On the nature of APH

April 4, 2010

Average per hour (APH) is the standard that the new RGIS uses to measure productivity and profitability. An inventory counter’s pay scale is dependent on APH. You are only as good as the last 6 weeks in a quarter. It doesn’t matter what your APH was for the last year. It doesn’t matter what your lifetime APH is.

It doesn’t even matter why your APH is low. Even if an area manager tells you to continue working for a couple of hours after the counting is finished to help close out an inventory – if your APH is too low – it will count against you. There are several people in our district who have gotten pay cuts precisely because of such a scenario. Any time spent not counting lowers your APH. In terms of APH, it is better to show up a few minutes late after the pre-inventory meeting and leave before the close-out.

You’d think that since APH is so important to RGIS, its employees would be given feedback on a regular basis. And you would be wrong. Since the implementation of the APH system a year ago, I’ve been told what my APH is exactly twice. Both times to justify a pay cut.

If I was running a company where productivity mattered, I would give my employees feedback on their productivity with every paycheck. That way, an inventory counter would know how he or she measures up to the ever-changing standards. It seems that every time, the APH goals for a store is reached, the APH required is raised. It’s a moving target. Just because you counted at a top gun level at store X two weeks ago doesn’t mean that the same APH will be enough at another store X this week.

In our district store supervisors don’t often mention the APHs required for each ranking at the beginning of an inventory. My theory is that they don’t want the inventory counters to give up when they realize that the target APH is unreachable. I’ve seen it happen many a time. Why work your ass off if your pay is going to be cut anyway? Many inventory counters have figured that if they have no hope of ever reaching a higher rating and pay level, the faster they count, the less money they make. The only way to make more money is to be on the clock longer.

Because of the lack of information on the APHs required, some inventory counters try to count as fast as they possibly can even if accuracy is sacrificed. Others just cheat by using techniques such as batching to reach the required APH.