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MANITOBA MANUFACTURING BACKGROUND Manitoba Manufacturing is a company that started in 1898. It manufactures office furniture of all types. It has one...

Manitoba Case
From your review of the Manitoba Manufacturing case (attached below and located in Doc Sharing), please provide an expanded analysis of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) facing Manitoba Manufacturing.

Remember, Strengths and Weaknesses are internal, while Opportunities and Threats are external.

1) Please post your one-page analysis within this TDA thread (rather than as an attachment).

2) Please provide suggestions for HR policies, practices and programs that you think might improve Manitoba Manufacturing's situation.

3) Review the work provided by your class colleagues . . . and provide your expanded comments and expanded feedback in this TDA thread on the information provided by your class colleagues.

MANITOBA MANUFACTURING BACKGROUND Manitoba Manufacturing is a company that started in 1898. It manufactures office furniture of all types. It has one location and 1300 employees. While the style and configuration of their products has changed through the years they have always been a furniture manufacturer. The company is privately held and has been managed by members of the founder’s family since its inception. The company has had a long history of profitability until the last five years. During that period, profit has declined by forty-five percent. Manitoba is now in a loss situation. The primary reason for the downturn is the fierce competition from foreign suppliers and from low cost mass furniture producers in the United States. Manitoba recognizes its costs are higher than its competition, but it believes its product is of the higher quality. That believe is generally shared in the marketplace. The profit downturn has resulted in an outsider being named President. His mission is to engineer a turnaround. COMPANY STRUCTURE The company is organized as a traditional hierarchy. Reporting directly to the president are Vice Presidents of Finance, Manufacturing, Sales, Marketing, Engineering and Human Resources. Within the manufacturing organization is purchasing, materials, quality control, and shipping and receiving. The sales organization consists of a national sales force that sells to suppliers. The marketing organization is responsible for advertising and developing strategies to open new markets. There are a variety of skills within the company. There are furniture designers, architects, MIS professionals, all varieties of manufacturing personnel from machinists to assemblers to material handlers and production control professionals. The engineering department is small but integral in the design and modification of products. The manufacturing organization is divided into three divisions; custom cabinetry; standard cabinetry, and chairs. Each division has a vice president in charge. Those individuals have all the manufacturing personnel within their respective organizations. All other functions are handled centrally. Sales people will sell all products. Marketing will market all products. Finance covers financial needs for the entire organization as does human resources for its role. Each manufacturing division does have some parallel staff. For instance, each has production planning, materials, and quality control. Although they are all located in the same building there are visible, physical separations between the divisions in that building. EMPLOYEE ISSUES Although employees are paid competitively, there is some distrust between them and management. They do not understand the profit situation and where they do have insight, they fault management for wrong decisions. Decision making in the company has traditionally been from the top down with little opportunity for upward feedback. Morale is slightly worse than mediocre. A major concern now centers on the possibility of layoffs because there has been more recent discussion of the business downturn. Manitoba has never before had a layoff. 1
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The benefit program is average. The percentage of payroll represented by benefits is 38%. Compensation is generally at market or slightly below. The compensation program consists of a twelve-month merit review with increases dictated by a common merit grid. The company has a job posting system. Very little training is done and individual budgets generally have little or no such funding. In the trades positions, training is primarily on the job with no formalized program. The engineering department follows a career ladder, with promotions based on length of service, education, and performance level. Turnover was 14% last year. It has been slowly rising from its low point of 6% in 1984. The demographics of the workforce are 61% male; average age 41 and 39% female; average age 36. Six percent of the workforce are minority in an area where the minority population is 11%. Because Manitoba does not sell to the government, it is not subject to OFFCP compliance. MANAGEMENT CULTURE Prior to the new president arriving, management made decisions and workers carried them out. Communication and feedback were not concerns of management. Discipline was very tight in manufacturing which reflected the orientation of the Vice President of Manufacturing. Shop employees were generally watched closely and not given very much leeway in the performance of the job. Different supervisors in the shop would either be more or less demanding. The management staff has been relatively stable. Nearly all have been in the company at least seven years. They are predominantly older, white males with an average age of 54. Senior management felt that employees should recognize their efforts as in their best interests. Some senior management’s reacted unfavorably to any employee whose comments appeared to be critical of management. The president at that time did not discourage such behavior. He felt that such approaches toward employees were characteristic of that manager’s strength and skill. Management believed and followed the policy of letting employees know only what they needed to know and only when they needed to know it. There is territorialism between units. Boundaries of responsibility are to be honored and not crossed. One unit infringing on the role of another results in conflict. Some managers do not adhere to that unwritten code, but the longer service managers have grown up with it. HUMAN RESOURCES Within this structure, human resources were regarded as the traditional personnel department. Their clear roles included all paperwork processing, hiring and firing. They had responsibility for the administration of the compensation and benefits program. They were also brought in on disciplinary and employee relations issues. The human resources department consisted of the Vice President of Human Resources, a Manager of Compensation and Benefits, a Manager of Employment, a Manager of Employee Relations and a Manager of HRIS. At the next professional level was a Compensation and Benefits Administrator; a Recruiter, and an HRIS Analyst. There were four other support positions, all at the clerical level. Generally human resources did not initiate program design unless requested. This was due not to their hesitancy, but rather as a result of their belief that creativity in project initiation would not culturally fit. The Vice President of Human Resources was candid with the then company president about the problems 2
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