Archived InStocks Frustrations

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So, let me preface this by saying that I absolutely love the InStocks position. Making sure the guest has access to products while remaining independent and flexible enough to aid other areas of the store in their times of need is perfect for me.

However, I've been doing less and less InStocks work. I keep getting pulled out of my task list to cashier, work pulls, and even pull batches. I don't mind helping the other areas, but my task list hasn't been completed 100% in months.

Three weeks ago I was told by a TL that InStocks needs to be a little more thorough, essentially zoning each aisle heavily as I go. This is fine with me, as I've always thought a lot of problems stemmed from our counts being inaccurate due to poorly-zoned aisles.

This same TL came to me the other day and said we need to work on 'pacing', on a day when I had been called off to at least 5 cashier backups. I also told the TL that the reason I had only made it through 15 aisles in A-run (our cosmetics, HBO, and Pharm aisles) is that there are so many items out of place, sometimes even entire boxes' worth of product (so I know it's team member error, not just guests shopping the aisle and leaving it a mess). The response was that this was the week after inventory and every zone was going to be a mess. That may be true, but this has been a consistent problem since I started InStocks 6 months ago, so inventory week is not to blame.

We've had numerous InStocks team members before me quit or ask to be reassigned within two months of starting the position, and I can see why. In fact, I spoke to a number of them and they all cited the exact same problems I'm experiencing as the reason they wanted to quit the team.

I'm not unreasonable, I know we don't have that many hours to give and as a result there's a bit of rushing and employee error to be expected, but shouldn't something be done to ensure we're following Best Practice as closely as possible? I don't know if this means assigning TLs to problem areas or having more team members cross trained in a variety of positions, but I'd think something has to be done.

I don't want to continue this cycle of training someone on InStocks, working them till they hate it and quit, and repeating. I love InStocks, I love my Target, and I don't want to quit. I just want to get it right.

I plan on talking to my STL today when I can catch him and sit him down for 15~20 minutes, but I'd really appreciate any input or observations that my fellow Target employees may have to offer
 
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If you don't have support of leadership to make sure other work centers are on their game, you are never going solve your problem. And make sure you document what your time sucks are. Backing up for 30 min at a shot, well there are several isles that will never get scanned. Zone a mess and over pushed, more time - wasted.
 
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If you don't have support of leadership to make sure other work centers are on their game, you are never going solve your problem. And make sure you document what your time sucks are. Backing up for 30 min at a shot, well there are several isles that will never get scanned. Zone a mess and over pushed, more time - wasted.

My thoughts exactly... The talk didn't go well. Not to say it was completely unproductive, but the bottom line was pretty much 'this is how it is, do your best with what they give you'. I'm currently in development so I guess I'm just going to keep doing my best and do as much as I can to influence small changes at a time until I have the authority and resources to make some real changes here.

It's just sad because we're a really good target (one of the best in our district), but we could be so so so so so much better.

Thanks for the reply
 

Ringwraith917

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From my experience I'll say they really only want to hear the words "The task list is complete". Leadership doesn't really care if it's accurate. As long as the shortage doesn't get out of hand they'll let it go. Keep a notebook & write down any issues you have, whether it's getting pulled to do other tasks or having to spend a lot of time helping a guest. A badly zoned aisle should be skipped & taken note of. Deep Zoning is what 4x4's are supposed to do. Make a copy of these notes & hand it to your TL daily.
In all likelihood nothing will change but you'll have your ass covered if they want to bitch at you for not being done.
You keep your job by doing whatever they tell you to do. Just make note of it if it slows you down or is not best practice.
 
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From my experience I'll say they really only want to hear the words "The task list is complete". Leadership doesn't really care if it's accurate. As long as the shortage doesn't get out of hand they'll let it go. Keep a notebook & write down any issues you have, whether it's getting pulled to do other tasks or having to spend a lot of time helping a guest. A badly zoned aisle should be skipped & taken note of. Deep Zoning is what 4x4's are supposed to do. Make a copy of these notes & hand it to your TL daily.
In all likelihood nothing will change but you'll have your ass covered if they want to bitch at you for not being done.
You keep your job by doing whatever they tell you to do. Just make note of it if it slows you down or is not best practice.

