A Question for all the Operators

Discussion in 'UPS Partners' started by Rallyguy, Jul 2, 2012.

  1. Rallyguy

    Rallyguy New Member

    Disclaimer: I am an IE Guy.

    When planning an operation why would you consistently not run the plan (in terms of staffing)? You know that if something goes wrong, upper management is going to ask what the plan was and why you chose to deviate from the plan. Whats the advantage of going in to the operation without a working plan?
  2. UpstateNYUPSer

    UpstateNYUPSer Very proud grandfather.

    What is the advantage of telling the centers how to run their operations? You have experienced management people in place at the center level---let them do their jobs.
  3. Rallyguy

    Rallyguy New Member

    I should have clarified more, this was directed toward hub/preload operations, where the work is a lot more simplified. I don't know package well enough to speak on it.
  4. j13501

    j13501 Member

    As an operator who also did some time in IE, I can give you the answer to your question. Some managers at a center level are capable of planning their own operations, to achieve all their goals of safety, service and production. Unfortunately, some are not capable- they generally can get the safety and service accomplished, but fall short of production. IE provides a valuable service of showing the operators what it will take for staffing to achieve their goals.
  5. bones

    bones Member

    Would need more details to give better answer but here are a few. 1) Volume heavier or lighter than the plan would equal increase or decrease in staffing as most p/t operations operate in a window in which start time is set prior to start of operation and arrivals dictate the operation run to a certain time. 2) The operation runs less than the planned staffing due to absenteeism in which the IE answer would be hire more people, however, if you are not running the plan already or are very tight hiring more people would increase indirect hours for that week and decrease pph following weeks due to number of new people being added (most p/t operations already hire weekly). These are two of the easiest answers, would need more detail to give better answer. Another senario is most operations have a sweet spot to operate in, the IE plan in HPS or PKG is usually set based on sort spans or paid day which gives you a FPH and a staffing level, if this is not in the sweet spot I won't follow it, I will go up or down in FPH and staffing to reach that sweet spot. Not taking a shot at you but I have seen many times those who start or come up in IE telling operators how to do it and why can't you get it done fail miserably when they get the chance to run the operation, most wind up leaving the company if left in operations. On the other hand I have seen those in operations who did not have a clue and should have left the company.
  6. beentheredonethat

    beentheredonethat Well-Known Member

    OK, I'm guessing you are a relatively new IE person that is working in the hub, possibly a new Package planner dealing with the preload. You have a good question. I think the problem comes down that the operations manager has to run a great day to have his service metrics in line along with his production elements. When it comes to service if you don't have enough people you really hurt service since you can run the risk of missing max pulls (assuming a twi or night sort with max pulls). So you may plan to go up another setup in the unload. (There's two additional people). Usually this isn't an issue since if you can cut the sort span down by a few minutes earlier then plan you make up for the extra setup (unloader\loader). But if feeders comes in with a late load, there's only so many people you can cut and still process work. There's a lot of other factors that come into play. The problem with sitting in an office in IE is that the calculator\excel spreadsheet\PKG\Hubtools doesn't show you those variables. Also, In the hub you will need hundreds of people. For the PT employees the amount of absenteeism is very high. Heck with 100 people a 2% swing in absenteeism is two people different in your operation. Once a person comes in and punches in they are guaranteed their 3.5 hrs. Granted, some people will leave if asked, but many once they start, want to work their hours.

    Don't get me wrong... I had your job (a long time ago). The one thing I think that was different way back when I was in IE, is that I was a sorter while going to college and got promoted to a PT IE Supv in the Hub. Then I went driving and came back and was a FT Hub IE supv, also went out and did FT Hub Coordinator and came back. With operational experience you realize it's not black and white. There's still not a lot you can do with the plans you are forced to come up with. But at least it lets you understand the shades of grey.

    The biggest problem that I see, is we are so worried about PPH, that we sometimes spend a lot more money then we need to by trying to get a better PPH.
    Take the Preload as an example of what I mean. A PT Preloader makes peanuts compared to a driver. While there are some preloaders who do a great job and load stop for stop, there are many that don't. We are in a rush to get these people off the clock to hit Preload PPH. Well, if we had them stay 15 - 20 minutes (5 min for each car they load). This will probably reduce the driver day by the same amount 5 minutes per driver. But we are paying a Preload at his\her wage vs a driver at their wage (and almost assuredly at an OT rate). Why we don't do that, I don't understand.
  7. Rallyguy

    Rallyguy New Member

    Beentheredonethat, I appreciate the detailed response.

    You are correct I am new (3 years as a FT IE sup). I understand the service piece, and I think we both agree on it. My question is, if you are the manager and your plan states lets just say 3.9 AVG PD day, 100k volume, 202 people, if I am adding people in my head before the sort starts... Whats the point of the plan? If I am going to run an additional team on the primary why shouldn't I make a note of it in my plan?

    My PD day is different, my FPH is different, my sort span should be lower. I get that the operation can get crazy and you need to make whatever decisions on the floor you need to... but if you are consistently planning by the seat of you pants what purpose does presort serve?
  8. beentheredonethat

    beentheredonethat Well-Known Member

    The plan is a good starting point, and if I were the hub manager I'd love to be able to "run the plan". However, can you guarantee me that I won't have a late load? Can you guarantee me that I will only have x people of my assigned work force call out for the day? With all the variables involved, it makes it difficult to run plan unless you have a "perfect" day. If we have a bunch of service failures because I attempted to run the plan but due to the heat, 10 people above the estimate called in sick, and I'm now down 5% staffing (based on 202) then I am in a world of hurt and may not close on time and have LIB's\svc failures.

