Maple Leaf Shoe Ltd.’s Human Resource Management


The modern world is the world of computerization and the implementation of other innovative technologies in manufacturing. Still, it is a commonly accepted fact that human resources will never be replaced with computers. One of the main problems in the modern world and especially in the time of the crisis is the correct distribution of the workers along with proper and effective management. It is the universal truth that the correct management and division of workers in manufacturing in the collaboration with the automatization and computer technologies implementation may lead to an increase in productions. Taking the example of Maple Leaf Shoe Ltd, we are going to conduct the following work, to analyze the situation that is created in the company with the human resources, to evaluate the effectiveness of the existing scheme of workers division, and to offer some suggestions to the existing problems with the aim to improve the production via correct human resource management.

Problem Statement

Maple Leaf Shoe Ltd is a company that specializes in the shoe production with nearly 400 employees in the Ontario plant and about 380 people in other offices in Canada and in the world. The cost of production in the company increases slowly but steadily. Labor costs number nearly 53% of manufacturing costs. The existing problem in the company is that labor costs are enormously high in the relation to the productivity level. In other words, the productivity level had not increased recently in spite of the automatization of some parts of manufacturing. How to increase the productivity level via division of human resources is the problem we are going to solve.

Analysis of Alternatives

In particular, analyzing production and workforce statistics, it should be concluded that the number of employees was not the factor of the production increase. 65 employees produced 50 pairs of shoes in 1978, and in 2006 the proportion is the same, 133 employees produce 105 pairs of shoes. The proportion is unchangeable and it is wrong. The urgent methods should be conducted both in the human resource management reorganization, in the marketing sphere, and target markets structure.

Before analyzing the alternatives that may be implemented in the company, the very problems should be considered. The information about existing problems and a summary of existing situations in manufacturing will be taken out of Jane Reynolds’ analysis that was conducted in the company. Jean Reynolds is a Special Assistant in the Human Resources Division in the firm and we are going to present some pieces of advice on how the company’s human resources should be reorganized according to her report.

First of all, the analysis of the operations should be conducted. There are four different operations in manufacturing that people have to perform, cutting, shaping, assembling, and finishing. It should be noted that the difficulty of work performance increases from cutting to finishing. All people are taken for cutting positions and with the experience gain, they shift to the higher levels. Analyzing the information about movements of workers across the four operations in 2005-2006, it may be concluded that most of the employees wanted to be reassigned from shaping (8 people). It is crucial to notice that 2 employees returned to the previous level of task performance, from assembling to shaping. None wanted to be moved from performing the finishing task. Coming out of the existing information, it should be concluded that the tactics the company has chosen in the relation to the employees hiring are correct (to hire for cutting and them shit them to positions with more complex tasks).

Employees should be highly motivated. Looking at the statistics, it is obvious that more people want to be reassigned to further tasks, and giving the best ones an opportunity to move further may be one of the main methods for productivity increase. Thus, people should be represented with strict instructions, both the amount of the done work should increase along with the quality. Employees are to know that they should not just increase the number of items they work with but also the quality.

As it is seen from the report, 33% of cutters will be substituted for autmatized machines. It is predicted that the rate of cutting production will increase and the necessity in other task performance will be increased. One of the suggestions is to train the cutting staff to perform new tasks and send other departments for professional development courses. Let us explain what will happen. The cutting process will be automozed and it will lead to an increase in productivity as machines work faster and with constant quality. The increase of the cutting products will influence the other departments. Those employees who are dismissed from cutting positions will be trained to perform the other three operations. To increase the productivity and quality of the other operations, it is necessary to conduct professional development courses at least once per year.

The problem of staff aging is rather sharp in the company. Each year, from 3% to 8% of the staff retire. The rate is rather high. The company should create a chart where presents the situation of retiring in the next several years. The company should predict the situation and take new employees with the perspective to substitute them for those who will retire. It is also advisable to restrict the age of the hiring employees, for example, not take those whose age is above 30. Some company leaders think that it is not desirable to hire young people without practical experience. It should be mentioned that students who have just graduated from the Universities have a great many innovative ideas that may be implemented in the working process even though they do not have practical experience. One of the main disadvantages is that some time and financial costs should be spent to give a young employee to obtain practical skills. In fact, all these attempts will be rewarded via ideas and fresh thinking of young employees.

