Training... Or lack there of

flexin

Flexible Fulfillment Team Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2018
Messages
8
Hi all,

You may have seen me ask a few stupid questions over the last few months. I was hired as a seasonal TM in November last year for the sales floor. I was also "trained" in SFS in November. My training couldn't have been anymore than two hours long, so I was given just enough knowledge to understand the very bare basics of working in flexible fulfillment. In January I was asked to stay as a permanent flexible fulfillment team member. Since I enjoyed it, I decided to stay permanently. Now I've been with Target for 4 months, and I still don't know what I'm doing 75% of the time. I'm regularly the only one working in flex, and there never seems to be anyone else in the store that can answer my questions or help me when I need it.

Ultimately, I would love to get some more training. Though I haven't had anyone talk to me about my performance, I still know that I could be doing a lot better than I am now. I don't know what to do when I can't find an item. I usually just hit that INF button without thinking twice. I don't know how to get large packages up to GS. I usually just ask someone else to do it for me. I don't know how to refill the air pillow machine. I don't know where we store the packing tape. I don't know how to locate items in the aisles quickly. I usually just search the entire aisle from top to bottom. Long story short: There's a lot I don't know.

Has anyone ever been in a similar situation? Did you do anything about it? I've been thinking about talking to someone and expressing my interest in getting some more training. I'm not even sure who I would ask. A TL or an ETL? Do you think that's something they'd make happen for me? I think even just a couple of training shifts would help tremendously. Or should I not even bother and just continue trying to learn as I go?

I should add that Target is a second job for me, and my hours have been lowered significantly since the end of December. I've been working an average of 10-15 hours a week for the last couple of months.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 10, 2019
Messages
28
As my store’s SFS captain for the last two years, training is a joke. If I got two hours to train every seasonal team member they threw my way, that’s overestimating it. Most of the time my training was 99% throwing you into the trenches as I picked that day. Why? Because I still had my own deadlines to keep. That being said, if you’re INFing that easily, management might pull you aside and give you a warning. You’re supposed to exhaust every possible resource before canceling an item: checking go backs, the fitting room, RFID the backroom, ask the team of that area if they’ve seen said product. There’s a girl right now that INFs anywhere between 10-25% any given day. Totally unacceptable, and if I had my way, she’d be out. I think consistently having 15+% INF is enough to get SFS shut down in my district. I hover around 5%, and even then I’m annoyed that it’s high. You have to be patient in SFS, and have an eye for detail. I would definitely ask a lead how to maintain the packing stations, because what happens when you’re totally alone? Can’t find the collate paper, and there’s still 60+ to print out? It still needs to get done.

Edit: Rereading this makes me sound horrible omg. Sorry about that, I think I just released some pent up problems I have with how my store and SFS operates!
 
Last edited:

flexin

Flexible Fulfillment Team Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2018
Messages
8
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3
As my store’s SFS captain for the last two years, training is a joke. If I got two hours to train every seasonal team member they threw my way, that’s overestimating it. Most of the time my training was 99% throwing you into the trenches as I picked that day. Why? Because I still had my own deadlines to keep. That being said, if you’re INFing that easily, management might pull you aside and give you a warning. You’re supposed to exhaust every possible resource before canceling an item: checking go backs, the fitting room, RFID the backroom, ask the team of that area if they’ve seen said product. There’s a girl right now that INFs anywhere between 10-25% any given day. Totally unacceptable, and if I had my way, she’d be out. I think consistently having 15+% INF is enough to get SFS shut down in my district. I hover around 5%, and even then I’m annoyed that it’s high. You have to be patient in SFS, and have an eye for detail. I would definitely ask a lead how to maintain the packing stations, because what happens when you’re totally alone? Can’t find the collate paper, and there’s still 60+ to print out? It still needs to get done.

Edit: Rereading this makes me sound horrible omg. Sorry about that, I think I just released some pent up problems I have with how my store and SFS operates!
I understand where you're coming from. I have heard of SFS being shut down in some stores due to high INFs rates, and I obviously don't want that to happen in our store. Because I don't know how to efficiently look for an item that's not in it's designated location, I could easily spend more than 30 minutes wondering around the store looking for one item. To be honest, I don't know what a "go back" is or how to use a RFID. If I had a better idea of where to start when I'm looking for an item, and how to do it quickly, I could be finding those items in a reasonable amount of time. Otherwise it would take me all day just to pick a couple of carts. I think if I had some more training, I could significantly more helpful.

