Case Studies

Case studies exploring fascinating additional case studies from the author demonstrating HRM in practice around the world. From the internal vs. external candidate debate to employer branding abroad, learn how companies of all sizes approach different aspects of HRM.

  • Manitoba Haulage and the introduction of new technology

Manitoba Haulage is a road haulage services operator based in north-east England. Established in 1966, the company has over 40 years’ experience in end-to-end haulage services, including planning, logistics and road transport. Today, Manitoba has 130 employees, 40 ‘tractor units’ and 80 trailers. It has warehousing and distribution depots in Hartlepool, Bishop Auckland and Harrogate and provides UK-wide distribution of palletized and non-palletized goods, including food and beverages, retail goods, packaging, paper and electrical equipment. Manitoba stresses its ability to respond to customers’ requirements through high levels of flexibility, efficiency and control in the scheduling process to facilitate rapid responses to short lead times and provide just-in-time deliveries.

Manitoba has a local reputation for being a good employer. Most of its drivers are in their forties or older and have an average length of service of 11 years. The oldest driver is 57 years old and has been with the company for 32 years. It has long recognized drivers as being its most valued resource and, despite having an operational hub which coordinates the company’s operations, management at Manitoba has typically allowed the drivers to take responsibility for planning their routes, loading their own vehicles and providing information to customers about arrival estimates. Many drivers have developed close relationships with particular companies which Manitoba recognizes as a source of competitive advantage.

Over recent years, a number of developments in the haulage industry have put pressure on Manitoba to make its operations more efficient. These include the rising cost of fuel, overseas competitors seeking to establish themselves in the UK market and customer pressure for a cheaper and more reliable service. Manitoba has recently fitted its trucks with GPS trackers, allowing it to offer exact and comprehensive tracking data to its customers and to provide far more precise delivery estimates. The use of the GPS tracking also enables Manitoba’s managers to monitor their drivers through its ability to store and transmit journey data and mileage information to highlight and restrict any illegitimate use of vehicles. The system has the capacity to monitor a vehicle’s position as well as the speed the vehicle is moving. The technology therefore takes the responsibility of recording travel distances from the driver, which can be particularly useful when specific journeys need to be charged back to a customer. This is especially valuable when Manitoba provides various services and delivery to multiple customers on one trip. It also enables the company to better monitor the driver’s pattern of breaks and stoppages.

Managers have justified the investment in the GPS trackers to their drivers on the grounds of increased driver safety, optimized route planning to enable drivers to avoid traffic hotspots and to tailor routes to the individual vehicle, improved stop sequencing to save time and fuel, and enhanced customer service through more accurate delivery estimates. However, Steve Malkmus, the drivers’ shop steward, has received a number of complaints from drivers about the tracking system. These complaints focus on suspicions about management’s motives for its introduction.


You are the managing director of Manitoba. At his request, you have arranged a meeting with Steve Malkmus to discuss the driver grievances over the introduction of the GPS trackers. Your task is to prepare for this meeting by:

  • identifying possible causes of concern that the drivers might have about the introduction of GPS;
  • seeking to understand, from an employee perspective, why the GPS has acted to create a poorer employee relations climate at Manitoba;
  • assessing how the GPS might have altered the psychological contract between the drivers and management;
  • considering how you might reassure the drivers about the reasons for introducing GPS into all vehicles.