ASM Reduction, When??
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Novi, MI

#23 Dec 28, 2012
DMxMD wrote:
Well you seem to have it all figured out don't you. You must be one of those DMs that should be combined with another department. We all know the ones. You know, the DM everyone calls a CSA+, because all they do is downstock and replace labels. If you had any idea what an ASMs job entails, or the faintest clue what a REAL Dept. Mgr does, maybe you would be set up to do "blue vest" like your "ass kisser" peer.
But no, I have a feeling you are one of the DMs I have been speaking about that wants no part of being a leader, just wants to come in and make more money for doing the same job as their CSAs, and then flips out when we suggest that you should maybe make a worklist, keep an eye on your department's order management, and heaven forbid you give input on scheduling or the reviews of your team. Oh no. That would be too much on your plate, and is obviously offloading all of our responsibilities of running the entire building onto you, so you can replace us.
What small minded dribble. You're so focused on your little world, your one or two issues during the day, getting the right label to print, and that box of $1.97 electrical outlets down stocked for your page of IRPs, that you don't look around and see there are 14 more of you in the same building.
I so understand what you go through! I really do. Scheduling - do it, Downstocking - do it, Order Management - do it 100%, firefighting - do it... Blue vesting (back when we had to do it) MRs, Price Changes, Signage, counts, resets, merchandising, ems, refreshes, inventory overages/shortages, coaching, selling, zoning, training new employees, install issues, customer complaints, receiving, ensuring employees take their little store cup garbage tests, item history, theft and shrink investigation performance reviews, market competition shops... at my store us DM's are responsible for it all! Hell - even the receiving department manager is responsible for opening the store! Alarm code and everything! I won't go into my resume here but I am the lone guy that was responsible for the company dropping the price on a labor item that has boosted said product groups installed sales by 600% over years previous! That is what we are tasked to do... so don't sit there and assume that I am some generalized retail loser who's been in retail my whole life. I never assumed that about you - don't go flaming me... you have no fucking clue who I am, or what I can do. Yes - I've only been with the company for 8 years - but I must have done something right to have gotten into SMTP (as a department manager) only to have them yank that out from underneath me - not do the program. The "sniveling asskisser" I mentioned? He was made a Department manager two years after me, and the departments that he was over were always behind on budgets, and whatever other metrics that are associated with whatever dept he was over. What got him the job ahead of me was from him being friendly with an ASM at that store already - whom I've had the pleasure of proving said ASM wrong on several occasions. My departments have always comped, and crushed their budgets year after year. I've been told several times that "Lowe's isn't ready for a guy like you" - since I have this uncanny ability to smell BS, and I call people out on it... and that isn't very "asskissy" of me. but I digress, as this isn't the place for my bitching. but again - don't go assuming things about people - you never know - they may be your next boss!

Pembroke, MA

#24 Dec 28, 2012
Well if it is getting a key to unlock anything frankly the sales of that stuff are rare. I remember selling trailers..sweet lord by the time someone had a key went back to get the title and then went outside and back in it nearly took a half hour to sell one.

I don't hear overhead pages for hardly anything in the store outside of call buttons and I hardly hear anyone actually call or look for another higher ranking person.

Maybe asm's get called directly by the sm or hr but since the sm in my old store doesn't ever leave her office that's hard for me to assume (same with hr).

I'd argue maybe some of this is because they pretty much vetted out anyone kinda dumb or lazy from the store as the majority know how to do their jobs. In addition it is pretty slow this time of year. If it isn't snowing then snow product stays where it is, if it isn't warm enough then lawn product doesn't sell and if it's cold anything outside is a no go. People paint more when there's more sunlight so it's really the slowest time of the year right now.
Say What?

