Everyone except me and . . .

April 29, 2009

Unhappy But Productive

There is not much joy and happiness at inventories since the rollout of the productivity pay in our district.  It seems that most of my fellow employees are pissed off or scared or both.   Most have taken “Count or Die” to heart.  Many are actively looking for new employment.  A few have just given up.

Batching is Good

Since the advent of scanning bar codes, batching (scanning one item ten times and assuming they are all the same instead of scanning each of ten items once to ensure UPC/SKU integrity) has been a bit problematic.  In some inventories, people have been kicked out for batching.   Lately, it seems that everyone except me (and the inventory integrity monkey on my back) has been batching to achieve a higher average per hour (aph).   Unofficially, we are encouraged to batch as long as we are not caught.

Most of the time batching causes no problems because like items all have the same UPC/SKU.  But some RGIS clients pay extra to have every single UPC/SKU scanned.   My guess is that at some point, inventories will have to be retaken because the client paid for “no batching” and RGIS personnel got caught batching.  If it happens often enough, RGIS will lose clients.

The Genius Part

“Accuracy is our primary concern” is stil the motto.   RGIS, as a corporation, can always blame rogue employees be they managers or inventory counters for any problems with accuracy.  I suspect at some point, someone will get fired to apease a client.    “Yes, we fired the person responsible for messing up your inventory.”

The Inventory Integrity Monkey on my Back

When I started with RGIS in the early 1990s  in Asheville, NC and then Knoxville, TN, the most important thing was definitely accuracy.  Yes, productivity mattered.  But so did accuracy.  If you couldn’t be fast, you were expected to be 100% accurate.  It was a trade-off between speed and accuracy.   Some people were super-fast.  Some people were super-accurate.   Most people were neither.

Ironically enough, as the RGIS procedures and software becomes more and more sophisticated to ensure accuracy,  inventory counters feel more comfortable to go fast with errors because they assume the errors will be caught by the software and recount procedures.   So it’s a win-win for an inventory counter, someone else will fix it and their own aph won’t suffer.  Unofficially, this is encouraged.

Good Enough

For umpteen years,  100% accuracy was the most important thing at RGIS.  Nowadays, we strive for “good enough.”  We strive to as accurate as the error rate requires us to be.  People who strive to be 100% accurate are ridiculed for being stupid and not understanding the new RGIS.  I suspect at some point, “good enough” won’t be good enough.