarborough, since his focus has simply been finishing up and retiring. However, he does know that one of the three bakers at the Cambridge plant has chosen to relocate and work in the new plant due to a recent divorce and two of the five packagers are also relocating. One of the packagers is confined to a wheelchair and would like to be closer to parents with health problems who live in the east end of Toronto and the other is relocating with her husband who has been given a job offer to work as a driver for the Scarborough plant. In addition, two of the five client service reps will also be relocating to work at the Scarborough plant. You ask about current wages and payroll in Cambridge and after referring to files, he is able to tell you that the Cambridge bakers and packagers are hourly employees and are paid $25.50 per hour and $19.25 per hour respectively.
The client service reps who take orders, deal with client complaints and track down lost or late shipments are on salary and paid anywhere from $49,900 to $57,500 depending on experience. When he tells you that the reps also generate additional business for Wilsons, you ask about compensation for this duty, but you are told that the salaries are fixed, regardless of how much business the reps generate. He tells you that the rates for packagers, bakers and client service reps are quite attractive for the Cambridge labour market but can't comment on the Scarborough/Toronto labour market. Trying to get a handle on exactly what each position does, you ask about job descriptions for the various positions. The HR Manager tells you except for one client service rep and his daughter, all staff have been here as long or longer than him and that he has not ever updated job descriptions, nor can he tell you if they actually exist. Cathy, the HR Assistant might be able to help. When you talk to Cathy later that day about the job descriptions, she advises that there are none. Since the HR Manager's daughter has only been with the company for two years, you ask to see her HR file so that you can see the process used to hire her. Cathy just laughs and tells you that you have to be kidding - that the HR Manager's kid just showed up one day and was introduced to the staff as the Project Leader. There was no process - no interview, no job specifications and no job description. She also tells you that she doesn't really know what the HR Managers's daughter does at the company. It would appear that her father assigns her some kind of work. In fact, Cathy tells you that recruitment and selection really isn't an issue. Most of the employees at the Cambridge plant are either very long term employees or were referred by existing employees and that in the ten years she has been with Wilson's, they have never advertised a vacancy. They don't need to advertise. Wilson's is great company to work for and employees refer family and friends if needed. "Outsiders", as she puts it, are never considered. She also notes that there is no organization chart for the Cambridge location; staff know who they report to and who is in charge In terms of staffing for the Scarborough plant, Cathy does have some information. Apparently, the Cambridge plant manager somehow managed to connect with the trucking supervisor who worked for the company that used to own the Scarborough plant.
The plant manager was very impressed by this man and offered him a job immediately, without consulting HR. In addition, both the Cambridge office manager and plant manager were offered positions at the new operation, but both declined the offer. Nevertheless, they are currently onsite at the new plant helping to set up both the front office and the plant. When you meet again with the HR Manager, he tells you that the head office in Brandon has set a deadline of 30 days for the plant setup and 60 days for plant to start producing product. While he feels that these time frames are unrealistic, he also seems distracted and tells you that he really doesn't care; he and his wife are off for Florida in twenty days. Y