What's Your Thought?

Discussion in 'UPS Discussions' started by Washburn, Jul 27, 2007.

  1. Washburn

    Washburn New Member

    I am a part-time supervisor on a local sort and I have only been working in this position for 4 months now. I know there is so much that I have yet to learn about things, I just wanted to give my 2-cents.

    As a PT supervisor I get beat over the heat about numbers and in turn we beat our workers over the head with numbers. When the fact of the matter is that numbers don't mean squat to them, and shouldn't in my opinion. I think that the numbers that my employees produce is a direct reflection on how effective I am at my job. When numbers and employee moral is down - I have not done the things necessary to help my employees succeed.

    When we do mis-loads and mis-toggles, as supervisors, we bring down a sheet that has your name, dates, tracking numbers, and a whole bunch of other nonsense that ultimately doesn't say anything except that someone screwed up at some point in time and this is our best guess. Then we look at you and say "Bad employee, don't let this happen again." Turn around and walk away. Or try and make you sign it for 'documentation.' And as always the ever present write-up. Well I am proposing a different solution to all of that.

    I have created a sheet that in the event of mistakes made, and they will happen because we are all human, we can use to teach and learn from it instead of being belittled and berated. Not one person should have to feel like they are not important in any job in any company. This sheet will contain the following:
    - Employee Name
    - Date
    - Position

    1) Performance in Need of Improvement: This section will be to write down what had happened. Example - Henry John George had 5 mis-loads in 2 days.

    2) Performance Improvement Goal: This will be where the employee and I would talk about a realistic goal to have for the next week or so. Example - Henry JG(shortened) set a goal of only having 5 more mis-loads the rest of the week.

    3) Date for Improvement: This date would be set according to your goals.

    4) Date to Review Progress: I know that SEAS is on a delay so this date may have to be set for the next week. At this time the employee and I will sit down and look at the numbers and what they had set as a goal for themselves. Then we evaluate whether or not they achieved their goal, and if they did or didn't - then we ask WHY? What can I as a supervisor do to help you better understand why this is happening? What are the conditions when you think its hard to do your job to the best of your ability?

    With this form I have no intention of requiring a signature and it is my intention to use this sheet at a learning tool and will not be used against any employee of mine. I have sat down with my Union Stewart already and spoke with him about how he would feel about something like this, and I did have a good response from him. He was unsure about how the rest of the Union would feel, and I offered him this.

    If every time that I spoke with an employee he would be there, and we would lock the documents away in drawer or he could even take them home with him. At the time of the follow-up, he and the employee and I would review how they did, what I can do to help them out. Whether it is more training, different tools, whatever...and then we could all watch it run through the shredder.

    I do realize that this post and this type of thinking could get me into a situation I am not sure that I want to be in, but I think its worth the risk of trying. I feel like it is not my job to tell someone that they aren't doing a good enough job and that they don't matter.When they have to hear it all the time anyway. Probably at the other job that they just got off right before coming to work for me. I want my employees to feel like they are wanted, respected, and that when they walk through the door at my facility that they know they matter.

    Let me know what you all think. I know there will be some critics, but if you don't like it please make any suggestions to improve on it. There are two fine lines that I walk with this thing UPS's document everything and the Union's strict policy's on documentation and discipline.
  2. aspenleaf

    aspenleaf New Member

    Please don't take this wrong way but no one will have time for your sheet. While you mean well we (speaking for loaders) hardly have time to breathe let alone go over ways to improve. If you really want to make things better where you are then just listen to your loaders. Leave the paper in the office. If your loaders are like me and the ones I work with we have a lot of ideas on how to improve. However all anyone wants is for us to go faster and just load.

    The main thing I don't like on your sheet is that these issues are not the result of one person. So make sure you find the person(s) who are causing the errors and talk to them. Also while I agree the goal should be to reduce misloads you should not accept that 5 more in week would be a good thing (I know it was an example).

    If you really insist on the sheet thing then make sure you are not in the way of work. No one is going to want to this before or after work and during work might be a problem. No matter what your intentions if you block my area while I am working you might get hit with a box (an accident of course!). Loaders are paid to load; we are not paid to think of ways to fix the issues that everyone knows about. We have a lot of work to do in a short amount of time. You, even though you seem nice, would annoy me as a sup.

