“Human Resource of Development Course”

Background information: Success at Redhill
In January 1990, Chief Engineer Dudley Bell decided that the breakdowns in the engineering section of Redhill Refineries (a company in the Group Red Corporation) were unacceptably high. In addition, the cost of downtime, spares and overtime were prohibitive.
He discussed the problem with the Training Manager, Abdulla Alqahtani. Abdulla approached the divisional and sectional engineers who confirmed that the situation was deteriorating. Some of them thought it was out of control.
Together they decided to investigate and resolve the problem.
After detailed analysis, they agreed that the prime causes of the problem seemed to be the following:
The extreme shortage of artisans in the country was causing:
• that only six or seven out of ten artisans required were employed at any one time;
• a high artisan turn-over; and
• low quality artisans available.
Due to historic factors and legal agreements, the semi-skilled workforce was being hopelessly under-trained and under-utilised. To fill this gap the artisans performed a large number of tasks that were not of a skilled type.
They decided to solve the problem by training the semi-skilled engineering maintenance workers to perform those artisan tasks that were not highly skilled. This comprised about 80% of the qualified artisans’ current job. The semi-skilled workers would then report directly to the engineering foreman and be available to perform the semi-skilled tasks.
Two particular problems faced them in conducting this project:
• they could not breach the employment agreement; and
• they could not risk the perception of job fragmentation, which might result in industrial action by the artisans.
To conduct the project the training manager and chief engineer set up a project team that consisted of:
? Chief engineer
? Section engineer
? An elected artisan
? Engineering foreman
? Two semi-skilled workers
? Manpower Services Manager
? An apprentice
? Training Officer (responsible for engineering training)
? Fitter Instructor
After a number of discussions and arguments the project team agreed to an objective:
To have each maintenance engineering task allocated efficiently to appropriately graded staff.
A feedback system was established whereby each step of the action plan and the results were communicated to all employees affected by the change. Concerns and queries were answered and acted upon by the project team. It was also agreed that, at each stage of the project, the affected employees would be consulted and agreement reached with them.
The action plan stages were:
? Each artisan task was analysed by an artisan and apprentice. They were required to consult as many other artisans, apprentices and workers as possible.
? Each task analysis, when completed, was approved by the artisans, Engineering Department, and management.
? Each task was graded according to the accepted job grading system.
? Artisans, Engineering Department, and management reviewed each grading.
? The most appropriate competent artisan was selected and trained as a trainer.
? This artisan and the engineering training officer developed a course for the workers.
? The trainees were selected on current performance and assessed potential.
? Evaluation was planned to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to develop into his or her new roles.
A task force consisting of the section engineer, foreman, an artisan then planned manpower requirements by determining:
• frequency of need for each task; and
• time taken to do each task.
This task force then grouped the tasks according to grade and possibility of being done by one person. They also calculated the number of people required in each group.
The chief engineer, the general manager of the refinery as well as the technical director of the Group Red Corporation approved these plans.
The results achieved indicated that the project was extremely successful. Some of the key successes were:
A decrease in manpower requirements: 9 artisans, 10 semi-skilled workers and ten labourers.
Breakdowns decreased dramatically and savings in downtime, spares and overtime were experienced (up to AED1.5M in the first year).
Morale improved vastly.
Failure at Industrial Construction
As a result of the success achieved at Redhill refinery, the Training Manager, Abdulla Alqahtani decided to conduct a similar project at Industrial Construction (another division of Group Red Corporation). IC, an industrial plant construction company, was continuously under pressure to meet tight commissioning deadlines.
Again the objective was to train and develop semi-skilled workers to perform the large part of the qualified artisans’ task that was not skilled work.
Abdulla persuaded the MD and resident engineer to agree to the project and to assist the training department in conducting it.
Abdulla set up a project team. This time it consisted of:
? himself;
? the technical director of Group Red;
? the MD of IC;
? the resident engineer;
? the manpower services manager; and
? the training officer.
He approached the engineering foreman for his participation but eventually had to exclude him as he “just wasn’t interested”.
The project team agreed that their objective was to “reshape the engineering function and be ready for commissioning ahead of target”. If they could achieve this, they could have more time for final tests with the client and even allow the client early access to the facility for training purposes.
The action plan consisted of the following stages:
• When finalised, each task analysis was approved by the resident engineer.
• The training officer graded each step for the task.
• The resident engineer approved the grading.
The engineering training officer then planned manpower requirements according to his calculations of the frequency and time requirements of each task. He then grouped the tasks according to grade and estimated the number of people required at each grade.
The resident engineer approved the manpower plans.
The training officer compiled the course, selected the trainees, had the selection approved by the resident engineer and MD, and did the training.
The project team evaluated the results:
There was no reduction in artisan staff, but four trainees that had been trained as semi-skilled had to be upgraded to a higher job grading.
Overtime soared unabated.
Dissatisfaction became so evident that they reverted to the former system and attitudes towards the situation were extremely negative.
Questions (use tables or lists for your answers, rather than essays)
2a)?Apply the Mager & Pipe TNA flowchart to the Red Hill project and identify the cause of the performance gap.
4a)?What is the main reason for the IC project failure? Refer to HRD management principles and evidence from the case to support your arguments in a short essay of not more than 200 words.

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