Yamato Transport: Part-time Employment of Housewives
(9 pages of text)
Yamato Transport Co., Ltd. innovatively used the field cast model of housewives as part-time employees to meet the increasing delivery demands of morning peak-load hours. The housewives provided Yamato with a cost-efficient source of human resources and the nimbleness to adjust its staff deployment to respond reliably and quickly to customers’ needs. A series of recruitment, training, and compensation and appraisal processes was designed for the field cast model.
The case outlines the challenges with the implementation of the field cast model and the decision facing Yamato’s managers of whether to expand it throughout the company’s Japanese operations. Yamato’s managers were largely satisfied with the progress of the field cast model; although field casts made up less than 2 per cent of the delivery manpower at Yamato, they played a crucial role in improving customer satisfaction levels and lowering parcel delivery costs. However, the implications of the expansion plan were multi-dimensional. At an operational level, the inconsistency in the field casts’ performance could be magnified as the number of field casts continued to increase over the coming months. As well, the sales drivers might struggle to cope with the additional responsibility to train and supervise field casts. More broadly, the sustainability of the field cast model was unknown because of Japan’s changing social structure. In addition, with the improvement of the global economy since 2010, the supply of part-time employees was threatened by competition from alternative employment opportunities.
This case is suitable for classes in human resource management and strategic management.
- To examine the impact of human resource issues on corporate strategy.
- To examine the critical role that employees, including part-time employees, play in the success of a business.
- To stimulate creative thinking about ways to mitigate human resource issues.
- To appreciate how human resource strategies affect a company’s operations and core competencies.
Transportation and Warehousing
Japan, Large, 1999
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