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Bunkers Hole

Bluefield, VA

#1 Aug 23, 2012
Letís say the board wakes-up and gives our talented CEO, and his inner circle, the boot. As a thank you for screwing up our once great company they award them millions and millions and millions of unearned money to go away (thank the lawyers for that!).

Whatís next?

Letís say you control the company and want to make immediate (and realistic) changes that improve store morale, separate us from the competition and drive sales?

What three things would you do first?
Jokerdoomed

Inglewood, CA

#2 Aug 23, 2012
I would hire Nedm! Not only cause he knows everything, but also so that he and sparky (the cat) could move out of his mothers basement... That's what I would do
Sade

Seattle, WA

#3 Aug 23, 2012
Hmmmm. How about getting rid of the board as well. If they can't run a business without a CEO position then what do they really do?
DMxMD

United States

#4 Aug 23, 2012
Sade wrote:
Hmmmm. How about getting rid of the board as well. If they can't run a business without a CEO position then what do they really do?
you are confusing the board and the executive VPs. The board is elected by shareholders to represent their interests. They do not work for niblock or lowes. The EVPs report to the CEO, COO, CFO, etc and are the leaders of divisions of the company like stores, HR, distribution, etc. Those people probably could run the company, but it helps to have them report to a CEO to be accountable.
DMxMD

United States

#5 Aug 23, 2012
I would continue LEF as planned. You can't change the change half way through without causing worse disruptions. I would then oversee a restructure over a two year period. You would see major changes in HR, LP, and the area MGR ranks. There would probably not be store HRs at the end.

The ASM position would absorb the HR responsebilities with help from a much more active AHRM. In larger stores a personell coordinator position reporting to the ASM-admin might be warranted. That would be for payroll, time off, benefits issues only. In other words, not a management position, more of an administrative one.

LP would simply have a policy overhaul, and be co-supervised by the ALPM and SM.

Area positions would be reduced to market director, AHRM, AOM, and ALPM. All others area positions would be at the regional level only. They can handle a whole region for com sales, install, etc. I promise. AOMs would be eliminated hopefully in 3 years. The company just needs long enough to centralize the admin ptocesses. Seriously, why is the individual store still paying the utility bills and not a number cruncher in the CSC? When admin is simplified, there won't be a need for the auditor AOM, and the ASM admin can concentrate on what they SHOULD BE, logistics.

The stores would reduce through attrition DMs in a few areas, but not many. The goal would be getting to where each DM supervised at least 4-6 people so they aren't coverage as much and can lead. Mostly at the very large volume stores. Pay grades would change to CSA 1-5 with 5 being "pros" with a certification or real experience in something. HR coordinators and LPS would be 6. DM 6 or 7 depending on experience and area covered. 1 Sr.DM a 9 to fill out the 6th MOD spot and make the every other weekend off schedule from connections work. ASM would be 10 or 11 if they're on the SM bench or very experienced. SM still 12.

Bonus structure would be tweeked a bit. I think exploring going back to the department based bonus might be interesting. Maybe staying quarterly, but the customer sat goal and score for SSEI needs to change.
SSEI and more

Mooresville, NC

#6 Aug 23, 2012
Honestly, this structure is way off. We work as hard and in some cases harder than department managers and "we" get $200 and "they" get $800? Way out of line and proportion with work load. Incentives need to come back in some smaller form or this company could be doomed.

Manager's need to manage, it seems to be changing a bit, but will it be enough. I'm not all that against LEF, but the Iphones are HORRIBLE and so far the new technology is there, but no one REALLY knows how to use it.

More training. Good luck everyone, hope we are not in for more store closings, but of course it could happen.

Since: Jul 11

Location hidden

#7 Aug 23, 2012
1. Reinstate some sort of incentive plan weighted toward specialists. This stuff has to be SOLD. Kitchens aren't purchased on the net. Contractors don't buy on the net. Installs are a face to face purchase.(here comes nedm response).

2. Have Dept. Mgrs. and specialists cover peak selling times. No sense having DMs and spec. closing when there's no customers. Fixed schedules based on talent needed to best serve customer. Open availability is a concept for part-timers to cover gaps and call outs. Bulk of the task work should be performed before 9 AM and after 8 PM. ASMs can oversee that. Let managers manage, sellers sell and taskers task.