I like the notebook idea a lot, definitely could see that coming in handy if I ever run into another 'pacing' talk.

If I were to skip badly zoned aisles we'd never have cosmetics, Pharm, HBO, or Toys scanned. Maybe 10% of those aisle are acceptably zoned and take me about 5 minutes to get through; the other 90% are a constant nightmare, compounded further by the fact that there ARE empty spots with product just burning a hole in our back room. I strongly suspect we have products that have been sitting there for months.

I'll try toying with my criteria for skipping an aisle and see how my productivity is affected. Thanks for the advice.
 
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What we ended up doing is started to hold other ETL's feet to the fire.. Can't scan cause we are pulling massive amounts of over stock from the truck push document and photograph it move it up the chain. The Book tab on the PDA/LPDA- In-Stock tab will tell you the last pull time or last Received if it was the same day or late last night it was Flow..

Also partner with the TL for those areas and see if you can get some extra zone time the night before.

And if you still need to scan a war zone flip to stand alone outs, you can fill without doing damage to counts.. Sorry we can't research it properly if it is not zone properly.

And flip the list backwards, so you have a shot at getting some places scanned that you are just not getting to.
 
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From my experience I'll say they really only want to hear the words "The task list is complete". Leadership doesn't really care if it's accurate. As long as the shortage doesn't get out of hand they'll let it go. Keep a notebook & write down any issues you have, whether it's getting pulled to do other tasks or having to spend a lot of time helping a guest. A badly zoned aisle should be skipped & taken note of. Deep Zoning is what 4x4's are supposed to do. Make a copy of these notes & hand it to your TL daily.
In all likelihood nothing will change but you'll have your ass covered if they want to bitch at you for not being done.
You keep your job by doing whatever they tell you to do. Just make note of it if it slows you down or is not best practice.
Take note..Ringwraith917 said make copies. Never give up your originals.
 

RunForACallBox

Fulfillment Expert/Former TL
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So I'm curious, how are small D GM stores executing your Instocks task list? Who all participates? Any tips on what you do that makes it work or a success? Ever since the week of Gray Thursday/Black Friday, our OOS% was 7.3, the next week 7.6, and this week 8.3. Keeps getting worse every week, but at my store we have no Instocks team really. I jump started the importance when I was trained after the last person was termed, and the rest of the leaders join in to complete. I'm the only TM that participates and yearns for a "Task list is complete". I love every second of it, but sometimes I have to rush and I don't feel like I'm getting a accurate, or good scan because I have my PTL on my case to get back on PTMing those f****** toys, or POG workload in general. Sorry, im beginning to hate POG, but thats not the point. Anything you guys have just throw my way would be much appreciated!
 
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Instocks is the reason I'm ready to leave Target. It's a mess at this point between the Flow TL writing the schedule and not telling us when new people are added. An instocks TL who doesn't know instocks and is too busy with the backroom anyways. An STL with great ideas like "flex over active outs on softlines tables" and the hassle it takes to get even basic equipment every day.

PTMs? Drastic count report? Too busy cashiering, doing reshop, pushing autos, 4x4 in shoes, working the backroom...
 
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Leadership wonders why equipment disappears...
I have seriously considered hiding a printer in a locker nobody uses so that I don't have to spend 10 minutes trying to find the one working printer that Price, Backroom or Receiving hasn't already claimed.
I used to think about doing the same with a PDA but now we have the MyDevices and I've completely given up on PDAs. Not because the iPods are much better but because there's only so many losing battles I'm willing to fight right now.

I would not be surprised if other teams have been hiding equipment all along though.
 

Stocker

Old Team Member
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Jan 22, 2014
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So, let me preface this by saying that I absolutely love the InStocks position. Making sure the guest has access to products while remaining independent and flexible enough to aid other areas of the store in their times of need is perfect for me.

However, I've been doing less and less InStocks work. I keep getting pulled out of my task list to cashier, work pulls, and even pull batches. I don't mind helping the other areas, but my task list hasn't been completed 100% in months.

