Using effective recruitment to retain competitive advantage
A Cummins case study

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Page 2: Roles and functions

Ever-rising customer expectations allied to global competition put great pressure on firms to employ not only 'the right kind of people' but also the very best from that pool of talent. Cummins is particularly conscious of the high expectations of its customers, which include ERF, DAF and Bombardier. These firms in turn face a highly demanding customers and so look to deal only with suppliers on whom they can depend for high quality products, on time, every time.

Cummins uses a team-based approach to manufacturing. Creating teams that perform well involves a great deal of preparatory work. The team's composition must reflect the nature of the task, which will usually draw on a wide variety of aptitudes and skills. For example, a typical Cummins team in relation to a particular project will include people whose knowledge, skills and experience are in:

  • Manufacturing - Making engines to the highest possible quality. Often employing quality activities such as Six Sigma (see one of Cummins' previous Case Studies on that help to reduce waste and inefficiency. Roles within manufacturing include not only people working on the factory shop floor as machine operators but also as technicians.
    Administration - Ensuring the smooth operation of the manufacturing process by offering appropriate administrative support e.g. keeping records of customers' orders, Cummins' orders to its own suppliers, payment of salaries, processing invoices.
    Engineering - Designing engines etc and developing the prototypes to their full potential.
    Sales and marketing - Discovering customers' needs and wants. Finding and developing sales opportunities for the company's products.
    Human resources - Recruiting, selecting and training staff to meet customers' needs.
    Purchasing and logistics- Ensuring that components arrive 'just-in-time' and that finished goods are shipped around the world quickly and cost effectively.

Cummins offers job opportunities at several different levels. Many staff join the company at a junior level. They include operatives such as modern apprentices working on the factory floor.

Some individuals are recruited as engineers at a higher level. They may be qualified design engineers, with a degree or Phd. Cummins will identify, approach and train the best of them to become Principal Engineers.

Wherever possible, Cummins seeks to fill senior positions through promotion within the company because they share its values. However, it will also look outside the company if necessary. Recruiting from outside provides Cummins with a mix of skills and abilities and helps to make the workforce more diverse. Cummins puts great emphasis on the diversity of its workforce, seeing this as a factor that adds competitive advantage in a global market.

Cummins | Using effective recruitment to retain competitive advantage