Business is up. That’s good. Production is slow. That’s not good.
What to do?
The potential solutions to increasing productivity are multifaceted.
Overtime, at the expense of burning out good employees.
Hiring new employees. Good luck.
Outsourcing. Almost as difficult as hiring new employees.
We are doing all three. But that’s not really what this post is all about. What’s it about then, R Dub? Good question.
We are evaluating a potential new outsource group today to supplement production of our biggest back order product line. Scheduled to be in the entourage was engineering, quality and purchasing .
My Product Specialist requested to be added to this evaluation team.
My Product Specialist manages this product line for our biggest distribution. You know the names: Amazon, Grainger, Fastenal, MSC, etc. Keeping these giants happy is critical to sustaining the business in our cyber buying world.
Functionally, she will not have much influence on grading the company or necessarily know what they are capable of. However, when I was in a similar position at 3M I found it useful to visit all of my outsource companies. Getting to know the owners, management and key employees helped when we needed to ask for favors and to understand why they may ask for favors.
Knowing how all levels of production function is beneficial when talking to our customers about issues too.
So I told her that she could be part of the evaluation team knowing that there would be push back from the rest of my team.
Why would there be push back? Good question.
This employee was promoted from Customer Service Rep to Product Specialist prior to my promotion as Customer Service Manager. She and my predecessor were and are close friends. The optic is…nepotism…there was and is animosity among my team and her…
The other CSRs are working long hours and feel that this employee should still be helping them. They were given all of her old work and upper management has not back filled this empty spot.
From my estimation, she is very good at what she does. Handling the national and international distribution is not easy. They require immediate responses and accurate answers and yes…a little butt kissing from time to time. And…she needs to know when to dig in and be tough.
Was there push back? Absolutely, the CSRs viewed my decision as an unnecessary junket and one more perk for a favored employee.
I explained why I said yes. More importantly, I assured them that if they have a similar type of request to learn more about our business that the answer would most likely be yes.
Saying no would’ve resulted in one disappointed employee, saying yes resulted in two angry employees. I think I handled it well. Time will tell.
A first world tough decision for sure, but a tough decision all the same.