Three weeks ago I was told by a TL that InStocks needs to be a little more thorough, essentially zoning each aisle heavily as I go. This is fine with me, as I've always thought a lot of problems stemmed from our counts being inaccurate due to poorly-zoned aisles.

This same TL came to me the other day and said we need to work on 'pacing', on a day when I had been called off to at least 5 cashier backups. I also told the TL that the reason I had only made it through 15 aisles in A-run (our cosmetics, HBO, and Pharm aisles) is that there are so many items out of place, sometimes even entire boxes' worth of product (so I know it's team member error, not just guests shopping the aisle and leaving it a mess). The response was that this was the week after inventory and every zone was going to be a mess. That may be true, but this has been a consistent problem since I started InStocks 6 months ago, so inventory week is not to blame.

We've had numerous InStocks team members before me quit or ask to be reassigned within two months of starting the position, and I can see why. In fact, I spoke to a number of them and they all cited the exact same problems I'm experiencing as the reason they wanted to quit the team.

I'm not unreasonable, I know we don't have that many hours to give and as a result there's a bit of rushing and employee error to be expected, but shouldn't something be done to ensure we're following Best Practice as closely as possible? I don't know if this means assigning TLs to problem areas or having more team members cross trained in a variety of positions, but I'd think something has to be done.

I don't want to continue this cycle of training someone on InStocks, working them till they hate it and quit, and repeating. I love InStocks, I love my Target, and I don't want to quit. I just want to get it right.

I plan on talking to my STL today when I can catch him and sit him down for 15~20 minutes, but I'd really appreciate any input or observations that my fellow Target employees may have to offer



Hmm this sounds like bad communication all around really, of course this never happens at Target.... any way your post kinda sounds like a salesfoor TL is just giving you random suggestions which is fine. But what you really need to do is talk with whatever ETL your under before you go to the STL. Of course if this is a very small store maybe your STL is the main go to person but should not be right away. Yes you need to pace yourself, we try to stick to a 2-3 minute time frame on our aisles. Yes some areas take longer especially HBA and cosmetics but if you spend 10 minutes in every aisle you will never get done. You should zone a little if necessary but usually if an aisle is going to take more then 5 minutes to zone we skip it. As an Instocks team member I know being as accurate as possible is what we try to do but you will miss a scan here... a critical low there at times you just need to stick to a pace and get the task list done. Luckily we rarely have to back up cashier and the push and pull stuff is done after our list is done for the day. What you need to do as soon as possible is just get with your ETL and STL both if possible that way they can come up with a full game plan for scanning that they will be happy with and you will be happy with also. You will just go crazy trying to figure out the best way to do everything by yourself. Of course if you are at one of those stores were you are basically on your own with little or no guidance then good luck.
 
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I feel like something strange is going on. Our IS team has seen no new seasonal help or any increase in hours for the team. The task list went out the window a long time ago. We do top depts just about every day and the rest of the store whenever we can. Depending on whether it's a truck day or what manpower we have usually determines whether we include drastic lows or just the outs. We are a push all store and that IMO was designed to minimize instocks.
 
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When they give POG the X-mas PTM process and they drop all the carry forward for toys.. Can you say pallets? Not the first time they have done this.. Why don't they ask how to drop the batches..

And our ETL who is the one who actually knows how to run the place so it runs, I swear needed some special brownies to calm down cause I thought he was going to clean and gut the POG TL right there in receiving this morning.
 
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Our whole store is flexed. The backroom is out of control. Clearance PLU should be craptastic - it's everywhere. Planograms are taken down, but not broken. Flex labels are a foreign language and the pcv report is pages long as a result. Our new AP guy has decided to change capacities in electronics but not "officially" - and didn't let our team know. It just goes on and on. Is Best Practice even a thing anymore?
 
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And POG decided to drop all of seasonal pull it all plus what came in off the truck on Friday, but not even schedule the people to push it. I cleared three flats of candy on a Friday afternoon. While POG went home. Gee thanks assholes. I sent everything else to back stock, I refuse to touch PTM on a weekend. Let them deal with it.

