Please read the two cases below and answer the questions at the end of each case. Answers must be in American English.
1. Jones Feed and Seed is a large regional warehouse that supplies agricultural products to retail stores. These products include pesticides that are used to treat animals and herbicides that are used to improve crops. For its warehouse operations, the company generally hires employees who have just finished high school. These employees work under the supervision of a more senior laborer, who is usually someone with about one year of experience working in the warehouse. The supervisor is in charge of interviewing job candidates and normally makes final hiring decisions.
Job Description
Receive and count stock items and record data manually or using a computer.
Pack and unpack items to be stocked on shelves in stockrooms, warehouses, or storage yards.
Verify inventory computations by comparing them to physical counts of stock and investigate discrepancies or adjust errors.
Store items in an orderly and accessible manner in warehouses, tool rooms, supply rooms, or other areas.
Mark stock items using identification tags, stamps, electric marking tools, or other labeling equipment.
Clean and maintain supplies, tools, equipment, and storage areas in order to ensure compliance with safety regulations.
Determine proper storage methods, identification, and stock location based on turnover, environmental factors, and physical capabilities of facilities.
Keep records on the use and/or damage of stock or stock handling equipment.
Move controls to drive gasoline or electric-powered trucks, cars, or tractors and transport materials between loading, processing, and storage areas.
Move levers and controls that operate lifting devices, such as forklifts, lift beams and swivel-hooks, hoists, and elevating platforms, in order to load, unload, transport, and stack material.
Position lifting devices under, over, or around loaded pallets, skids, and boxes, and secure material or products for transport to designated areas.
Manually load or unload materials onto or off pallets, skids, platforms, cars, or lifting devices.
Load, unload, and identify building materials, machinery, and tools and distribute them to the appropriate locations, according to project plans and specifications.
What training would you provide to the supervisors who conduct job interviews?
What are some primary safety concerns that the company should have about the warehouse operation?
What OSHA guidelines do the company need to follow and communicate to employees?
What kind of disabilities do you think could be reasonably accommodated for this job position?
Source: Information for job description from (Links to an external site.).
2. Josh’s Toy Manufacturing is a manufacturer of small toys that are included in kids’ meals at fast-food restaurants. Josh uses plastic injection technology to produce toys efficiently. Price is the main criterion restaurant chains use to determine whether they will buy toys from Josh’s or some other manufacturer.
One assembly line for toy manufacturing at Josh’s has four machines. Each machine requires an operator. Operator skill is important since an effective operator can often manufacture toys twice as fast as an ineffective operator. The four operators on the assembly line at Josh’s were hired a year ago when the new line began operation. Machine 1 is very loud, making its operation the least desirable job. Machines 2 and 3 are very similar and require operators to constantly push a variety of levers. Working on Machine 4 is the easiest job, as the operator does little more than monitor progress and push-buttons. The four operators currently rotate every hour so that each operator spends two hours on each machine during an eight-hour workday.
Chart Image attached (chart.jpg)
Supervisors have noted that production output varies depending on which operator is working on which machine. The chart shows this variance.
Analysis suggests that lower production during Hour 2 mostly results from Fred’s having trouble working with Machine 1. The noise bothers him more than the others, and he often takes short breaks to walk away from the machine and regain his composure. The relative high productivity during Hour 3 can be traced to having Bonnie work on Machine 4. Bonnie finds it especially difficult to work on Machines 2 and 3.
Given their current production process, the four operators produce an average of 2,610 units each day. If they worked all day in the Hour 3 configuration they could average 3,200 units each day, which would be a production increase of over 22 percent.
Do you recommend that the four machine operators continue to switch machines every hour? Would you recommend that the operators are permanently assigned to the machines they currently operate during Hour 3? What do you think would be the consequences of any changes you might recommend?
How can the principles of the mechanistic approach to job design inform a decision about how to assign workers to machines? What about the principles of the motivational approach? the perceptual approach? the biological approach?
How could job analysis be used to improve this assembly line?

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