I also see where you're coming from about training seasonal team members. There's a lot of seasonals thrown at you at once. You just don't have the time to give them all in-depth training. That's not your fault. But as someone who is going to be working permanently, and likely training/helping the next season's seasonal team members, I'd like to have more knowledge, experience and skills.
 
Joined
Feb 10, 2019
Messages
28
I understand where you're coming from. I have heard of SFS being shut down in some stores due to high INFs rates, and I obviously don't want that to happen in our store. Because I don't know how to efficiently look for an item that's not in it's designated location, I could easily spend more than 30 minutes wondering around the store looking for one item. To be honest, I don't know what a "go back" is or how to use a RFID. If I had a better idea of where to start when I'm looking for an item, and how to do it quickly, I could be finding those items in a reasonable amount of time. Otherwise it would take me all day just to pick a couple of carts. I think if I had some more training, I could significantly more helpful.

I also see where you're coming from about training seasonal team members. There's a lot of seasonals thrown at you at once. You just don't have the time to give them all in-depth training. That's not your fault. But as someone who is going to be working permanently, and likely training/helping the next season's seasonal team members, I'd like to have more knowledge, experience and skills.
I totally get it! If you’re interested, go ahead and shoot me a message with your questions! A lot of it may depend on how your store operates, but doing this for two years has given me some insight on what works and what doesn’t.
 
Joined
Sep 25, 2017
Messages
444
Figure out who at your store knows what you need to know and is open to you asking lots of questions. I always appreciate when a new TM isn't afraid to ask questions because they want to do a better job or they don't understand how something works. That's miles better than a newbie who thinks they already know everything but they really have no clue how to even read a shelf label. (We had a flow seasonal TM once who made it all the way to January without knowing how to read a shelf label - what?)
 
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
39
As my store’s SFS captain for the last two years, training is a joke. If I got two hours to train every seasonal team member they threw my way, that’s overestimating it. Most of the time my training was 99% throwing you into the trenches as I picked that day. Why? Because I still had my own deadlines to keep. That being said, if you’re INFing that easily, management might pull you aside and give you a warning. You’re supposed to exhaust every possible resource before canceling an item: checking go backs, the fitting room, RFID the backroom, ask the team of that area if they’ve seen said product. There’s a girl right now that INFs anywhere between 10-25% any given day. Totally unacceptable, and if I had my way, she’d be out. I think consistently having 15+% INF is enough to get SFS shut down in my district. I hover around 5%, and even then I’m annoyed that it’s high. You have to be patient in SFS, and have an eye for detail. I would definitely ask a lead how to maintain the packing stations, because what happens when you’re totally alone? Can’t find the collate paper, and there’s still 60+ to print out? It still needs to get done.

Edit: Rereading this makes me sound horrible omg. Sorry about that, I think I just released some pent up problems I have with how my store and SFS operates!
I’m just wondering how neat/organized your storeroom is to have your INF% so low. I strive to have a low INF and I try my hardest to find items that aren’t located, but in our storerooms at any given time there are anywhere from 10-50 repack boxes stacked up on the floor that haven’t been sorted yet and many pallets of back stock (I counted 3 in our 3rd floor storeroom labeled February 15 this past weekend). I have been told by our TL to stop looking after 10 minutes. It’s just so frustrating because I really like doing SFS and want to do well.

To the original poster. I am in a very similar situation. My training was also lacking. I’ve been at Target for a year and still don’t know what a lot of the terms mean. I know just enough to do SFS/OPU and that’s pretty much it. Definitely have someone show you how to use the RFID, as it will help a lot with clothing. (Although it can be infuriating when it’s beepibg while looking for one tee shirt in an extremely messy display table). Good luck!!!
 
Joined
Feb 10, 2019
Messages
28
I’m just wondering how neat/organized your storeroom is to have your INF% so low. I strive to have a low INF and I try my hardest to find items that aren’t located, but in our storerooms at any given time there are anywhere from 10-50 repack boxes stacked up on the floor that haven’t been sorted yet and many pallets of back stock (I counted 3 in our 3rd floor storeroom labeled February 15 this past weekend). I have been told by our TL to stop looking after 10 minutes. It’s just so frustrating because I really like doing SFS and want to do well.

