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Assignment – Crofts Food

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  • Category: Food

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From my understanding Croft Foods have certainly demonstrated clear leadership in rather abstract terms. They have tried to reduce there production costs to an absolute minimum whilst attempting to produce and market as many products as possible.

Klaus made effective communications with the employees and established the need to purchase new machinery which may have allowed the factory to work more efficiently and generate more profit. Leadership here was demonstrated by upper management conversing, with the factory floor directly, and making relevant employees aware of future developments, for example the fact that “further machinery is due to be installed later this year”.

By recognizing a need with-in the market to remain competitive, and also delivery through spent time with employees.

“Effective purchasing management and professional buying works better when a good strategic framework exists. Commonly, relationships between suppliers and customers are driven by personalities, or the needs of the moment, whereas relationships and purchasing strategy should ideally be based on a combination of factors reflecting the nature of each purchasing area, including: risk, complexity, value, the market and basic matters of supply and demand” 1 This theory suggests there is a vast array of issues which need to addressed whilst purchasing. There was obviously a need to work more efficiently, create more gross income, and allow employees to work to their optimum.

In addition to satisfying the above, employees also felt listened too. Also by remaining distanced at suitable times from the factory floor at times they have been able to concentrate and free up time for other issues that may arise such as possible redundancies.

Although the basic concept of these decisions may have necessary; it has all the hall marks of a ‘knee jerk reaction’. The decision to install new machinery without additional training was inevitably going to cause a skills gap and evidently cause a low working morale to sink further.

Advice from the machinery supplier could have been sought after to perhaps provide guidance on the new machinery and thus offer advice on employee training. This would have leaded to a more structured and organised approach to productivity as well as improve factory morale. A pre-evaluation assessment of the new equipment could prevented lost time spent in people trying to operate it. If a particular ‘project manager’ would be assigned to foresee the perspective changes through, this may have enabled a set of targets to be established.

The targets could state a schedule of events that would follow, allowing evaluations and potential problems to be addressed before moving on the next phase of the programme. A comprehensive concern for the quality of factory working conditions should be considered with-in every new phase. Implementing employee training programmes would ensure, everyone new how to operate the new technology, as well as improve their self-esteem. The company should have in place a Human Resources Manager (HRM); this would have lead to actively facilitating the learning, growth and development of individuals. The HRM would be responsible for ‘training with strategy’. This person should identify the skills needed by the employees, and then draw a suitable plan of action to show how investment, training and development will meet business goals and objectives.

According to Management And Organisational Behaviour2 this would involve:-

> ” The view that continuous training would be the norm”

> The “recognition of the need to update existing skills… and train new skills”

> Hence, multi-skilled training planes for each employee should be incorporated.

Improving knowledge and skills through regular training will have several knock on effects. Such as increasing confidence, motivation and commitment are all contributing factors. On the job training would a chance for Croft’s to demonstrate the standards they expect to receive from their employees and would have prevented employees from producing poor quality products.

However, it is vital that the trainer has an excellent knowledge and coaching skills, so as not to pass on potential bad habits. A cost analysis of this procedure would be beneficial to establish how worth while and effective this method could prove.

In order to incorporate these ideas effectively a focus group for the whole company needs to be drawn up. This could consist of perhaps just a couple of elected employees to voice the needs of the factory floor as well as representatives from every tier of management. A clear and concise plan should be laid out to under pin objections and then work coherently to overcome them. This meeting should be directed by a senior member of staff who would maintain order throughout mutual discussion. Comments offered should be constructive and listened too. By coherent thought and planning all staff members could feel involved in the incorporation of new machinery and relevant training plans.

By having a focused group discussion a greater clarity will be achieved, this will prevent the discussion from turning into a complaining session. Minutes should be taken and comments dealt with and action taken by the responsible party. On going problem would then be dealt with as progress updates could be given on a regular basis.

In essence a greater level of evaluation and communication would have been necessary to achieve better results.


One specific area which has been addressed is that most of the managers seem to male whilst those on the working on the factory floor seem to female. This could simply be resolved having a usable and enforced Equal Opportunities Policy (EOP) in place. The EOP for Croft’s must comply with the Equal Pay Act of 1920 and The Sex Discrimination Act was introduced in December 1975: This aims to “eliminate the discrimination between men and women in terms of their… contracts of employment and what they are doing.” 3

Without addressing women’s responsibilities at home as well as at work, we’ll continue to lose out on women’s talent – and ignoring the potential contribution that women can make will cost Britain dear in terms of productivity.

