Watsons is a privately owned, family run full-service sheet and tubular metal fabrication company, that provides metal prototype and production parts for the automotive industry, mass-producing parts for car engines at its plant in the northeast of England. It employs 200 people in total, comprising 150 semi-skilled production workers, 15 clerical workers, 15 technical staff, and 20 managers. The organization structure has not been reviewed or changed in 15 years.
Despite operating in an increasingly competitive market, Watsons has in recent years been successful in maintaining its market share in the UK, but in doing so has not focussed on the European or world-wide automotive markets. (Watson Snr. is a firm Brexit supporter while his son, Gordon Jnr.– Operations Director, and daughter, Grace – Sales Director, voted to remain in the EU). In total, the company employs 8 members of the Watson family, all at mid-management level or above, and range in age from 23 years to 68 (Gordon Snr.). All family members are suitably qualified for their roles.
Watsons believe its core competency is in manufacturing metal fabrication solutions. Watson specializes in CNC machined components, robotic welding, bent tubular products (tube bending), CNC press brake, powder coating, laser cutting, turret punching, stamping, and assembly services. Gordon Watson Snr. founded WEC Ltd. over thirty years ago and their corporate mission are still:
“Committed to satisfying every customer’s needs by exceeding their expectations.”
However, changes in the business environment mean that this may be difficult to sustain. Car manufacturers, who are Watsons’ customers, are operating in an increasingly competitive and global market and are passing these pressures down to their suppliers. Order times are getting progressively shorter, contract prices lower and quality standards higher. Furthermore, decreasing transport costs mean that the manufacturers are prepared to look further afield for their parts, particularly to the newly opened economies of Eastern Europe. In short, Watsons will have to run faster just to stand still.
In what areas of business practice, and HRM, in particular, would you intervene to achieve a return on any investment you might make?
In other words, create an actionable HR strategy for the company. Identify what needs to be changed and provide actionable suggestions as to how those improvements and changes might be made, and who should drive the changes.
Outline the potential value to the organization when the HRM Strategy is executed successfully.
Include best practice examples from other well-known successful organizations as part of your plan to bring everyone on board with the upcoming changes.
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