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Please provide a problem statement for the case below.

The first step in developing your research plan is to identify and write a statement about what the investigation is supposed to accomplish. This is called the problem statement. A clear, cogent problem statement is written to define the problem for both the writer and reader. The problem statement may be written in the question, infinitive, or declarative form. The problem statement is usually only a one or a few sentences long, but does include specific objectives about what the foci of the investigation should be. Look carefully at your case and glean what your boss wants accomplished in your investigation. Those specifics need to be included.


Located in Indianapolis, Indiana, Technicraft, Inc. is a 10 year old, medium-sized (1,000 employees) manufacturer of computer peripherals such as hard disk cartridge data storage devices, optical disc data storage devices, magnetic tape data storage devices, WiFi (Wireless Fidelity network access) devices, and broadband connection devices, and related software. This high-tech company markets its products throughout the country through retailers such as Radio Shack, Circuit City, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Sears, and others; and is considered a successful, young start-up company since it survived the dot.com bust of 2001. Sales are growing slowly now, however, because of the recent economic recession. Lately Technicraft's profits have slid to a point that the President, Henry Shaw, is concerned enough to look at a variety of cost-cutting measures in order to shore up the bottom line.

Mr. Shaw has talked to executives from other U.S. hi-tech manufacturing companies about the move to outsourcing of certain types of non-manufacturing jobs to off-shore companies. He has learned that outsourcing certain jobs to foreign companies located in several foreign countries can result in substantial cost savings because of lower labor costs in many of these other countries.

Technicraft currently employs a staff of 50 full-time call center technical service representatives who man the call center on a 24-hour basis and handle incoming calls from businesses and retail customers about Technicraft products and services. These are well-trained employees mostly in their late 20s and early 30s who are making between $35,000 and $55,000 per year. Many have young families, and several are continuing their education in business or technical fields of study.

Henry Shaw takes pride in having developed over the years a "family of loyal employees" at Technicraft. He desperately wants to "do the right thing" as far as the employees, but he must also ensure that Technicraft, Inc. generates profits for its shareholders. He has asked you, his Human Resources Manager, to look into the benefits and drawbacks of outsourcing these call center jobs to an offshore company. He is particularly interested in what other high-tech manufacturing companies have experienced with regard to potential cost savings with outsourcing, the quality of service that Technicraft's customers will likely get from outsourced services, possible customer resistance to getting technical assistance from non-U.S. technical representatives, and possible repercussions that layoffs may have on remaining employees. He wants you to investigate these areas of concern and to make your recommendation with regard to outsourcing the call center operations.

Because you needed to obtain some type of information about your customers' attitudes about potentially dealing with foreign-speaking technical service representatives, you hired an independent polling company to conduct a survey that sampled approximately 15% of Technicraft's thousands of customers regarding their feelings about dealing with non-U.S. technical assistance representatives when in need of help. The independent survey did not identify Technicraft, Inc. as the sponsoring company. The results of the survey are as follows:

1. As far as you know, how frequently do you purchase non-U.S. manufactured products?

Very often 42%
Sometimes 37%
Not Very Often 16%
Never 5%

2. How do you feel about others who buy non-U.S. products?

I support them if they do. 15%
I am neutral about it. 52%
It bothers me a little. 22%
It bothers me a lot. 11%

3. How do you feel about dealing with non-U.S. people to buy U.S. products?

I enjoy it. 12%
I am neutral about it. 62%
It bothers me a little. 17%
It bothers me a lot. 9%

4. How do you feel about U.S. companies that hire employees in other countries to do work formerly done by U.S. employees?

I support those companies. 10%
I am neutral about it. 26%
It bothers me a little. 39%
It bothers me a lot. 25%

5. How would you feel about buying products from a U.S. company that formerly used U.S. employees and now uses non-U.S. employees to make their products?

I would buy their products. 10%
I am neutral about it. 59%
It would bother me a little. 24%
It would bother me a lot. 7%

6. How would you feel about talking to non-U.S. employees to get technical assistance for a product that was purchased from a U.S. company?

I would enjoy it. 2%
I am neutral about it. 49%
It would bother me a little. 40%
I would avoid it if possible. 9%

Solution Preview

Technicraft is facing declining profits and is thus considering outsourcing some non-manufacturing jobs to a low ...

Solution Summary

The solution does a great job of explaining the question being asked. The answer is brief and concise and is very easy to understand for anyone looking for a basic understanding of this topic. Overall, an excellent response to the question being asked.