To the original poster. I am in a very similar situation. My training was also lacking. I’ve been at Target for a year and still don’t know what a lot of the terms mean. I know just enough to do SFS/OPU and that’s pretty much it. Definitely have someone show you how to use the RFID, as it will help a lot with clothing. (Although it can be infuriating when it’s beepibg while looking for one tee shirt in an extremely messy display table). Good luck!!!
Honestly? There’s no organization in Receiving or the main Backroom. We’re always a truck behind, have several pallets of SL repacks scattered around, and CAFs don’t get pushed for days. It’s a mess. But I’m also a stubborn person. I walk all these areas multiple times a day so I start to pick up on things, like remembering that I had seen this sitting in a 3 tier, and for SL, I do actually spend time digging through repacks. Others would just cancel the item; I don’t. And also maintaining good relationships with people in every department, so that they’ll keep you in the loop if you ask them to keep an eye out for something. This is especially important with the SL breakout ladies. They know what we get in before anyone else does; use them. Other than that, little things like checking boys AND girls for basics like plain tees and jeans helps keep INF down ( ex: order calls for girls simple white tee; check boys also because it could’ve gotten mixed in there since so many don’t associate the unique DPCI with a specific department and just toss it anywhere ). These little things add up quickly!
 
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
39
Honestly? There’s no organization in Receiving or the main Backroom. We’re always a truck behind, have several pallets of SL repacks scattered around, and CAFs don’t get pushed for days. It’s a mess. But I’m also a stubborn person. I walk all these areas multiple times a day so I start to pick up on things, like remembering that I had seen this sitting in a 3 tier, and for SL, I do actually spend time digging through repacks. Others would just cancel the item; I don’t. And also maintaining good relationships with people in every department, so that they’ll keep you in the loop if you ask them to keep an eye out for something. This is especially important with the SL breakout ladies. They know what we get in before anyone else does; use them. Other than that, little things like checking boys AND girls for basics like plain tees and jeans helps keep INF down ( ex: order calls for girls simple white tee; check boys also because it could’ve gotten mixed in there since so many don’t associate the unique DPCI with a specific department and just toss it anywhere ). These little things add up quickly!
I also search through repack boxes, but have been told not to for certain things. Other times I’ve been told to keep looking. I also try to work with others in different areas-the ladies in HBA/beauty have been really helpful to me. The woman who sorts the soft lines repacks absolutely hates it when I come into the area where she’s working. She’s told me before not to touch her repack boxes. I tell her I have to look for things and if I’m getting a hit from the RFID, I’m definitely looking, but she still gets pissed.

It just gets so frustrating when I’m trying my hardest to find an item and I get told different things by different leaders. Add in the time limit for OPU and I don’t know which is the lesser of two evils-INFing or not getting it picked and brought to guest service on time. I’d say it’s more important to find it, but that’s not always possible in 30 if it’s a big order and you have to go to multiple level of the store room. (Don’t even get me started on the elevator situation!!!)
 

LearningTree

Guest Experience
Joined
Jan 15, 2018
Messages
588
Some of this sounds like very basic stuff your TL can go over in a few minutes. Reading a shelf label? takes 2 minutes to explain and demonstrate. IF everything (or most things) are in their proper place, you should be able to locate it in the aisle fairly quickly, or at least find the empty spot where it's supposed to be. How to get large items to GS? Put it on a flatbed and haul it up there yourself.

You may be getting so few hours due to your high INF. That's a big no-no. Not being able to find something is one thing. Checking 1 place and then hitting INF could get you performanced out.

Write down a list of questions/concerns and ask your TL if you could come in for a few training shifts. They can pull up all of the training on workbench for you and partner you with someone.
 

seasonaldude

Waiting for your kid to get out of my way in toys
Joined
Oct 3, 2018
Messages
563
I don't know what to do when I can't find an item. I usually just hit that INF button without thinking twice.
OK, yeah. Don't do that. An INF rate below 5% is the goal for this year. I'm not sure if that's just my district or company-wide. But, that's what I've been told to shoot for. Personally, I get pissy if my daily INF is above 3%.