    What did you do before you were a PT sup? I wish you luck.
  3. Washburn

    Washburn New Member

    Thanks for the insight. Prior to becoming a PT supervisor I was in the unload for 6 months. I was then moved to a trailer during peak where I pulled and loaded my own. Soon after peak I was assigned as a loader in a trailer for several months(3 or 4) where I was then moved to pull. The pulling position that I was assigned was tough. Not that any job as a PT employee isn't, but I was the front trailer and had responsibilities to split the belt, push smalls down into the chute and all the while pull my correct packages.

    I know the frustrations and hard work that all of you put in, and I feel like some of those in management sometimes forget where they have come from. I do know that when there are mis-loads it is not just a one person fault. I think it would be a good idea to have both the puller and loader involved. My Union Stewart also mentioned that he always wanted someone to give him a visual example. Test them by using a previously mis-loaded package and setting it in front of them to see if they pull it, or just throwing it in the trailer and watching to see if it is caught. If not, point it out and let them know that this was a similar mistake made so they can visually see and learn from it.

    I do understand that when the belt is rolling it is very hard for any employee to really express their concerns and ideas. When the best time to accomplish something like this is a difficult question. Like you said, they probably won't want to do it before or after work, and I will not want to do it during work. I was thinking about bringing those persons who I would like to work with in prior to the shift time. I would change their start times that way they would be on the clock for the time that we spent with this. Of course this would be circumstantial, because not all employees will want or be able to make it in earlier due to other obligations. Definitely something I will have to work on.

    Thank you again for your input. Any feedback at this point is a positive for me.
  4. aspenleaf

    aspenleaf New Member

    In my area our start times are not changed for such things. When we had to do the 90 question test it was done during the sort. I work preload and if I spend any time out of my cage someone is supposed to document that (they never do which has created a huge mess).

    We work different areas so I don't know the misloads work for you. For us loading the package cars we get blamed no matter what. I have had to ask for help and had a sup pulling for me and he kept giving me the wrong air for the truck I was in. I caught them and he was doing the best he could to keep up (the huge mess we have is related to our start times - they think we have little elves that help us load so they changed the times so we all come in later) but I get hit hard in the last hour due to large amounts of bulk stops and I have a shuttle truck (which means I get the left overs from an EAM route - and I don't get credit for that volume and some days it can be close to 80 packages (avg is about 20) and huge irregs. So things I don't get credit for are blocking my "real" packages (the ones for my actual drivers); so I sometimes get behind depending upon what one of my drivers has to shuttle.

    So with all this mess going on the last thing I would want is to go sit down and talk to my sup who is still a kid (not that age matters but lack of experience in supervising is becoming an issue).

    On paper I look horrid (and I don't mean looks - I mean my pph etc). I don't have a huge pull but I have large boxes and sometimes I can only get one box out of the cage. By the time I am done rolling it or pushing it or whatever to get it into place that cage is long gone. This goes on all sort and then it gets worse after break. I do understand that it looks like I don't work hard enough. I know when I am out it takes more than one person to do my cage and people are always amazed at how much I really do. I think that can be said about all the loaders on my boxline; we work our butts off and yet all we ever hear is what we do wrong.

    We have a sup who wants us to memorize stuff that he needs to know. We know our stuff (at least the chicks do) and don't have time to learn his stuff. He did inform me that he can work a cage and has done our job when one of us calls out. So we asked how many misloads he had - he had over 5. His response was "well I don't do that work all the time!" We said "thank goodness you don't or you'd bring our numbers down." I also pointed out that we were told any fool could load trucks thanks to PAS and wanted to know why he had so many misloads. If someone with 5 min of training is expected to have no misloads then the sup that trained him/her should also have none.

    Sorry for the rant; today was the worst wrap I have ever had and I am just upset with myself for letting it get to me.