The key to getting more women to the top is by tackling the underlying assumptions which put women with children on the ‘Mummy track.’

According to the latest statistics around 20% of women face dismissal or financial loss as a result of a pregnancy. One third of women of mothers, more than one in ten fathers and nearly one in five people with another unpaid caring role have given up or turned down a job because of their caring responsibilities.

By enforcing such policies there will be greater chance for employees to climb the career ladder and thus have better representation at all managerial tiers. Any form of discrimination is always bad for business, EOP is cost effective, and manifests a range of others profit related benefits.

Every employee should be made aware of the EOP and have their own copy, and hence have the opportunity for career development. This in itself will improve staff morale.

Reviews should be taken of Croft’s recruitment policies to ensure discrimination is no apart of the company’s procedure; this avoids litigation and establishes good working relations for customers, managers, and factory floor workers. Monitoring the recruitment procedures will eliminate feelings such as expressed by one worker in the given script.

There are several forms hat that sex discrimination may be taking place here. They are:-

Direct Discrimination: Where a woman (or man) is treated less favourably than a man (or woman) on the grounds of her (or his) sex. Where a married or unmarried person is treated less favourably than an unmarried or married person of the same sex on grounds of marital status.

Indirect Discrimination: Where a unjustifiable requirement or condition is applied equally to both sexes but has a disproportionately adverse effect on one sex, because the proportion of one sex which can comply with it is considerably smaller than the proportion of the other sex. The inability to comply, must also have a detrimental effect, such as not being promoted or selected. For the future, the Government propose to amend the Sex Discrimination Act so that it also refers to someone applying a requirement, condition or practice which causes detriment to a higher proportion of one sex because they cannot comply with it.

Morale will be improved through compliance with this policy as the attitude towards management would change. As they currently feel “no-one ever listens”, a greater proportion of management being female may smooth out factory workers evident negative view of the ‘male dominated management system’.

Task 3 (a)

Mc Donald’s have had an Equal Opportunities Policy (EOP) since it began in 1954 in the USA under the following guidelines:

1) High recruitment standards

2) Local sourcing of staff where possible

3) The skills, talents and performance of staff matter; gender, marital status, disability, race, colour, nationality or ethnic origin do not

4) Providing a safe and secure working environment

5) Staff should have opportunities for training and development

6) Jobs with the company should include career opportunities

7) There should be challenges and rewards

8) Staff pay should reflect performance

9) There should be good communication with staff

10) The education of staff matters 4

This policy takes an extremely unbiased approach. By being short and concise it enables readers of all educational back grounds to have an understanding of the underlying EOP.

The wording of the policy has pre analysed any potential prejudice against gender, marital status, disability, race, colour, nationality or ethnic origin, and neutralised them. However, guideline number eight has been the subject of much controversy and has provided Mc Donald’s with poor public relations. From my the experiences of peers Mc Donald’s have paid extremely low wages in comparison with it’s competitors (‘Burger King’ and ‘Subway’).

The top rate that McDonald’s will pay someone over the age of 18 is �4.60 per hour. Under 18’s get approximately �3.90 per hour. Managers get in the region of �16,000 per year (in comparison to the wages of say, a manager of Aldi, who would get between �30,000 and �40,000 per year). McDonald’s don’t even pay overtime.

The huge corparation has also been acused of descriminating against the Arab community. In early 2004, following an article in Al-Ahram by journalist Jonathan Cook, EI began looking into the case of Abeer Zinaty, a McDonald’s Israel employee who was fired from the fast food chain. It was alleged that Zinaty was fired from McDonald’s for speaking Arabic on the job. After publishing an Action Item on the case, asking EI readers to contact McDonald’s USA to inquire about the matter, McDonald’s confirmed to EI that its Israeli restaurants do indeed ban its employees from speaking Arabic and requires them to speak Hebrew. This predicament shows discrimination and manifest hypocrisy in view of it’s own policies, and PR statements.

In Mc Donald’s defence they could argue that they have provided millions of employment opportunities which are always expanding. They always have adhered to the law in view of the National Minimum Wage.

Mc Donald’s have also carried out an extensive training programme with clear defined targets at every tier of employee status. McDonald’s is a pioneer in providing training to its employees and the employees of its independent franchisees. The management training centre of McDonald’s is Hamburger University, located in a 130,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility at Oak Brook, Illinois, with a faculty of 30 resident professors.