Furthermore, the decision of the reduction of the staff and automatization of processes should be completed in several stages and without cardinal decisions. First of all, the auditorial company should conduct an analysis of the company and present its verdict. Referencing the experience of the other companies and the auditorial verdict, the company managers should conclude which parts of the manufacturing may be automated. Automatization of the process leads to the reduction of labor costs, but in fact, not all processes may be automated with the highest effectiveness. When the parts of manufacturing which are going to be automated are identified, it is high time to consider the effects. Remembering the situation with cutting automatization when the other departments had to work with increased productivity, the same has to happen with the other departments. The staff occupied with tasks that are going to be automated should be trained and the other positions should be offered them.

The increase of the outlet will lead to the increase of the demand for the company products. The expansion of production should be planned for the nearest future. It may lead to expenses that must be incurred and the results will return them. The expansion of the outlet will give the company an opportunity to earn more on the products turnover. Still, the staff of the company should be increased. In fact, there is the other case, when the company may identify the most unprofitable outlet and try to reorganize the staff in such a way that to leave that outlet and shift to the new one.

The statistics show that the shoe manufacturing declines each year. The following situation is created because of international competition and the manufacturing changes will not influence the process, the marketing procedures should be provided. First of all, the marketing research should be conducted with the aim to create a list of the main company’s competitors in the field. Then, the main strategies of the competitors should be identified along with the methods they use to achieve the better results.

The other part of the marketing research is the analysis of market demand and supply in the country and in the world. The company will have to pay much attention to the products that are in high demand. The other step is the advertizing campaign. Hiring a professional company, the company may be sure in the high quality of advertizing campaign and results achieving. Though, the company should correlate its budget and be sure that it is able to afford such costs. The advertizing campaign should be directed to several aspects. First, taking into account the new outlet, the ads should announce the audience with the new range of products. Moreover, the quality of the products should be referenced to.


Nevertheless, taking into account previous information it should be concluded that a number of actions should be conducted in order to increase the effectiveness of the production. The financial opportunities of the company should be taken into account. First of all, the planned automatization of some departments of manufacturing should be provided with the aim to increase the effectiveness and reduce the costs on labor. Second, the training of the staff should be completed, both the training of those who are going to be reassigned to new tasks and with the aim of professional development. Third, the aging problem should be decided via hiring people less than 30 years old with experience and those who have just graduated from the Universities without practical experience still with great amount of fresh ideas and innovative methods and ways of problems solving. Furthermore, the staff should be greatly motivated by means of offering higher positions and shift to the other, more creative assignments. This will increase the productivity and quality of the production. The new outlet may be one of the opportunities to increase the manufacturing and expand production. The last stage of the company renewing process division is the advertizing campaign.


Here is the plan and the schedule of the works that will be completed within the next several months.

  • Week 1 – the beginning of the training programs for two groups (retraining and professional development). The courses should last for two weeks with both theoretical and practical lessons after work. 10 lessons in general should be completed. People should be motivated in this time to produce faster the items of better quality. Till the time of the assignment shift, employees will know what they need to do to get higher salary and higher position.
  • Week 3 – when the training is completed, the automatization of the working process should be started along with the shift of the employees to their new positions and representation them with their new responsibilities. It is one of the main weeks of the whole reorganization process, as the production of a new type of products should be started. This process will last for about a month to flow smooth and in a balanced manner. Moreover, the advertising campaign should start this week to make the target audience be ready for the appearance of the new product on the market.

On the 6th week the aging problem should be decided. It is impossible to replace all staff of the retired age, still, it is possible to find the most appropriate candidates to substitute them.

So, it may be concluded that the active reorganization will be completed in about a half a year. The aging problem will not be solved till that time, as some time should pass to renew the whole staff close to retiring.

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