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Question for middle managers
Topic Started: Mar 12 2018, 02:30 PM (168 Views)
Riley
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HOLY CARP!!!
If you disagree with a policy from upper management that you feel is adversely affecting your direct reports, do you speak out?

Upper management has installed a new system called “iWarehouse” on all of our forklifts. If you bump into something too hard, regardless whether anything is damaged, the forklift shuts down, and your supervisor immediately gets an email saying you hit something.

The driver gets an automatic written warning and 8(!) of their 12 demerit points. Every supervisor feels that this is ridiculously harsh and that it’s adversely affecting staff and production.

At least once a day I have to sit in on a meeting between management and employee so they can issue the warning and points. (As per our contract, I have to be present if management wants to discipline anyone for anything.)

One supervisor in particular, who oversees quite a few drivers, comments every time how ridiculous he finds the policy and always makes a comment like “I don’t understand why you guys (ie. the union) aren’t doing anything about it. I keep explaining to him that we have no say on policy if it’s not violating our contract.

I suggested a joint letter to upper management from the union and lower management, laying out our problems with the new system.

He said “No supervisor will ever put their name on that. We have no protection the way union members do. I do love all you guys, but of all my mothers children, I love myself the best.”
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Davis
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Fulla-Carp
Sounds like a safety issue? Do you have a quality department that can weigh in as to how hard a bump constitutes a risk? Or is this the case of a pinball machine that tilts all the time? Does iwarehouse recommend their system be used to issue demerits?
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Riley
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HOLY CARP!!!
Davis
Mar 12 2018, 02:48 PM
Sounds like a safety issue? Do you have a quality department that can weigh in as to how hard a bump constitutes a risk? Or is this the case of a pinball machine that tilts all the time? Does iwarehouse recommend their system be used to issue demerits?
I don’t have an issue with the system being there. It’s good to be able to track who’s bumping into things too much. What I have a problem with is the automatic, and harsh, discipline every time someone bumps something, particularly when there is no damage. Sure, track driving, speak to people who are getting a lot of hits on a case by case basis.

An 8-point bump is anything over 4.0 in g-force. I’m not really sure what that means or how it’s measured, all I know is over 4 bad, under 4 not so bad.
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Davis
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Fulla-Carp
Was there an adjustment period, where people got warnings, let’s say for first 30 days, so they could recalibrate their driving? Did they not know in the past what constituted a hard hit? If 4g’s is unacceptable it is what it is and it sounds like union agreed to it?
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Jolly
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Geaux Tigers!
Hostile work place? Egregious rules? Lost productivity? Cost of employee turnover?

Lots of ways to go with this one. It's not something I would go to the mattresses for, but if you can show it has an adverse effect upon moral, work production and actually costs the company money, management might listen and at least revisit the rules or at least revisit the punishment.
The main obstacle to a stable and just world order is the United States.- George Soros
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Klaus
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HOLY CARP!!!
How hard would it be to find a better job without such stupid rules?
Trifonov Fleisher Klaus Sokolov Zimmerman
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Larry
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Mmmmmmm, pie!
Do the only thing unions are good for - go on strike, shut the company down and burn down a few houses and shoot a few people.
Of the Pokatwat Tribe

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Copper
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Shortstop

So the penalty doesn't come when you bump something

The penalty comes when you report it

The solution is obvious

The penalty has to be eliminated in the interest of safety.

This is how NASA and the FAA does it: https://asrs.arc.nasa.gov/

I have filled out lots of these ASRS forms


The Confederate soldier was peculiar in that he was ever ready to fight, but never ready to submit to the routine duty and discipline of the camp or the march. The soldiers were determined to be soldiers after their own notions, and do their duty, for the love of it, as they thought best. Carlton McCarthy
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Riley
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HOLY CARP!!!
Larry
Mar 12 2018, 03:22 PM
Do the only thing unions are good for - go on strike, shut the company down and burn down a few houses and shoot a few people.
We can’t strike unless we’re out of contract. And we generally try to resolve things without a strike. Believe it or not most union members do not want a strike. Who wants to stand out in the cold all day for $300/week in strike pay. That’s a 50%+ pay cut for most people. Much more for the trades people.
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Riley
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HOLY CARP!!!
Davis
Mar 12 2018, 03:12 PM
Was there an adjustment period, where people got warnings, let’s say for first 30 days, so they could recalibrate their driving? Did they not know in the past what constituted a hard hit? If 4g’s is unacceptable it is what it is and it sounds like union agreed to it?
We didn’t “agree” to it, we have no power to overrule new policies if they don’t violate the contract. I suppose we could ask for arbitration, but that costs $10000, split between union and company. The union only approves arbitration if they’re fairly sure we can win.

Just now had another meeting with the supervisor I mentioned above. (Wasn’t exaggerating when I said I have to sit in on at least one a day.) Driver being investigated claims he just drove over a piece of wood that had fallen off a skid, which aapparently was enough for a 5.0 hit. If that’s true, it’s a serious flaw in the system. I’ve also heard of loose batteries rocking on a sudden stop and setting it off. The supervisor told me he and the other supervisor for his area have a meeting with upper management and H&S to explain why so many hits are coming from their department.