‘The extensive training provided at this training centre includes basics of their operations and various aspects of doing business. The average size of classes has grown from an about 10 in the founding year of 1961 to more than 200 per class presently. Almost 65,000 managers in McDonald’s restaurants have graduated from Hamburger University till date.

The training provided at this university extends across the boundaries of nations and languages. The translators and electronic equipment have enabled professors to teach and communicate in 22 languages at one time. McDonald’s also manages ten international training centers, including Hamburger Universities in England, Japan, Germany and Australia’. 5

This has enabled senior management to have the highest possible level of education to fulfil there job profiles and determine how best to develop their assigned areas.

On a more localised basis, Mc Donald’s have also developed a series of good working practise guidelines that enable even a Crew Member to develop into potential management material. Crew Members are trained by suitably qualified members of staff to the point of knowing how long in seconds each item of food needs to be cooked. National Vocational Qualifications can be obtained which could be used in employment post Mc Donald’s. This means that regardless of being a business graduate or a Crew Member everyone has the opportunity to progress to upper management levels depending on potential abilities.

Having adopted a policy such as this has enabled them to avoid any discrimination of educational status or background. They also claim to recruit local people, providing jobs for local people as opposed to moving people in. From an ethical point of view this could good for building community relations and adding economic growth, which may in turn attract further businesses to the area.

On the opposing side, views stating that this means businesses overrun a particular area and could over stretch emergency services due to the area being unprepared for the sudden influx of people.

Having this view could possibly bring to mind thoughts of a ‘profit grabbing company’ which had little genuine regard for welfare of the local community. Having already established a reputation for this, they are now hot topic when discussing unethical and political correctness.


The NHS has long since been regarded as an exemplar in delivering effective. The reason for having this is because it does the following:-

> It satisfies legal criteria

> It seeks to improve working conditions i.e. Pensions and Christmas dinners.

> It makes a particular point of non discriminating recruitment and career advancement policies which allow a fair working environment for all

> Clearly defined working expectations of employer working relations

> Regular health and safety checks

> An active pay scale reflective of responsibilities and education

This list could be endless and is not with out fault in practise. Yet it does provide a possible frame for a Croft’s Foods Human Resources Policy. Which based on my knowledge and understanding of the NHS’s concepts could be as follows.

Croft Food Human Resources Policy Statement

1) This policy will always be adhered to without exception; failure to comply may result in disciplinary action.

Croft’s Foods will endeavour to provide adequate training for all members of staff. Your named training manager (name inserted here) will provide details of the programme All employees are expected to work with-in set guidelines to carry work related tasks this must take into account the following:-

Health and Safety

All employees are expected to carry out tasks in a tidey fashion suitable for that befitting a food factory. Work areas must be clear and made free of obstructions. COSH will always be adhered to, nny breaches of Health and Safety policies should be addressed to the ‘Appointed Person.’ The Apointed Person should treat the matter with urgentcy correcting the problem, followed by a comprehensive evaluation of preventative measures for the future.

All employees are responcible for maintaining safe working conditions not only for themselves but for everyone. Health & Safety audits will be carried out on a annual basis.


All employees are expected to notify an absence at least one hour before the start of a shift so suitable cover can be provided. Repeated cases of absentisim will be reviewed on a case by case basis. And may involve disiplinery action in exceptional cases. Company absentism and puctuality will be monitered with view to improvement


The skills, talents and performance of staff matter to Croft Food’s; gender, marital status, disability, race, colour, nationality or ethnic origin do not. We seek to develop areas of under represented current minorities such as those of the female gender amongst management; and those of the male gender amongst factory workers.

Expectations and Limitations

All employees can expect a fair performance related pay which works on the basis of company loyalty and productivity. Performance related pay will reflect the level of success or decline, which ever is relevant. Employees are expected to speak to the nominated ‘team leader’ regarding any problems which it would like to be addressed to management in connection with ideas.

Management whom are responsible to Managerial Director; must remain diligent to the concerns and welfare of fellow employees never abusing their positions. Stakeholder shares in Croft foods will be awarded on performance and loyalty basis. Senior Management will have their company shares capped.


Training for all employees will be mandatory.


These policies will be reviewed on a regular basis in keeping with the interests of every employee at Croft Foods.


Management and Organizational Behaviour, Prentice Hall, Seventh Edition 2005 by Laurie J. Mullins2





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