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剑桥BEC真题集第2辑(高级) 04 Test 1,Part 3,questions 23-30

Part 3

Questions 23 to 30. You will hear part of a conversation between a management consultant and a human resources manager of Jenkins, a company which manufactures children's clothing. For each question, 23 to 30, mark one letter A, B or C for the correct answer. After you have listened once, replay the recording. You have 45 seconds to read through the questions.

Now listen and mark A, B or C.

W: Good morning, nice to meet you, do sit down?

M: Thank you!

W: Now, you are human resources manager of Jenkins, aren’t you? Give me some background of the company, just so I can get a general picture.

M: Steven Jenkins found the company nearly 30 years ago and named it after himself, and he ran it for a long time, last year one of our competitors proposed combining with the idea that separately the two companies were too small to survive. They were probably right, but anyway, Steven turned down the offer. Then because he was getting on, he handed over the day-to-day running to his daughter, Catherine, while returning full control himself.

W: And you make children's clothes, don't you? Aren't there problems in the sector?

M: Well, we mostly sell to retail chains which sell them under their own brand labels, Er...things aren't as easy as they were, what with cheap imports and more expensive children's boutiques making inroads at the top end of the market, but we position ourselves in the middle of the range, so we are not too badly affected. We are under increasing pressure to cut our profit margins though because of growing competitions between high street retailers.

W: What would you say is the company's strength?

M: it certainly helps that we supply those large retailers as I mentioned, and in fact some of them have been customers for years, I suppose though that we wouldn't have survived this long if it wasn't for the fact that we won't send anything out unless it meets very exacting standards. Our customers appreciate that, plus the fact that we aim to keep the time from order to delivery very short, and they are prepared to pay a premium for it.

W: What about weaknesses?

M: Well we've got a poor record in providing training on the machines we are currently using, and I have to say that Steven used to run the company in a very old-fashioned, autocratic way, which alienated a lot of the workers. Despite Catharine’s more enlightened approach....it's a up hill struggle to try to change attitudes and improve cooperation.

W: Never an easy task.

M: No.

W: you mentioned on the phone that there's a problem with a particular group of workers?

M: Yes, there's a very high turnover among the machinists, that's the people who actually make the clothes, they say they are faced with unreasonable demands all the time, like having to learn to operate several machines instead just one or two, many of them think they can get an easier job for the money because there are plenty of other jobs on offer locally, the reasonably healthy state of our order books gives them a certain amount of job security but they just don't seem to care.

W: How's their work organized?

M: We changed to a sectionalized flow approach, which means the machinists work in teams rather than each machine has been assigned a complete item of clothing, the work's divided into batches, involving various operations, each of them are undertaken by one machinist, as that person finishes, the work is passed on to the machinist' responsible for the next station.

W: has that had any impact on what you produce?

M: yes, it's enabled Catharine to introduce a policy of rapid diversification of the product range, so the number of itemize clothes has leaped. That’s the total of numbers of different styles and all the different sizes, and that reduced batch sizes, long runs on items are a thing of the past, at least half the styles used to be carried through from one year to the next and now only a quarter, so, as you can see, it had quite a impact on the rate of change.

W: what's the effect on the machinists?

M: That policy was part of the raft of changes, one of which is that the machinists are now paid on a piece work bases rather than at hourly rate, they are furious about that, though to be fair, the rate that's paid for learning to using new machine has been calculated so as to make sure that no one loses out in a short term, and they are also aggrieved because so much are in new and far more batches of work fell quality inspections and have to be redone.

W: Now, tell me something about training...

Now listen to the recording again.

That’s the end of part 3. You now have 10 minutes to transfer your answers to the answer sheet.

That is the end of the test.
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