Ford and Sears Benchmarking

Ford Motor Company entered the automotive manufacturing business world on June 16, 1903 when Henry Ford and 11 business associates signed the company’s articles of incorporation (Ford Motor Company, 2007). Today Ford Motor Company is the second largest automotive manufacture in the industry. Ford was able to attain this level through mergers and acquisitions. In 1989 Ford acquired Jaguar for 2. 5 billion dollars (Ford Motor Company, 2007). To ensure a smooth transition and integration, Ford Motor was in need of restructuring.

As part of Ford’s revitalization plan, the company announced several restructuring actions, which included closing five plants, identifying new products for two plants, selling one plant, major downsizing and shift reductions at 11 facilities, line speed reductions, and changes to operating policies and procedures at nine plants (“Ford Motor Company Announces,” 2002). Sears is the fourth largest retail store in the nation worth over 50 billion dollars with approximately 3, 800 retail stores in the United States.

Sears is a sales leader for tools, home and gardens, home electronics, and automotive repair. The company has exclusive rights to brands, such as Kenmore, Craftsman, and Jaclyn Smith line of clothing in addition to other commodities (Sears Holdings Corporation, 2007). The merger between Kmart and Sears was finalized on March 24, 2005, creating the Sears Holdings Corporation. Sears Holdings will operate both companies and continue to market products under both companies (Sears Holdings Corporation, 2007).

Organizational Structure Alignment with Strategy at Ford and Sears To help Ford Motor Company with its revitalization plan, Human Resources (HR) was engaged to help facilitate the communication, training, employee selection, and various administrative tasks associated with the merger and acquisition. HR created a plan based on executing the business strategies to build great products and provide effective and efficient services similar to what InterClean wants to do. HR provided guidance for interacting with employees, suppliers, and dealers both pre- and post-merger.

HR actions included realigning human capital with existing market conditions. HR also had to interact with the union regarding the hourly workforce. Approximately 12,000 hourly employees were affected by Ford’s revitalization plans. Ford Motor Company’s management worked closely with HR to reassign as many plant employees as possible (“Ford Motor Company Announces,” 2002). The merger between Kmart and Sears presented quite a task for HR. HR had to implement policies by integrating HR programs, streamlining HR functions, and combining dual service and technology strategies (“Making Mergers Meaningful,” 2007).

During the merger, HR concentrated “on human capital skills development, compensation, and rewards and recognition programs. The merger presented an opportunity to establish best practices and provide a chance for HR to implement initiatives that would provide a productive working environment across all operations” (“Making Mergers Meaningful,” 2007, p. 1). InterClean can incorporate some of the best practices Kmart and Sears used during the merger process to address impending HR issues. HR’s goal was to align both companies’ strategies to realize each company’s full potential as a combined workforce.

HR had to implement a communication plan to inform the employees of the changes to company operations, staffing, and all other pertinent information. Kmart and Sears strategy is to utilize company branding and recognition for increased revenue and market share. In less than a month, key personnel positions were filled, and the organizations were starting to acquire some structure (“Making Mergers Meaningful,” 2007). HR analyzed both companies’ processes and implemented the best ones from each company and used the processes as best practices and lessons learned to ensure organizational alignment.

Recruiting and Selection Alternatives at Fords and Sears In order to remain a leader in the retail industry and capture more market share, Sears realized it would be more effective and profitable to merge with another company. Sears and Kmart were similar in products and service each company offered the consumer. HR’s tasks involved fitting the right people to the right job from both companies. HR had to develop selection criteria that would ensure both companies received knowledge employees with the necessary skills sets to help the companies remain competitive in the marketplace.

Cross training was another consideration because Sears believed that cross training employees leads to critical and creative thinking, which inspires innovation, motivation, and employees who can contribute more to the company’s bottom line. HR used Sears’s name recognition to recruit potential employment candidates (“Making Mergers Meaningful,” 2007). Separating and Retaining Employees at Ford and Sears HR ensured employees were aware of the acquisition and what the perceived outcome would be. HR implemented communication channels to keep employees informed of all changes.

HR provided a culture that was fast paced and action oriented (“Making Mergers Meaningful,” 2007). HR implemented training programs that included leadership training, cultural differences and sensitivity training, and leading diverse team training, all of which were mandatory training. Managing change was one of HR’s accountabilities. Networking was a way to reduce tension between the two workforces in addition to getting a feel for which skill sets each employee possesses and the areas that would need the most help during the transition. Some positions were scaled back or eliminated due to duplication of effort.

Sears and Kmart improved job satisfaction by providing a flexible and positive work environment (“Making Mergers Meaningful,” 2007). Ford Motor Company improved employee job satisfaction to address compensation issues by paying double the daily wage and reducing the work schedule for employees (“Ford Motor Company Announces,” 2002). Training and Development Alternatives at Ford and Sears Both Ford Motor Company’s and Sears Holding Corporation’s training and development plans consist of diversity, teaming, ethics, and EEO training to ensure transactions are handled in an ethical manner.

“Ford Motor Company recognizes that diversity is a distinct advantage and one that is valued and embraced” (“Ford Motor Company Announces,” 2002, p. 1). Ford employees are put through rigorous teaming, cross training, diversity, and EEO training. HR implemented and oversaw a leadership development program to provide training and guidance to leaders so both companies would have the necessary skill sets to remain as leaders in each company’s respective industry. Employees were given the opportunities to learn new skills and enhance existing skills to secure a position in either company.

Cross training was beneficial during the Sears Kmart merger, which allows for greater flexibility and personnel movement (Sears Holding Corporation, 2007). Benchmarking of InterClean with Ford and Sears InterClean faces many human resources issues in its pursuit of business growth. The proven and successful experiences at Ford and Sears should prove to be beneficial to InterClean in resolving these issues through realignment of its workforce, human capital development, cross training of employees, and diversity in teams. References Ford Motor Company, (2007). Ford Motor Company – History.

Retrieved September 01, 2007, from http://www. ford. com/en/heritage/history/default. htm Ford Motor Company announces restructuring actions. (2002, January 12). Ford Motor Company announces restructuring actions. Retrieved September 2, 2007, from HR Guide Human Resources Web site: http://www. hrmguide. net/usa/relations/ford_revitalization. htm Making mergers meaningful, (2007). HR Management . Retrieved August 31, 2007 from http://www. hrmreport. com/pastissue/article. asp? art=25620&issue=145 Sears Holdings Corporation, (2007). Welcome to Sears Holdings. Retrieved September 01, 2007 from http://www. searsholdings. com/