    As for you all I can say if one of your people asks for help please do so or get them someone or let them know why you can't. I hate when I ask for help before break and get none and then I get yelled at the end of the sort. We aren’t stupid and just because things go wrong does not mean we weren’t working as hard as we normally do. Thankfully today is Friday!
  5. Fnix

    Fnix Active Member

    Realistic Goal :w00t:

    Performance Improvement Goal: This will be where the employee and I would talk about a realistic goal to have for the next week or so. Example - Henry JG(shortened) set a goal of only having 1 more mis-loads the rest of the year and to improve PPH by 80.
  6. JustTired

    JustTired free at last.......


    You sound like a nice person who is trying to do the right thing. What you don't realize is that UPS is not a perfect world and "a perfect world" is the only place that your ideas will work.

    First....your job is to get yelled at because your people aren't perfect. Second.... your job is to yell at those "imperfect" people in your charge.

    The sooner you realize that, the happier you'll be. It doesn't matter to the company that you might actually care about the people working for you. It's not part of your job description.

    If you can't handle that, I suggest that you leave and find a job where you are appreciated by those above you as well as below you. It's not gonna happen here. This company is not looking for "free thinkers". There's no room in the "numbers" for them.

    Your fairly new to the position so give it some time and then see if I'm not right. I admire your attempt to make things better....but I'm afraid your setting yourself up for major aggravation. Good Luck, though!
  7. Washburn

    Washburn New Member

    I do realize that I lack in my experience both as an hourly and management employee at UPS affects how people view me, and I would agree with aspenleaf about taking advice from someone who has a fraction of the experience that most do. Lack of experience is a definite problem in management, and you just don't hear of many PT supervisors that have been around for 10 or 15 years. Of course, their are some but in the short time that I have even worked for UPS we have had 3 new supervisors (not including me). Most of them are PT employees who have elected to move into management, and their are not the ones that have been around waiting to bid on jobs either.

    JustTired...I respect and appreciate your advice, and I will probably find that you are right. I whole-heartedly hope that you are not. Some where along the line I may hear that it is not in the best interest of the company to initiate this sort of "free thinking" (as you put it), but I feel like it is worth a shot.

    I do know that with this I will walk a fine line within the Union Contract and how the company handles things. I know that my Stewart is going to contact the District Union Rep. to see how he feels about something like this.

    Can anyone give me some insight on what I might expect to hear from the Union?
  8. aspenleaf

    aspenleaf New Member

    You seem to be putting a lot of effort into making things better. I have no idea what the union will think of your plan. No matter what your age or experience the people under you have to listen to you (or work as you direct them); just don't come across as some pompous kid who knows everything and you should be fine. I get along with my sup just fine even though I am much older; but he does frustrate me at times.

    I think you have great ideas however you could be on the fast track to burn out if you have no support. So before you go down the wrong road make sure that your management team is behind you. I would ask the people working under you what concerns they have and ask for their suggestions.

    BTW ~ Welcome to the Cafe!
  9. lost

    lost Member

    I completely understand where you are coming from. I too have a hard time because I refuse to let myself forget where I came from and how hard the employees actually work, from my experience so far the more I try to keep from a mgmt person who's only concerns are the numbers the more I stay in trouble by my bosses.
  10. UPS Lifer

    UPS Lifer Well-Known Member

    I managed the largest local sort and one of the larger hub sorts for about 6 years. We were the best in the Pacific Region in missort and mistoggles during 2 different competitions.

    Follow the 21 point checklist and you will see dramatic improvements.
    If you want to fix things get out and work with your people, train and retrain them.....last resort should be discipline. Working with them and training your people is how you get their respect.

    After you train them - have them demonstrate it to you so you know if they got it. Go back a little later and check up on them to see if they retained it.

    You do this by salting and walking into the feeder to look at the scanner. If your employee has a missort problem ....have them call out the zips as they load - this creates a routine and a habit. If they load 2 feeders or more - have them call out as they change the scanner (toggle) to the next load. I prefer that employees log out of each load as they leave the feeder and log in to the new feeder. Go in and check the scanner to see what load the employee is in. Not sure how many feeders you load but....get into a routine of visiting each employee every hour and doing a 2 minute drill with them. Check the walls (tight) - check the scanner - see how many packages were loaded in that hour - review it with employee and what your expectations are. Do an F3 audit to check if the packages were scanned.

