Flow Team idiots or scapegoats?

Joined
Jun 12, 2011
Messages
836
#1
If anything goes wrong at my current store, it is flows fault. Overstocked? Flow did it. Wrong place? Flow did it. Stocked in only 1 location? Flow. Poor Guest Service? Flows fault. Breakroom a mess? That is surely flow.Wasting payroll? Hands down flow!
Truth is I have been working my backside off trying to change the perception of this flow team. I have been preaching on stocking, how full, multiple locations and FIFO. I do daily aisle audits on all of these items and also have my ETL walk some with me. There are some training issues to be sure, however what we found out was that the issues were divided between the closing team and the flow team. The night closing team because they are so short staffed were just shoving products in places, did not spend any time looking for second and third locations and zoning for looks not accuracy. But because the issues are found in the morning the flow team is the easiest target.
Our guest service scores have plummeted. Our hallway has all red scores currently. The ETL- GE spent over 10 minutes at our morning huddle berating the flow team for not answering call buttons or backups to the lanes. After huddle I reminded the ETL that the flow team does not wear walkies so they do not hear the messages.They do however speak to every guest who walks past them, if they don't they are coached. It is an expectation that service is first. I suggested that she listens who does answer, cross that with who has walkies on and you will find out who is ignoring the requests. No surprise to me the plano team (5 walkies per day) pricing (4 walkies per day) and instocks (3 walkies per day) did not answer one call button or back up at the lanes. They used the walkies to inquire about their breaks. That is it, no kidding. I offered to have a few flow team members wear a walkie to help respond but was told we could not spare them.
I decided to take the bull by the horns with the break room. Every Wednesday the flow team cleans out the fridge, restocks plates plastic wear and condiments. They also scrub the counters and back splashes. The flow team are the ones who are challenging other team members to throw out their old food, use splatter guards in the microwaves and clean up after themselves. So imagine how ticked I was when I overheard another TL say how the flow team destroys the break room everyday.
Then the old payroll question. Flows hours were cut just like everyone else. Funny thing is our trucks are as big as during Christmas. We are working trucks with 8 less team members but beating the goal times by an average of 50 minutes per truck. We are following Plano each day filling behind them. They set Valentines, flow filled it all. Bodega was filled completely by flow. See Spot Save and the Savor Spot was done by flow too. Guess who back stocked it all? Yep flow did. When it was brought up at the Team Lead meeting I challenged back with the extras the flow team had done not switching work centers. We are at the mercy of the DC and what size trucks we have. If we go over goal times I am responsible. When I hear ETLs and TLs talking about how we are eating the payroll it makes me sick.
My flow team has quite a few retired people. We have former teachers, accountants and managers. We have college students. We have some moms and dads trying to make some extra cash. It is truly a diverse group of people.These are not stupid people. They take pride in the job they do that many others will not do. Sure there are some dead weight people. These people deserve the chance to improve, if not they need to be gone.
My flow team works hard to make our store succeed. They try to help out where ever needed. I am sure there are other stores that have great flow teams too.
Sorry for the rant, I just think flow needs some respect.
 
Joined
Jun 8, 2011
Messages
25,297
#2
Gtc for you for effort.
Your flow team is a good team. You are doing it right things .Since Plano team are in the same area doing their stuff, take 2 of their walkies. Give them to your tm's who will answer calls.
On sf closing team, where's the tl or zoning captain making sure that product is put in all locations. They have eyes & PDA's. Hit the screen or " d" on nop!
 
Joined
Jun 17, 2011
Messages
696
#3
Your flow team sounds great,I have a lot of respect for flow and how hard they work,they get other team such as plano,pricing and the closing team out of a hole anytime it is required,I like what your team does in the breakroom,that is awesome.What you are doing to change the perception is spot on but it also needs to come from the top down,I remember years ago we were all pulled into the meeting room when the *****ing about the flow team was out of control and the stl let us know that it was not us who worked 13 trucks the week before,explained the facts of Target life to all of us and basically told us to grow up and give them the respect they deserved.It worked.The plano and pricing should not be hogging the walkies especially when in the same area.Keep doing what you are doing and things will change .Good luck.
 
Joined
Dec 23, 2011
Messages
16
#4
We are following Plano each day filling behind them. They set Valentines, flow filled it all. Bodega was filled completely by flow. See Spot Save and the Savor Spot was done by flow too. Guess who back stocked it all? Yep flow did.
Whaaaat? Does your plano team do anything?
 
L

Ludwig3

Guest
#5
Whaaaat? Does your plano team do anything?
Flow did the same for us as well. The good ones stay around and help stock and push anything the lazy fools didn't get to. I defend the good flow members all the time (every backroom guy has his favorites). The rest of the team...another story.
 
Joined
Jun 24, 2011
Messages
1,036
#6
you're leading an awesome team, and you are doing an awesome job being a leader! Your plano and price team does not need that many walkies since they are near each other for most of their shifts (our teams share one or two).

I have personally witnessed some really gross behavior from our flow team members. Eating food from the fridge that was old and did not belong to them. Eating food in the restroom. Using their hands to scoop food from a serving dish instead of finding a spoon. But I don't feel it's just the flow team - there are some people without manners.

That being said, the flow team does the heavy work in the store - unloading the trucks quickly and within goal times, stocking the floor while dealing with messy zones, and fellow team members whom they are either training or trying to carry cause they don't feel like working.

