Case study 2 – deciding whether to use flexible staffing | BUSI 643 – Workforce Planning and Employment | Liberty University

Case study must be a minimum of 3-4 pages of original discussion and analysis, not counting the title page, reference page, figures, tables, and appendixes. The statements in each Case Study must be supported by at least 1 scholarly reference, cited throughout the narrative and placed on the reference list in the APA format. Organize content under Level 1 headings. Case Study assigned questions are listed in the chart below. 


The Kaiser Manufacturing Company (KMC) has been in existence for over 50 years. Its main products are specialty implements for use in both the crop and dairy herd sides of the agricultural business. Products include special attachments to tractors, combines, discers, and add-on devices for milking and feeding equipment that enhance the performance and safety of the equipment.

KMC has a small corporate office plus four manufacturing plants (two in the Midwest and two in the south). It has a core workforce of 725 production workers, 30 clericals, 32 engineers and professional workers, and 41 managers. All employees are full-time, and KMC has never used either part-time or temporary workers. Those in charge of staffing feel very strongly that the strategy of using only a core workforce has paid big dividends over the years in attracting and retaining a committed and highly productive workforce. 

Sales have been virtually flat at $175 million annually since 2012. At the same time, KMC began to experience more erratic placement of orders for its products, making sales less predictable. This appears to be a reflection of more turbulent weather patterns, large swings in interest rates, new entrants into the specialty markets, and general uncertainty about the future direction and growth in the agricultural industry. Increased unpredictability in sales has been accompanied by steadily rising labor costs. This has been due to KMC’s increasingly older workforce, as well as shortages of all types of workers (particularly production workers) in the immediate labor markets surrounding the plants.

Assume you are the HR manager responsible for staffing and training at KMC. You have just been contacted by a representative of the Flexible Staffing Services (FSS) Company, Mr. Tom Jacoby. Mr. Jacoby has proposed meeting with you and the president of KMC, Mr. Herman Kaiser, to talk about FSS and how it might be of service to KMC. You and Mr. Kaiser agree to meet with Mr. Jacoby. At that meeting, Mr. Jacoby makes a formal presentation to you in which he describes the services, operation, and fees of FSS, as well as highlights the advantages of using a more flexible workforce. During that meeting, you learn the following from Mr. Jacoby.

FSS is a recent entrant into what is called the staffing industry. Its general purpose is to furnish qualified employees to companies (customers) on an as-needed basis, thus helping the customer implement a flexible staffing strategy. It furnishes employees in four major groups: production, clerical, technical, and professional/managerial. Both full-time and part-time employees are available in each of these groups. Employees may be furnished to the customer on a strictly temporary basis (“temps”), or on a “temp-to-perm” basis in which the employees convert from being temporary employees of FSS to being a regular employee of the customer after a 90- day probationary period.

For both the temp and temp-to-perm arrangements, FSS offers the following services. In each of the four employee groups it will recruit, select, and hire people to work for FSS, which will in turn lease them to the customer. FSS performs all recruitment, selection, and employment activities. It uses a standard selection system used for all applicants, composed of an application blank, reference checks, drug testing, and a medical exam (given after making a job offer). It also offers customized selection plans in which the customer chooses from among a set of special skills tests, a personality test, an honesty test, and background investigations. Based on the standard and/or customer assessments, FSS refers to the customer what it views as the top candidates. FSS tries to furnish two people for every vacancy, and the customer chooses from between the two. 

New hires at FSS receive a base wage that is like the market wage, as well as close to the wage of the customer’s employees with whom they will be directly working. In addition, new hires receive a paid vacation (one week for every six months of employment, up to four weeks), health insurance (with a 25% employee co-pay), and optional participation in a 401(k) plan. FSS performs and pays for all payroll functions and deductions. It also pays the premiums for workers’ compensation and unemployment compensation.

FSS charges the customers as follows. There is a standard fee per employee furnished of 1.55 x base wage x hours worked per week. The 1.55 is labeled “mark-up”; it covers all FSS’s costs (staffing, insurance, benefits, administration) plus a profit margin. On top of the standard fee is an additional fee for customized selection services. This fee ranges from .50 to .90 x base wage x hours worked per week. Finally, there is a special one-time fee for temp-to-perm employees (a finder’s fee of one month’s pay) payable after the employee successfully completes the 90-day probationary period and becomes an employee of the customer.

Mr. Jacoby concludes his presentation by stressing three advantages of flexible staffing as provided by FSS. First, use of FSS employees on an as-needed basis will give KMC greater flexibility in its staffing to match fluctuating product demand, as well as movement from completely fixed labor costs to more variable labor costs. Second, FSS provides considerable administrative convenience, relieving KMC of most of the burden of recruitment, selection, and payrolling.  Finally, KMC will experience considerable freedom from litigation (workers’ compensation, EEO, torts) since FSS and not KMC will be the employer.

After Mr. Jacoby’s presentation, Mr. Kaiser tells you he is favorably impressed but that the organization clearly needs to do some more thinking before they embarks on the path of flexible staffing and use of FSS as its provider. He asks you to prepare a brief preliminary report, including the following:

1. A summary of the possible advantages and disadvantages of flexible staffing.

2. A summary of the advantages and disadvantages of using FSS as a service provider.

3. A summary of the additional information you recommend gathering and using as part of the decision-making process.

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