3. Dump Genesis tomorrow and temporarily use an abacus if necessary. Can't be worse. Install a Windows based store system paid for with the culling of top heavy corporate management, private jets, etc.
Furby

Mooresville, NC

#8 Aug 23, 2012
The biggest thing that needs fixed immediately is Logistics.
We need warehouses of items for natural disasters (generators, sump pumps, snowblowers, etc.) that can be shipped to any store within 48 hours. We lose countless sales to competitors because we cannot react fast enough.

Continue with the trend towards internet sales, but stop trying to pigeon hole our customers into using Lowes.com . Put the inventory back in the stores to accomadate the 81% of our customers.(This number is the one given by corporate of customers that want to come in, get what they want and leave.)

Create attainable incentives for the employees.
DMxMD

United States

#9 Aug 23, 2012
SSEI and more wrote:
Honestly, this structure is way off. We work as hard and in some cases harder than department managers and "we" get $200 and "they" get $800? Way out of line and proportion with work load. Incentives need to come back in some smaller form or this company could be doomed.
Manager's need to manage, it seems to be changing a bit, but will it be enough. I'm not all that against LEF, but the Iphones are HORRIBLE and so far the new technology is there, but no one REALLY knows how to use it.
More training. Good luck everyone, hope we are not in for more store closings, but of course it could happen.
Please don't mistake doing more manual labor for working harder. Your DM has much more responsibility than you do, and deserves every bit of that extra SSEI. They don't have a yearly bonus like ASMs. Manual labor is cheap. That's just the breaks. If you want a chance at more SSEI potential and higher pay, those are your reasons to work hard and promote to a position that let's you lead more and do less of the manual labor. That's how the job world works.
nedm

Pembroke, MA

#10 Aug 23, 2012
"1. Reinstate some sort of incentive plan weighted toward specialists. This stuff has to be SOLD. Kitchens aren't purchased on the net. Contractors don't buy on the net. Installs are a face to face purchase.(here comes nedm response)."

If anyone is more deserving of spiffs/sos back it would be the cabinet specialists. Installs are face to face yes. Contract might buy some on the net but it depends. Obviously they want to check out wood before using it but fasteners not so much. Where I am a fair amount of contracted requests are actually faxed in.

"3. Dump Genesis tomorrow and temporarily use an abacus if necessary. Can't be worse. Install a Windows based store system paid for with the culling of top heavy corporate management, private jets, etc. "

I wouldn't advise on windows because it's past peak. Having used windows in a office environment it just isn't worth the costs. When viruses are a factor it can take a good half hour to scan some pc's. There's no way a retailer can afford the downtime. Genesis needs to go but the linux that it runs on is fine. It seriously needs a kernel upgrade. And if the there is a virus God save you. I've seen what that can do. I was at a place where it maximized resources at nearly 100%. It took a half hour on each pc to get rid of it.The place was shutdown for nearly a day. There's also the license costs from microsoft for both the OS and for office and anything else.

Linux works well and frankly it comes with plenty of other programs but corporate removed them when it made lowes linux (you can see the penguin (tux) on the command line booting)
Here's a video of what it can do

Looks like mac..quite graphical and no real software costs..it's all free. You have free office apps which can be used to track sales and forecast trends as I'm sure the management would love to do that, you can create graphics to make fliers and promotional materials etc. The company uses the kubuntu side but could switch to ubuntu which uses less resources or even xbuntu which would use much less.
LNSca

Woodland, CA

#11 Aug 23, 2012
I manage the live nursery,meaning work lists,ordering,shrink,nexus table repairs,everything!
I have a degree,am also a retired licensed landscape contractor and have been in management in two corporations and also ran my own company for ten years.
does anyone really think I should earn less hourly than a dept manager?
Furby

Mooresville, NC

#12 Aug 23, 2012
LNSca wrote:
I manage the live nursery,meaning work lists,ordering,shrink,nexus table repairs,everything!
I have a degree,am also a retired licensed landscape contractor and have been in management in two corporations and also ran my own company for ten years.
does anyone really think I should earn less hourly than a dept manager?
Sounds to me like you are doing more than you should be and that the OSLG manager is having you do more than you should be doing.

Yes a department manager should be paid more than you. You took the job (for which it sounds like you are highly overqualified) based on what Lowe's offered you. Why not look into becoming the OSLG department manager? You no doubt have the skills to do that job as well.