Campbellsville, KY

#25 Dec 29, 2012
DMxMD wrote:
...get 12 emails about x-mas price changes that are late downloading, but figure out on-the-fly plan to get them completed whenever they may or may not drop on Christmas Eve, make sure the bull pen isn't full of crap again, get it cleared out, take unreasonable angry customer call, bend over and make them happy, 16th trip of the day to the returns desk to override return of obviously stolen random plumbing and electrical parts, assist investigation and preparing case for the internal theft issue going on, forced to coach DM for not doing three weeks of cycle counts, called to the bullpen, garden gate, receiving, and then back to the bullpen to open gates, WTF is this new report, I have to compile and send this weekly top 10 large sale prospects list to who?3 attendance write-ups, 1 no call no show write up, and another for looking up inappropriate things on the iPhone, customer wants $3500 blinds order for free because of Levolor 14 day guarantee, spend hour on the phone telling customer that's not how it works, calling Levolor to get a discount, get CCIC email, call customer back and give them levolors information, bang head against wall, associate wants to talk about their feeling for one hour, DM wants to talk about their current crisis, HR stops in to discuss some new worthless task they have been assigned, this time it's involving them in SSPT feedback sessions, oh crap how many more observations do we have to get put in before the end of the month?, why is that associate standing in topstock throwing merchandise down to someone?, compactor needs unlocked so hardware can dump glass, evening meeting, ensure all departments are on track for being zoned on time for close, pay install bills, run reports and numbers for closing emails, spend hour closing cash office, make sure everything is locked, get team out on time, fix closing zone issues the team didn't, etc.
My god, I thought of all this just thinking of one day. There has to be 10 times more tasks I could list. We are VERY busy, and no, you don't always know what we're working on, but if we took the time to explain to you what we were doing every time we had to step into the office, it would take twice as long. I think you have just given me an idea for a new PDP task for the beginning of the year. I need to spend a day with each individual department manager shadowing an ASM to see what they do for a day. I think it would give them a whole new perspective to see there is a store around them, not just their department.
Amen....We are twin Brothers from different Mothers.
Don't forget ad prep and Merchandising standards.
Oh and get an temp acct. Set up for an appliance exchange because the customer refuses to use the warranty process,just to have the store send it out for repair and then sell at a huge margin loss to the brother of the customer that originally returned it.
And if this iPhone drops another call I am going to throw it as far ad I can.
Yes sir I do care that you spent $30k in our store this year. Now sir,if you are going to continue to call me names and swear at me I am afraid I will have to discontinue this conversation.
Yes i know we are short on cashiers up front but I am not going to lock the garden center. Find a dept. With dbl coverage and pull them up front to cover breaks. You are empowered to make those decisions you don't need to ask me. Yes I will back you up if you make a simple mistake,just make the customer happy.

And my Doctor told me to avoid stress.

Since: Nov 12

Location hidden

#26 Dec 29, 2012
Trust me, it's not unique to Lowes. I'm a Production Manager in a plastics factory. Typically 31 machines operating per shift. Every machine has it's own degree of difficulty, hence work involved in operating it. Nearly everyone wants an easy machine of course. 2-4 people call in per shift meaning some folks have to operate multiple machines. That's worth the price of admission. 3 QA people that have the ability to stop a machine. They all have a different idea of what "acceptable" means, but the same power. Almost no in-house customers though. All by phone upstairs.

I get to enter the shift's entire production into two systems. Why two you ask? Because. One is Windows based and basically a spreadsheet. Easy, but time consuming. The other is DOS. No lie, 18 keystrokes to enter one item x 31.

I could go on and on...

Still, morale boosting and strong, effective management technique makes a difference with many employees. The others we launch.

Pembroke, MA

#27 Dec 29, 2012
I can see dos still being used because frankly if something works and doesn't outright fail then they'll keep using it.

Ever go to a airport and see those screens that display flight information (flight number, cancellation, delay etc).

For years there were some airports using an Atari 800 to do that! Why? Because it's just text that they want on a screen and frankly transmitting text is so basic nearly any system can do it. You don't need fancy graphics to display a few lines of text.

Eventually what can happen though is other needs emerge and although they don't counter it they might create the opportunity to simply run the other program in emulation.

The other way around it would be to kinda do what lowes is trying to do and that is build other programs to the point where they gradually do the things that what you trying to get rid of does. So with the iphones there's less demand to use 5.1 freeing up space for a special order, delivery etc. Eventually you'd be able to check someone out within a department.

Since: Dec 12

Location hidden

#28 Dec 29, 2012
Interesting to hear what it's like for you in manufacturing. I've often wondered what that's like compared to a retail environment.

Since: Oct 11

Location hidden

#29 Dec 29, 2012
I've been gone from mfg management for 10 years-we were under the gun to do more with less, reduce cost (material and labor)etc. We did not cut cost just by laying off people or reducing salaries-we did it with process improvement using the people who did the work on daily basis. It was stressful, very stressful-we had customers constantly wanting a lower price and we had the threat of them going to Japan or China.

I think the real difference is we went after process improvement. Lowes has not-and as we used to say in mfg-there is alot of low hanging fruit (process improvement ideas) to be had IF one is willing to change the status quo-go after those "Sacred Cows".