Never, never, never hit "Can't Find" if an item is not in the location you are directed to. Skip the item and go back to it later. Partner with a hardlines TL or veteran TM. You need to know how to read all the data in MyWork. That will tell you where to look for things that aren't in the proper location or if it's pointless to look because they've likely been stolen. Learn how to use the RFID gun for softlines. It's easy. You really just need to know how to pair it with your zebra.
 
Joined
Feb 10, 2019
Messages
28
I also search through repack boxes, but have been told not to for certain things. Other times I’ve been told to keep looking. I also try to work with others in different areas-the ladies in HBA/beauty have been really helpful to me. The woman who sorts the soft lines repacks absolutely hates it when I come into the area where she’s working. She’s told me before not to touch her repack boxes. I tell her I have to look for things and if I’m getting a hit from the RFID, I’m definitely looking, but she still gets pissed.

It just gets so frustrating when I’m trying my hardest to find an item and I get told different things by different leaders. Add in the time limit for OPU and I don’t know which is the lesser of two evils-INFing or not getting it picked and brought to guest service on time. I’d say it’s more important to find it, but that’s not always possible in 30 if it’s a big order and you have to go to multiple level of the store room. (Don’t even get me started on the elevator situation!!!)
Then she should break out faster. I know I get in their way but my ladies are always very understanding, and I always make sure to put things back and not leave a mess. Ultimately, if they’re hindering your ability to look for things, I would continue up the ladder and make it known that you’re being met with resistance. I let my STL know where INFs are the highest, and he tries to find a way to get some help to that area because he understands the importance of these things. Do I maybe throw parts of the store under the bus? Yeah. But SFS is a good indicator of the store’s health, at least in my eyes. If the zone is good, the truck caught up, backroom clean, then INFs will be low and everything will be done on time. Of course sometimes these things are out of my hands, but it generally works for me.

The less of two evils to me is going over goal time, and that’s after consulting with my STL. He rather we find the item and it be late, than losing that sale. But of course, this depends on your STL.
 
Joined
Feb 17, 2019
Messages
27
Definitely don't just hit "Can't find" if you can't find it in the aisle. You seem to be at a smaller store if you are literally the only one in sfs. You need to talk to your TL about this and maybe get someone who knows a lot about it to help explain the little things. The training I got was on the job and I learned most stuff by just asking questions. Finding items is hard sometimes, depending on how organized your store is. Ask other people that work in the different departments (especially for softlines). If it is not in the correct location, then you need to go on a scavenger hunt looking in the most likely places it could be, which may be excessively numerous. Check to see when the item came in on MyWork, that should give you a good indication of where to find it or how likely it is to find. If it came in that day for instance, you know to look in receiving or people pushing.

Maybe I misunderstood your question and I don't know how your store operates, but for large items; if it is a team lift package, get someone else to help you put it on a Uboat and then just wheel it down to GS. Do they have a backroom near there to put large items in?

Definitely ask someone where the air pillows and tape are and how to load it, that can really slow you down when packing. Air pillows are a pain with our machine (it does not work well at all) and it is very hard to explain how to put them in without a demonstration, ask.

You should definitely know how to read the location code at least (maybe you do). Say the item is located at B1 1-1-1; it would be in aisle B1 on the first block closest to the runway, on the bottom shelf, in the first location closest to the runway. If you don't find the item in the right place, someone may have messed up at some point. Look behind everything close to the location and down the aisle like you do. Look nearby at other aisles with the same location code, sometimes people put it in the wrong aisle (happens at my store). Then of course do everything everyone else is saying (ask people in the department, look in go-backs, backroom etc). If the item is not found at all, be sure to audit it.
Honestly finding stuff in sfs is the final product of everyone in the store and is a team/organizational effort. If the store is really unorganized it can be really hard.
 
Joined
Feb 17, 2019
Messages
27
OK, yeah. Don't do that. An INF rate below 5% is the goal for this year. I'm not sure if that's just my district or company-wide. But, that's what I've been told to shoot for. Personally, I get pissy if my daily INF is above 3%.

Never, never, never hit "Can't Find" if an item is not in the location you are directed to. Skip the item and go back to it later. Partner with a hardlines TL or veteran TM. You need to know how to read all the data in MyWork. That will tell you where to look for things that aren't in the proper location or if it's pointless to look because they've likely been stolen. Learn how to use the RFID gun for softlines. It's easy. You really just need to know how to pair it with your zebra.
How can you get 3%? At my store we were doing 5-10% during the holidays, but recently we have been doing at least 30%. Even the TL who will pick with us gets around that. There was one day were I couldn't find literally more than half a batch (mostly clothes). I asked all the softline people, even the SLTL and they couldn't find it either. I was extremely angry and everyone could tell. Hell, I feel bad when I can't find one item, but with something like that... I was almost literally ripping my hair out.