I asked “so will you be bringing up what you feel are issues with the system?” His reply was “I was told by my 1-up that there is no appetite for what they’re calling “excuses” - all they want is to know how we’re going to fix what they see as a problem.”

He also told me that the H&S guy responsible for the implementation of this system, fiercely defends it, because it’s his project and the company has spent a lot of money implementing it. He said this guy was down in their office to talk to them about something today, and a hit email came in. He said “hey, you should come check this out with me, so you can see what kind of hits are setting off the system”, and suddenly H&S guy had no time and had to run back upstairs to his office.
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Davis
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Fulla-Carp
I’ve seen this movie end two ways. First, everyone moans about a new system because they hate change and eventually get used to it. Second, the system is terribly flawed and it creates a crisis over time. Often management will wait it out and not flinch believing it’s the first situation. Best to wait until you have solid evidence and not garden variety moaning. Until more than one person quits over it, it might be best to keep quiet. I suspect the stats show productivity is way up with new tracker and mgmt is probably delighted.
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Rainman
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Fulla-Carp
I don't understand.
Were your forklift drivers running over and killing people? Were they running into racks of radioactive canisters, spilling them all over the floor? /sarc

I'd recommend an IBS (Interest Based Strategies) approach between management and the union, then come up with a MOU for a specified amount of time until the issue is studied for the benefit of the company (which includes strengthening management/employee relations). Never good to increase tensions, hard to repair the damage once everyone is at odds and frustrated.

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Mikhailoh
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If you want trouble, find yourself a redhead
This is beancounter bullsh!t. I can smell it from here.
Once in his life, every man is entitled to fall madly in love with a gorgeous redhead - Lucille Ball
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Jolly
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Geaux Tigers!
Mikhailoh
Mar 12 2018, 05:02 PM
This is beancounter bullsh!t. I can smell it from here.
God save us from the bean counters...
The main obstacle to a stable and just world order is the United States.- George Soros
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Riley
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HOLY CARP!!!
Rainman
Mar 12 2018, 04:48 PM
I don't understand.
Were your forklift drivers running over and killing people? Were they running into racks of radioactive canisters, spilling them all over the floor? /sarc

I'd recommend an IBS (Interest Based Strategies) approach between management and the union, then come up with a MOU for a specified amount of time until the issue is studied for the benefit of the company (which includes strengthening management/employee relations). Never good to increase tensions, hard to repair the damage once everyone is at odds and frustrated.

I hate acronyms. We have too many here already.
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Riley
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HOLY CARP!!!
Davis
Mar 12 2018, 04:38 PM
I suspect the stats show productivity is way up with new tracker and mgmt is probably delighted.
I don’t see how it could be, pulling your drivers and stewards off the floor for countless investigations and disciplines, can’t be good for productivity. Nor is suspending forklift licences.

I could maybe see damage being down, with people driving more carefully, but I’d like to see stats on that. Every iWarehouse investigation I’ve been in on has been no damage - they’re disciplined solely on the fact that the iWarehouse system says they hit something to hard.
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Jolly
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Geaux Tigers!
Riley
Mar 12 2018, 10:18 PM
Davis
Mar 12 2018, 04:38 PM
I suspect the stats show productivity is way up with new tracker and mgmt is probably delighted.
I don’t see how it could be, pulling your drivers and stewards off the floor for countless investigations and disciplines, can’t be good for productivity. Nor is suspending forklift licences.

I could maybe see damage being down, with people driving more carefully, but I’d like to see stats on that. Every iWarehouse investigation I’ve been in on has been no damage - they’re disciplined solely on the fact that the iWarehouse system says they hit something to hard.
Then you've got your wedge, you just need hard numbers. Bean counters and efficiency experts want numbers.

If you can show a loss of productivity and no physical loss of product, you've got a very good argument. Since the system cost the company money, some idiot is going to defend taking the system out to the death.

You just need to find a setting that does not give false positives.

Or disable the damn things. :devilgrin:
The main obstacle to a stable and just world order is the United States.- George Soros
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Aqua Letifer
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ZOOOOOM!
Jolly
Mar 13 2018, 04:17 AM
If you can show a loss of productivity and no physical loss of product, you've got a very good argument. Since the system cost the company money, some idiot is going to defend taking the system out to the death.
I'd also add that you might want to wait a bit, and build a case for yourself with more than just a couple of examples. Like Jolly said, cost = somebody has a lot of skin in the game. Sometimes it's better to wait until you have a mountain of evidence; if you go in there half-cocked now, then come back with more information again later, it might appear like you're just trying to make hay.

And yeah, if you can handle the matter yourself, there's always that, too. :smile:
I cite irreconcilable differences.
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brenda
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..............
Riley, you're doing a great job of representing your people. You're doing your homework, looking for advice from people who have a variety of management experience, and you care. The mom in me is so proud of you. 😊
“Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.”
~A.A. Milne
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