Count or Die!!!!

April 19, 2009

And then they changed what it was

Well, the shit has hit the fan at RGIS. Starting April 25, the new “productivity pay scale” comes into effect. Lots of long term employees (including me) are going to get significant pay cuts. I feel like Grandpa Simpson  “I used to be hip and with it and then they changed what it was.”  I was a “top gun” which meant I was one of the fastest counters and then they changed the theshold for “top gun”.  So now I’m an “expert” and I am going to be paid like an “expert.”  It doesn’t matter what I was making or why.  Someone sitting at a desk at corporate headquarters has arbitrarily decided what my hourly wage will be.

Doesn’t mean Shit

Apparently, everything that made me  a good employee before April 25, doesn’t mean shit.   One of my co-workers in this district, whom I’ll call “Timmy” after the South Park character, was always given the crappiest crap to count.  Stuff like top stock that you have count standing on a 12-foot rolling ladder.   Stuff impossible to count quickly.    I’ve seen him count lumber outdoors during a blizzard.    They made it impossible for Timmy to be fast and then they screw him over and cut his pay for doing what he was told to do.  Like Timmy, I’ve taken one for the team many a time and counted crap that no one else was willing.

I should have stood in bed

All the years of being willing to work with little or no sleep were for naught.  All the years of getting woken up at 5 or 6 am by a phone call “We’re 10 people short at Kmart can you come?” and going to work just don’t mean a thing anymore.  Like Yogi Berra said, “I should have stood in bed.”

Not Redundant

At least, I wasn’t made redundant like our “Personnel Manager”.    He was an HSUP (hourly supervisor) and when our district merged with another,  he got the job of being a scheduling and hiring pooba.  Apparently, our district doesn’t need his services any more.  One of the area managers will do the scheduling.  And I have no idea who will do the hiring.   Ironically enough, he was trying for a promotion and was hoping that he wasn’t around when Mr. Shit met Mr. Fan.   Alas, he got his wish.  I reckon this is a warning to all to be careful what you wish for.

Extra money for “Adder” roles

This one is where I have to be careful for what I ask for.   I’ve been known to say that since I don’t get extra for running stores, I don’t really care if I do.   Well, guess what.  People who run stores will get extra money.   I think this is how the corporate gods at RGIS are trying to justify the wage changes.   Some employees will have an opportunity to earn extra money by fulfilling specialized task such as running stores, being flow leader, sweeper/prowler (corporate-sanctioned cherry picker), etc.

Both my distrist manager and my area manager tell me that I’ll end up making more money if I run stores.  That’s a mighty big if.  I”m not sure that I want to run 3/4  of the stores I’m in.  When I consented to be a team leader again given the money they were willing to pay me, I consented to only run small stores once or twice a week.   To put this in context, when I came back to RGIS a couple years ago, I consented to a significant pay cut because I wasn’t going to run stores.   Even with the raise I got for being a teamleader again, I wasn’t making as much an hour as I was in 2000.

Accuracy or Productivity?

In recent years, “Accuracy is our primary concern” has been the RGIS motto.   These days it’s just an empty slogan.   Of course, ideally, the corporate gods would want 100% accuracy every time.    But I think faced with a choice of fast with errors within 1 or 2 percent error rate or slow with no errors, they would choose fast with an acceptable error rate every time.

There has already been a heavy productivity push and accuracy has suffered.  I think it is a matter of time before RGIS loses accounts because of unacceptable error rates.

Count or Die!!!

Apparently, productivity (aph – average per hour) is going to be reviewed on a monthly basis (if I understood correctly).   And if your aph sucks, your pay will be cut even more.  But, boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen of all ages, your pay can go up if aph goes up into the stratosphere.   So it’s like Hollywood, you’re only as good as your last inventory.

So all of us inventory counters are going to have to face new decisions.  Should we agree to do inventories in which our aph’s will suffer and risk setting ourselves up for failure and pay cuts?   Should we refuse to count merchandise that would make our aph’s go down?  Should we do unauthorized cherry-picking to maintain our aph’s??

A Spanner in the Works

I think that it is very likely that this push for productivity will backfire.  Some of my fellow employees are taking about limiting their aph to the lower end of their ranking.    I also suspect that there are going to be more no-shows.   I hope that no one actively tries to monkeywrench an inventory by purposefully counting badly after they have decided to quit.

Interesting Times

I think that the next couple of months at RGIS are gong to be very interesting.