Since: Aug 12

Location hidden

#13 Aug 23, 2012
Furby wrote:
<quoted text>
Sounds to me like you are doing more than you should be and that the OSLG manager is having you do more than you should be doing.
Yes a department manager should be paid more than you. You took the job (for which it sounds like you are highly overqualified) based on what Lowe's offered you. Why not look into becoming the OSLG department manager? You no doubt have the skills to do that job as well.
Already been a dept manager, not interested anymore since I get paid more than any dept mgr in the store, and more than any LNS in the dist.I am highly paid cause I hired in that way. My manager was smart enough to realize my value.I have run the nursery at an $80 million dollar store. He knew I would steel market share from Depot and I have for 5 years.
I have not seen a dept manager in my store ever ask a question about how they could raise sales or interest of customers. They have no drive or real ambition. I have raised, other than this year, my comps on live nursery to double digits for three years straight because that's what I do. I compete against myself.
Close Ranks

League City, TX

#14 Aug 23, 2012
From what I see a Department manager with a GED is nothing more than a csa 3 at best. The paper work they have to do in a week could be done by a 10th grader. Hmmmm they do go to the front for code 3's and they do collect carts,I do see them pushing slowly to the compactor the blue cart of empty boxes, I do see them in the breakroom every 2 hours complaning But for most departments all they have to do is take care of the customer in the isles and when it comes time to sell something call the specalist. But as you can read from Department managers like DMxDX they think they were molded by GOD and everyone else is a POS. And this my friends is the core of what will cause Lowes to fail with its new programs.People like DMxDX are so young and have taken the kool-aid to a new extream that they dont realize that they are part of the group that has lowered the pay wage to the next group of Lowes employees. When the company stops taking from the people that drive the sales and give the SPECALIST the PAY ,the SPIFFS, the BONUSES, and let the CSA3 Department Managers collect the carts then and only then will Lowes start to see profits rise. .
DMxMD

Gardner, KS

#15 Aug 23, 2012
First, I am not a DM. I started with the company as a DM, so I know the job though.

In my structure I advocated reducing DMs by a few in each store. An electrical DM is a CSA. A plumbing DM is a CSA unless they do a lot of fashion bath sales. A lumber DM has a lot of responsibility if they manage the pro sales aspect well, but if they leave that to the Pro Specialists, then they are a CSA. Milwork only needs a DM because of sales. Not much to that dept. Inside and outside lawn and garden DMs are absolutely necessary. Too much goes on over there project wise. Sorry to burst the LNS's bubble, but they need to promote or shut up. If they don't want to, don't gripe when you're topped out in pay. The DM for appliances, home org, and cabinets can combine with flooring pretty sucessfully. Your DMs are probably out getting carts because they are the only ones that care enough to respond when they are needed, and they don't have the leadership skills necessary to write people like you up for NOT responding.

My point is, there's a few changes that could be made to make ALL DMs real managers. In my experience, that's not going to happen because the quality of people in the CSA and Spec positions that we have to chose from to promote to DMs isn't always what we would need leadership wise to take on those multiple departments. As it is, many are just glorified CSAs. And before the specialists all jump on that, so are most specialists too in a post manual order world. This is why many DMs are hired externally. Now that spiffs are gone, many of our higher caliber specs have decided to promote too, as it should be.

Please don't give me shit for defending DMs. In my honest opinion and experience, the cream usually does rise to the top eventually. Yes, there are some crappy ones because they had lucky timing and applied at the right time, but its the same story with specialists too.

Before you go dissing other positions, remember that specialists are the ones that are constantly rumored to be eliminated year after year. How valuable are they really? Many of those DMs you complain about do a specialist's job on top of theirs. You would never know until you do the job for a while.
DMxMD

Gardner, KS

#16 Aug 23, 2012
DMxMD wrote:
Pay grades would change to CSA 1-5 with 5 being "pros" with a certification or real experience in something. HR coordinators and LPS would be 6. DM 6 or 7 depending on experience and area covered. 1 Sr.DM a 9 to fill out the 6th MOD spot and make the every other weekend off schedule from connections work. ASM would be 10 or 11 if they're on the SM bench or very experienced. SM still 12.
Bonus structure would be tweeked a bit. I think exploring going back to the department based bonus might be interesting. Maybe staying quarterly, but the customer sat goal and score for SSEI needs to change.
Just realized I typo'd my pay grades. I would propose:

Cashier 1-3
Head cashier 4
CSA 1-4
PRO 5
HR/RTM/LP 6
DM 7-8 (based on exp and depts managed)
Sr.DM(MOD) 9
ASM 10-12 (based on exp to 11 and 12 once on the SM bench after completing SMTP)
SM is currently a 14. Not sure why they skip a PG now, but why not. Keep 'em a 14.