    Don't get me wrong, I think the planning is a valuable tool. But the planning process doesn't get as involved as a good manager needs to be. If you are running a 3.9 pd day and 100K, then you are running about 24K - 25K per hour average flow. At the start of the day, everyone is fresh, trailers are empty, chutes empty, belts running good. You probably can run 26 setups instead of 24 or so for the first hour, maybe drop a setup after an hour, another after two hours and send those to the outbound\rewrap to keep them running smooth. If you get down a bit early you can save the added hours by the shorter avg pd day. The problem is the plans aren't good with an hour by hour plan vs an average day plan.
  9. Integrity

    Integrity Binge Poster


    Did I misunderstand?

    I understood an earlier post that you were no longer with the company.

    Would you clarify this for me? I am sorry for being so dense.

    I have enjoyed this discussion, you both have been very informative and professional in your replies.

  10. preload1

    preload1 Member

    I can tell from your post that you are more than likely an outside hire with and Engineering degree. Re-read your first and last sentences. How can you say someone does not run the plan in terms of staffing if they do not have a working plan? I am a retired center manager who spent 10 of my 30 years in I.E. ,part of that time as a package planner. In order to plan an operation effectively you first need to understand the operation and what is needed to make it run efficiently. Is the MSD up to date? Does the operation have a turnover/attendence problem? When was the last time loader utilization was looked at? Do you as the planner have open lines of communication with all of the management people in the operation especially the part time sups? They are the front line people. One thing I learned as a planner was that the more imput the operators have in the plans the harder they will work to execute it successfully. And they will also have more respect for the planner and that my friend is priceless. Good luck.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2012
  11. Rallyguy

    Rallyguy New Member

    Let me clarify the bolded part.

    I didn't mean running the staffing level on a plan that is either unattainable and/or wrong. Thats just silly.

    Lets say the plan calls for 200 people. You decide each wing is going to run 1 person over the plan. If that was a realistic plan for you to hit your goal, it doesn't matter now. The plan is now meaningless, as all of the important values will change.

    The operations are volatile, and you have to react and do what you need to do. I get that there is only so much you can plan.

    But why bother with presort if nothing on the plan is going to be followed?
  12. BURMDPsupe

    BURMDPsupe Member

    I'll bite.

    Since you asked this question during a week that was extremely/dangerously hot in most of the country, maybe the manager felt it was necessary to run over plan to compensate for a decrease in production. Let's face it, even your best employees will slow down during excessive heat; the body can only take so much stress without suffering signs of heat exhaustion. If you measure the overall cost, missing the plan by a few pieces is nothing compared to the cost of a heat related injury(s) on a sort. The manager still needs to have the sort shut down to meet pull times, hence extra staffing to get the work completed. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, just a thought.

    Also, some managers could "sandbag" their weekly pph by beating the plan on heavy volume days and missing the plan by a piece or two during the light volume days; that way, the weekly pph will even out and the manager is still able to make weekly pph goal.

  13. tpagano11

    tpagano11 New Member

    Sometimes the plan is not realistic! There are so many day to day variables that affect the plans I.E. Comes up with. The plans need to have adjustments in them so that there is room to account for all the day to day challenges that may arise. To sit back and calculate a bunch of numbers and not consider all the possible situations that can possibly prevent a plan from being successful is just flat out poor planning to begin with. All I. E. Staff should spend at least three years in all the different operations to get knowledge of all the different types of scenarios that can possibly come in to play on a day to day basis. We ask our partners to achieve the impossible sometimes and when we fail there is no support or understanding. We need to go back to letting the operators run their own operations and cut out the I.E. Department. That would be a tremendous savings in itself.


    I agree, I.E. sits at a computer and figures it out based on last years numbers, quite ridiculous, if you are not in the fire I would suggest you stay out if you do not know what really is going on in the battle field, when I.E. gets it wrong and you dont make your projected PPH you get belittled by management or threatened, I always thought they were nothing but paper pushers in all honesty. UPS has a lot of waste positions and underpaid PT sups.
  15. Rallyguy

    Rallyguy New Member

    It seems that you all will be getting what you wished. I know personally that in 1 district we have lost 6 FT IE sups. Hope you guys all the best, and that your local IE guy/girl doesn't find a better job like we all did.
  16. Dragon

    Dragon Package Center Manager

    So why did they quit? It's not because we didn't run the plan you created is it?
  17. Rallyguy

    Rallyguy New Member

    For me, I found I was underpaid for the work I was asked to do.

    The sacrifices I made to work at UPS (Twilight, Sunrise, Preload hours), potentially being transferred to another building at the drop of hat did not equal the paycheck I was getting. So I found something better for me.

    For others that had more years of service than me it was being passed over for promotion because they weren't the right gender.
    Or being told you had to do X,Y,Z rotation before moving up, completing those tasks and have nothing come of it as a result.

    Granted these reasons happen at any company in the world, its just that the daily grind of UPS magnifies these issues ten fold.
  18. Dragon

    Dragon Package Center Manager

    Sorry to see you go RallyGuy, I wish you best of luck in your next job. UPS is not the place to work as it once was, never look back and wish you stayed here because it will never change.

  19. Bubblehead

    Bubblehead My Senior Picture

    I have read this entire thread and one word sums it up,...TRUST.

    Or should I say a lack there of???​
  20. Mapp

    Mapp Choo Choo

    An awesome load can no doubt save a Driver of a half over of overtime, plus miles and save misloads. Its rediculous UPS steps over a dollar to pick up a penny.

    To I.E. in general-Thanks for the b.s. numbers. If I could run those I would have been for the past 4 years. This based on last years numbers creates the desire to sandbag so you don't screw yourself next year which also costs the company money.