They wanted the process and created this clusterfuck deal with it.
 
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Just keep mashing "Research aisle done" or what ever that button is called. As long as the numbers are good no one will care. And if they say anything the answer is always: it looked good when I left. Must have been the mid.
 
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Leadership wonders why equipment disappears...
I have seriously considered hiding a printer in a locker nobody uses so that I don't have to spend 10 minutes trying to find the one working printer that Price, Backroom or Receiving hasn't already claimed.
I used to think about doing the same with a PDA but now we have the MyDevices and I've completely given up on PDAs. Not because the iPods are much better but because there's only so many losing battles I'm willing to fight right now.

I would not be surprised if other teams have been hiding equipment all along though.
we have a pda we hide in electronics otherwise we would never get one. we dont want backroom yelling at us about loc accuracy. sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
 
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Just keep mashing "Research aisle done" or what ever that button is called. As long as the numbers are good no one will care. And if they say anything the answer is always: it looked good when I left. Must have been the mid.

This works until somebody starts doing audits and checking the last researched dates. I know this because for a month leadership was real effing keen on following behind Instocks and checking that we scanned all the things. If you want to know what hell is, its scanning cosmetics again because the STL noticed you missed a couple spots. Not that they'd change the counts or drop a batch or anything like that themselves and let you know what happened, nope. Had to backtrack and fix it yourself.
 
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Just keep mashing "Research aisle done" or what ever that button is called. As long as the numbers are good no one will care. And if they say anything the answer is always: it looked good when I left. Must have been the mid.

This works until somebody starts doing audits and checking the last researched dates. I know this because for a month leadership was real effing keen on following behind Instocks and checking that we scanned all the things. If you want to know what hell is, its scanning cosmetics again because the STL noticed you missed a couple spots. Not that they'd change the counts or drop a batch or anything like that themselves and let you know what happened, nope. Had to backtrack and fix it yourself.

Sorry the zone was not done properly.. And keep on truckin'. But in reality I would make you fix it, if it was a real mistake..
 
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Our whole store is flexed. The backroom is out of control. Clearance PLU should be craptastic - it's everywhere. Planograms are taken down, but not broken. Flex labels are a foreign language and the pcv report is pages long as a result. Our new AP guy has decided to change capacities in electronics but not "officially" - and didn't let our team know. It just goes on and on. Is Best Practice even a thing anymore?

Best practice went out the door a long time ago. However you still get yelled at because you're not following best practice to get the metrics since BP is based off of actually having correct staffing and beautiful zones. IS is the reason I left target. Each ETL has their own thoughts as to how it should be done and the team tried so hard to keep to BP as much as they could for so long. The ETL log eventually just made up his own rules for IS and the team doesn't know which is their left from right anymore.
 
Joined
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Our whole store is flexed. The backroom is out of control. Clearance PLU should be craptastic - it's everywhere. Planograms are taken down, but not broken. Flex labels are a foreign language and the pcv report is pages long as a result. Our new AP guy has decided to change capacities in electronics but not "officially" - and didn't let our team know. It just goes on and on. Is Best Practice even a thing anymore?

Best practice went out the door a long time ago. However you still get yelled at because you're not following best practice to get the metrics since BP is based off of actually having correct staffing and beautiful zones. IS is the reason I left target. Each ETL has their own thoughts as to how it should be done and the team tried so hard to keep to BP as much as they could for so long. The ETL log eventually just made up his own rules for IS and the team doesn't know which is their left from right anymore.

My team is heading that way fast. And they wonder why attitude sucks and we are grouchy and getting mean? We have told you why.
 
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Really I spent the last three days doing pricing not in-stocks PTM. and the day after x-mas the pricing TL and their most senior TM are off and two part timers are supposed to handle all the mark downs? Shit it took over an hour to pull just the HBA/COSM batches for them. It took me and a partner half a day to get through ¾ of it. I got to finish marking it Saturday and since no one had been scheduled to push it that was my punishment Saturday.
 
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