You'll notice no specialists of course, but I don't advocate letting them go. I would make them and the current pros the new PG5 pros. The pay range would be lower than specialists, but higher than current pros. current specs would be grandfathered at the higher rate.
The Dude

United States

#17 Aug 24, 2012
DMxMD wrote:
<quoted text>
Just realized I typo'd my pay grades. I would propose:
Cashier 1-3
Head cashier 4
CSA 1-4
PRO 5
HR/RTM/LP 6
DM 7-8 (based on exp and depts managed)
Sr.DM(MOD) 9
ASM 10-12 (based on exp to 11 and 12 once on the SM bench after completing SMTP)
SM is currently a 14. Not sure why they skip a PG now, but why not. Keep 'em a 14.
You'll notice no specialists of course, but I don't advocate letting them go. I would make them and the current pros the new PG5 pros. The pay range would be lower than specialists, but higher than current pros. current specs would be grandfathered at the higher rate.
This makes sense. When I was hired as a Specialist I was working next to DM and CSA making less or more than me but yet doing the same thing. Confusing. The whole system needs to be restructured but the only ones with the best ideas are at store level barking at the deaf ears higher up. Lowes hired me at this pay level but yet looks at me now like I created the situation we're in now. I suggest you take your little idea and post it on Connections or at least email it to your District Manager.
Oh, on your previous comment about me making.$160k more a year than a CSA I was close. Did $130k more!
nedm

Pembroke, MA

#18 Aug 24, 2012
I'd kinda note that in selling what matters is volume AND profit margin. Some departments are pretty much pure profit (home decor and hardware). While others are 0 to negative (lumber).Certinly the combination make sense because you cannot do much with wood without fasteners. I would not focus on volume alone because if the profit margin is 1% then selling even 300K isn't going to amount to much. HD spun off its hd supply because it was all volume and little profit.
Close Ranks

League City, TX

#19 Aug 24, 2012
DMxMD wrote:
First, I am not a DM. I started with the company as a DM, so I know the job though.
In my structure I advocated reducing DMs by a few in each store. An electrical DM is a CSA. A plumbing DM is a CSA unless they do a lot of fashion bath sales. A lumber DM has a lot of responsibility if they manage the pro sales aspect well, but if they leave that to the Pro Specialists, then they are a CSA. Milwork only needs a DM because of sales. Not much to that dept. Inside and outside lawn and garden DMs are absolutely necessary. Too much goes on over there project wise. Sorry to burst the LNS's bubble, but they need to promote or shut up. If they don't want to, don't gripe when you're topped out in pay. The DM for appliances, home org, and cabinets can combine with flooring pretty sucessfully. Your DMs are probably out getting carts because they are the only ones that care enough to respond when they are needed, and they don't have the leadership skills necessary to write people like you up for NOT responding.
My point is, there's a few changes that could be made to make ALL DMs real managers. In my experience, that's not going to happen because the quality of people in the CSA and Spec positions that we have to chose from to promote to DMs isn't always what we would need leadership wise to take on those multiple departments. As it is, many are just glorified CSAs. And before the specialists all jump on that, so are most specialists too in a post manual order world. This is why many DMs are hired externally. Now that spiffs are gone, many of our higher caliber specs have decided to promote too, as it should be.
Please don't give me shit for defending DMs. In my honest opinion and experience, the cream usually does rise to the top eventually. Yes, there are some crappy ones because they had lucky timing and applied at the right time, but its the same story with specialists too.
Before you go dissing other positions, remember that specialists are the ones that are constantly rumored to be eliminated year after year. How valuable are they really? Many of those DMs you complain about do a specialist's job on top of theirs. You would never know until you do the job for a while.
Hmmmm,let me get this straight,now that you have been promoted to a ASM are you as you state the CREAM or the TURD that has floated to the top.
FormerSM

United States

#20 Aug 24, 2012
nedm wrote:
I'd kinda note that in selling what matters is volume AND profit margin. Some departments are pretty much pure profit (home decor and hardware). While others are 0 to negative (lumber).Certinly the combination make sense because you cannot do much with wood without fasteners. I would not focus on volume alone because if the profit margin is 1% then selling even 300K isn't going to amount to much. HD spun off its hd supply because it was all volume and little profit.
nedm - I'll mail you a dollar if you can tell me the 3 highest gross margin areas in the store. And another dollar if you can tell me the highest GM product in the store. And the 3 worst areas.

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