Lowes management wants to continue to do things the hard way and their idea of cutting cost in cutting labor-but, you can only cut labor so much before it affects your customer service-then it is a downward spiral unless you go after redundant and wasteful processes. Things will not change until management changes "their" mindset and look for ways to harness the hourly potential-work together to identify, analyze and solve problems.

United States

#30 Jan 1, 2013
January 2011. Fire all the good ones!

Mooresville, NC

#31 Jan 23, 2013
DMxMD wrote:
I know the post was long, but once the list started, it was hard to stop. I hope you thought it was at least somewhat humorous.
The ideas was to simply show we're not just sitting around in the office playing angry birds, and even if we were, I'm sure we earned the break. As for the legitimacy of the tasks, remember, this is POST weeding the garden. That means there used to be more, and the tasks that are left are just the ones corp feels should be mandatory.
The IRP verification and processing alone can be one of the biggest time wasters, but how to you fix or replace that process? I find product that other people missed all the time. All I want is the ability to focus on my team and running the store. That means a few things.
One, HR either needs to go away or at least stop adding anything to our plates. They should be taking things off our plates only. Two, you can call it putting more on the DMs plates, but I call it making them do what their job title suggests they should have been doing for years. I should not be the first person called when there is a code 89. When a dept doesn't answer their phone call, I should literally be the LAST person in the building, unless my SM is there, to get that call transferred to them. There are 40 other people in the building that could do just as great a job helping that customer see if we have some random bird feeder. Three, corp needs to commit to start removing one task for every one they add, however that never happens, because most of the stupid things that get pushed to us come from the district or regional level. There is no way they could really reduce ASMs in 75% of stores without drastically cutting out time consuming processes. I can't see them axing SSPT observations any time soon. Four, our biggest opportunity as a company should really be figuring out a way to offload most if not all ASM admin tasks to corporate. I have never worked at another retailer that had such an extensive paper trail on everything or had the store paying its own bills, and any of the other admin tasks. There would have to be a huge upgrade to technology to do this though, so the ASM-A and AOM will continue to be vital for at least a few more years. If you ask anyone though, that's why the company has been focused on servant leadership - teaching and developing CSAs/Specs/DMs to do some tasks without supervision etc. They know we can't really accomplish much more realistically.
It's easy to sit at your selling center and judge your ASMs based on what you see for 10 seconds as they walk through on their way to wherever, but you never see all the other stuff
Funny Shit!! Im an ASM and that my friend is true and Funny

Mooresville, NC

#32 Jan 23, 2013
Thats Funnt stuff, True and funny! Ask yourself who? Who is ready for that job, it was asked today and we looked at each other.....Not many could do it.

Since: Oct 11

Location hidden

#33 Jan 23, 2013
AAA_3 wrote:
Thats Funnt stuff, True and funny! Ask yourself who? Who is ready for that job, it was asked today and we looked at each other.....Not many could do it.
Not many WOULD do it. I watched our ASM the other day spend about 5 hours doing the IRP verification/scavenger hunt....No thanks-I dislike the IRP scavenger hunt for my dept much less doing it for the whole store. Then there is the rest of the corporate BS paperwork/verification.

Pembroke, MA

#34 Jan 23, 2013
a few other notes

"The IRP verification and processing alone can be one of the biggest time wasters, but how to you fix or replace that process?"

RFID's for starters. RFID's can pinpoint exactly where things are. Granted the cost per unit has to drop.

Also once this is put in you can kiss LP goodbye for the most part.

Reminds me pricing is going to be on the way out within a number of years at most. Why? Again technology

The trouble is that the company does not train much or empower lower level employees and customers often demand management even if what is told is correct. I've had customers that would want to call Niblock or corporate for wanted us to override the manufacturer for a sos order! If the corporation doesn't want employees to send things to asm's all the time then just train them!

Since: Oct 11

Location hidden

#35 Jan 23, 2013
" If the corporation doesn't want employees to send things to asm's all the time then just train them!" OR, Trust them. Give keys to DM's that will open big doors in Receiving, Lumber etc and trust them. Put a camera at the door if you cannot trust them but let them do their job without getting the ASM.

“Bumming a smoke in Fresno”

Since: Feb 13

Location hidden

#36 Feb 4, 2013
LostInLOWESland wrote:
If we see a reduction is ASM's, when will it be? First week of jan? Feb? How will they determine who goes?
You canít cut a fart in Louisville without someone related to Stephen Foster smelling it

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