Keep up the good work - challenge on the walkie thing. Our flow team has at least 4-5 walkies, and they do respond to the front lanes. They also pick up cashier and sales floor shifts to get extra hours. Kudos to you!
 

redeye58

Hasta Ba Rista, Baby!
Joined
Jun 9, 2011
Messages
17,906
#8
Tellmeaboutatime, you're to be commended for demanding the best of your team. It's just a shame that the rest of your store can't follow your example. It sounds very much like a scapegoat scenario but please don't give up! It's heartening to read of someone who still sets high standards & instills a good work ethic.
 
Joined
Jun 8, 2011
Messages
396
#9
WOW! It seems to me this scenario is similar to our store. If anything is wrong it's because of flow. Being flow myself I KNOW first hand the workload we have and how difficult it is to meet goal times with fewer people plus call-ins we have. Our flow team also stays and help stock new planos. Granted some leave early due to classes, but several of the more experienced TMs do stay. I'm impressed with what you are doing to change this in your store. Keep up the good work!
 
Joined
Jul 16, 2011
Messages
778
#10
Yeah I'm sure I make dumb mistakes...but you know what, flowteam gets up at 5 in the morning, does 90 to 120 minutes of fast paced, stenuous work, and then continues that pace for 4 hours straight. If an area needs done, we might not take our 15 minute break until we are 4.5 hours into a six hours shift.

You know what salesfloor does (especially sftls...)? Come in around 8 at the earliest, clock in and yawn for a while, sit at tsc for about 20 minutes, walk the store for another 20 minutes, have a crisis when you realize that you are going to be setting endcaps, pushing clearance, and working ptms (this doesn't ever change I don't know why they act like this) which requires you to get with the LOD, and talk for another 15 to 20 minutes about your plan of attack...and then over the remainder of their shift they may manage to accomplish setting some toilet paper/paper towel endcaps (notice I didn't say fill them as well, that can just as easily become flow's responsibility), push a couple tubs of clearance (hands down hardest job in the store), and maybe flex in a couple ptm batches (they shouldn't even tell salesfloor to flex ptms in, they should just say pretend like you are zoning, this stuff can go anywhere in the aisles!) while at the same answering guest questions. But you know what, so does the flow team!

I think the flowteam should be able to call for backups anytime their process backs up. Say you are pushing freight and there are 4 boxes of tide detergent bowled out to the location, but only one box will go out...flow should immediately call for backup and have salesfloor and front end run down there to pick up the three bacstock boxes! /end rant
 

redeye58

Hasta Ba Rista, Baby!
Joined
Jun 9, 2011
Messages
17,906
#11
I think the flowteam should be able to call for backups anytime their process backs up. Say you are pushing freight and there are 4 boxes of tide detergent bowled out to the location, but only one box will go out...flow should immediately call for backup and have salesfloor and front end run down there to pick up the three bacstock boxes! /end rant
Yeh, but that would be terribly efficient & we can't have THAT now, can we?
 
Joined
Jul 16, 2011
Messages
778
#12
i'd start checking out walkies again if it were the case. Just so when flowteam called for backup, I could do that thing where you wait 15 seconds, and then be like "hey team, who can respond to that backup call? Honestly, it will take longer for you to walk here and back then it will to resolve this backup!"
 
Joined
Jun 8, 2011
Messages
396
#13
Yeah I'm sure I make dumb mistakes...but you know what, flowteam gets up at 5 in the morning, does 90 to 120 minutes of fast paced, stenuous work, and then continues that pace for 4 hours straight. If an area needs done, we might not take our 15 minute break until we are 4.5 hours into a six hours shift.

I think the flowteam should be able to call for backups anytime their process backs up. Say you are pushing freight and there are 4 boxes of tide detergent bowled out to the location, but only one box will go out...flow should immediately call for backup and have salesfloor and front end run down there to pick up the three bacstock boxes! /end rant
I totally agree with the first part but our truck unload begins at 3am rather than 5. Being on flow isn't as easy as it may appear. There's a lot more to the job than just stocking the shelves.

Just this week we had only three trucks each one being 2100-2200. On two of those days we were unable to acknowledge it in the system and had to push the entire truck. Perhaps needless to say for anyone that knows the process & time constraints, we desperately needed help to clear the floor by 8am. We had in-stocks, price change, plano, & even our ETL-HR help stocking. We are a team & should be willing to help when needed. As mentioned elsewhere flow often helps plano when setting transtions.
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2011
Messages
161
#14
I agree that the Flow Team gets no respect. When I was a Flow Team Lead years ago, we got blamed for a lot of stuff that we had nothing to do with. I told my team that it is that way at most stores and we just had to deal with the abuse. I was very tempted to have shirts printed up at the local printing shop that said, "Kick Me! I'm on the Flow Team!."
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2011
Messages
72
#15
Yes we are the biggest team so a select few can make a mess in the breakroom. I can't tell you how many times I would come into leftover good food in the breakroom that I would cry over. If only someone would have put it away I wouldn't have had to throw it out and my team could have had the leftovers. I agree about certain TL's wandering around in the morning with their cup of coffee. I had to run from the moment I entered the store and never got my 15 minute breaks. I don't know how many times we saved POG by pushing their product or salesfloor with finishing their reshop. My softlines ladies were the quickest in the store at remerchandising and pushing seasonal when they were needed. Half my team would stay late to work other work centers including helping the backroom get caught up. I would even help back there but that TL would never help me when we would have to push the whole truck. Another one I would find at TSC on the computers. There were a few leaders that did appreciate us but mostly we were overlooked
 
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