Sure, my store is very big and we seem to always be behind in something, plus we are in an area where people are stealing at lot of stuff even with our large tps division, but some employees seem to not care at all. How can on hands and on the floor numbers get so messed up? Honestly, if it is going to be like that then I don't even want to do sfs. Let someone else deal with that guilt of not finding stuff. I've become an extremely fast packer though. I usually get the 7 to 11pm shift and when I show up, almost nothing is packed from that day. I always finish even if it is a ridiculous amount.
 

seasonaldude

Waiting for your kid to get out of my way in toys
Joined
Oct 3, 2018
Messages
563
How can you get 3%?
Hmmm. I don't know. Thinking about it....It likely helps that we don't do SFS, so I just have OPUs and DUs to worry about. Less stress. We're a smaller store and that means fewer TMs. Everyone knows each other and coming from hardlines I've worked with everyone on that side a lot. This helps because if something is still on a truck vehicle, I know the TM to ask specfically which vehicle on the line I should check. Fewer TMs to train might also mean that things are generally done better at my store? (I kind of doubt that as everything always seems like it's a mess, but it's a possibility.)

When TMs help me, I always make sure to thank them profusely and let their TLs know. I let even higher ups know if the opportunity presents itself. Praising individual TMs for helping you out to the DTL goes a long way towards getting help in the future.

But, honestly, I really don't know. I just do what I do. I take INFs personally and look everywhere before doing them, time permitting. Somedays I'm under 1% INF. I'm still waiting for my Great White Whale: a no INF 8 hour shift. Maybe tomorrow. 🤷‍♂️ It's doubtful as it's Friday and a truck day. But, we'll see.
 
Joined
Feb 17, 2019
Messages
27
Hmmm. I don't know. Thinking about it....It likely helps that we don't do SFS, so I just have OPUs and DUs to worry about. Less stress. We're a smaller store and that means fewer TMs. Everyone knows each other and coming from hardlines I've worked with everyone on that side a lot. This helps because if something is still on a truck vehicle, I know the TM to ask specfically which vehicle on the line I should check. Fewer TMs to train might also mean that things are generally done better at my store? (I kind of doubt that as everything always seems like it's a mess, but it's a possibility.)

When TMs help me, I always make sure to thank them profusely and let their TLs know. I let even higher ups know if the opportunity presents itself. Praising individual TMs for helping you out to the DTL goes a long way towards getting help in the future.

But, honestly, I really don't know. I just do what I do. I take INFs personally and look everywhere before doing them, time permitting. Somedays I'm under 1% INF. I'm still waiting for my Great White Whale: a no INF 8 hour shift. Maybe tomorrow. 🤷‍♂️ It's doubtful as it's Friday and a truck day. But, we'll see.
For some reason, when I do just OPUs and DUs, I can find most of the items, but SFS can be really bad sometimes. I don't know why they are different at all. I will say I'm definitely not a pro picker but I'm above average and try really hard. Your store sounds great actually, I wish I worked there.
Strangely, I know nothing of the DTL and my store seems to not even have a specific STL. You look at the contact picture in the breakroom and the STL picture and number is just empty. I was interested in knowing who the STL was, but everyone I asked seemed really confused as to what the hell I was talking about.
 

seasonaldude

Waiting for your kid to get out of my way in toys
Joined
Oct 3, 2018
Messages
563
Somedays I'm under 1% INF. I'm still waiting for my Great White Whale: a no INF 8 hour shift. Maybe tomorrow. 🤷‍♂️ It's doubtful as it's Friday and a truck day. But, we'll see.
Yeah, so that didn't happen. Not even close. Over 10% INF today. Missed a goal time too solely because the closing LOD told me to run to the back and ask the speciality sales lead about an item. Yeah, OK. We haven't sold this thing in 252 days, but I'll go ask so she can tell me "yeah, we probably don't have that." No shit, you say. No shit. Can we maybe getting around to, I don't know, auditing the outs once every 250 days or so? Or would that be too much too ask?
 
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