    These are just some quick things you can do to get results quickly.

    Hope this helps!
  11. DorkHead

    DorkHead Active Member

    You have good ideas. Always keep trying to improve yourself and your people. Remember to respect them and they will respect you. Understand that there are alot of things that are beyond your control. Some days will be good, most won`t. Keep a level head. I try my best every day and when it is not good enough for my sups well, that`s the way it goes. I`ve been there for 23 years so I know not to let it get to me. Keep up the good work and communication.
  12. DS

    DS Fenderbender

    Hey Washburn you probobly picked the best place to get real answers by posting here.
    I`m a 17 yr driver and although I respect the initiative you are taking to improve things,I doubt if it will make much difference except for one thing.By showing appreciation to the people working a horrible job for under 8 bucks an hour.
    If you want good numbers,I hate to say it but I agree with JustTired,
    you`ll have to create a medium to relate with your hourlies.
    Its not your job description to be thier friends.
    And hey you will find lots of different opinions in here,from the
    ones that say Mike Eskew the CEO made 350 million dollars last year
    and they are on my case about one minute,and others that say shut
    up,you are well paid,just do your job.
    Good luck,and welcome the the browncafe:yinyang:
  13. browniehound

    browniehound Well-Known Member

    This is an example of how your job might be easier than an on-road sup. in getting numbers. You are there 100% of the time watching your workers. You can observe what they are doing wrong and give some criticism.

    The on-road sup. plays a different ballgame. He (or she) can only ride with the driver for 3 days at a time. And yes, he will find faults with the driver's methods everytime. And yes, the driver will have a better SPHORH every time when the supervisor is on-car with them. Yes, the driver will lose "a little" time because the methods are not perfect.

    But the majority of time lost is from the driver talking with his customers. And sometimes its not even the driver's fault- these people just won't shut up! But when the Sup. is with ya, you shut up and the customer shuts up. Thanks Bonnie, you chewed my ear of for 25 minutes on Tuesday, but now my superviser is with me you clamed up????

    Personally, I want to small talk and do it while I'm scanning/delivering. But we all know there are customers that won't shut the F-up and if you have 2 of them it will be the difference of you being 4/10's paid over to 1.5 hour.

    And then your Sup. is with you and you have to be rude to the customer because his boss is down his neck to get your paid day down.

    It all equates to one thing in my opinion. The customer notices this and frowns on the way UPS treats its drivers. In fact, I've never heard a positive word spoken from a customer's mouth on how UPS treats its drivers.

    Our customers know we are treated like dogs. They also know Fed-Ex has power-steering and AC in all their trucks. Our customers also know we get followed around when we are in the company vehicles and they know Fed-Ex dosen't do that.

    Its not us not getting sales-leads why we are losing volume. My opinion is our public perception is hurting us more than "drivers getting sales leads":confused:1:confused:1:confused:1
  14. Washburn

    Washburn New Member

    All of your advice, input, and support is great. I somehow stumbled upon this site, and I am sure glad that I did! I know that I would not have gotten more honest opinions or advice from anyone that I would know to seek out for advice.

    In response to UPS Lifer...Our facility is considered an Extended Center and we are not the largest Center by far. We currently load 9 feeders, and the loaders are changing feeders several times during the sort. I never thought of having them call out when they are changing feeders, but I can see why you would have them do it. Having them call out a change in feeders creates a habit of ensuring that the scanner has been properly closed out and reopened. I am in charge of the salting, but unfortunately I have been kind of tossed into doing this without a whole lot of explanation of methods.

    I will use all of your advice and input to make some positive changes in our facility. Our Center Manager is always checking in with me and I know that he does have a genuine concern with the people we have working in our facility. I know that I will have his support in making some changes.

    To all of you - Have a good weekend and as my father always says Don't Let Your Meat Loaf! HaHa:laugh:
  15. 1989

    1989 Well-Known Member

    I've only seen 3 day rides for drivers in training and problem childs.