Under Amazon ownership, Whole Foods new inventory regime is making workers cry

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From Daily MailWhole Foods has implemented a strict new inventory management system that includes bi-weekly walk-throughs and random quizzing of employees, and has left many workers feeling stressed out and punished.
The new system is called order-to-shelf (OTS) and has a strict set of procedures for purchasing, displaying and storing products on store shelves and in back rooms that is supposed to make stores more efficient and cut down on waste.
And to make sure stores are following the new procedures – stores are required to use ‘scorecards’ to evaluate each employees performance, according to Business Insider.
Though the system is meant to improve efficiency and stream-line storage, employees described it as onerous, stress inducing and punitive.  ‘The stress has created such a tense working environment’ a supervisor in a West Coast store explained.  ‘Seeing someone cry at work is becoming normal.’   
Business Insider spoke with 27 current and former employees – some of whom had been with the company for up to 20 years.
Many workers are worried the new system will cause them to lose their jobs, and said they spend more time doing OTS-related paperwork than helping customers navigate the stores. 
Executives think the new system cuts cost across stores, reduce employee theft, clears out storage and gives workers more time to engage with customers. And the employees who spoke to Business Insiderwill agree that the former system was ineffective and needed to change – but say the company’s ‘fix’ went too far.
‘The OTS program is leaving to sackings up and down the chain in our region,’ an employee in Georgia said. ‘We’ve lost team leaders, store team leaders, executive coordinators and even a regional vice president. Many of them have left because they consider OTS to be absurd. As an example, store team leaders are required to complete a 108-point checklist for OTS.’
The new system requires managers to walk through store aisles and storage rooms with checklists, or scorecards, to make sure everything is where it belongs.  And if anything is in the wrong place, missing, or there is excess stock in storage, departments will lose points. One employee said that if an item is ‘even an inch outside of its designated spot,’ points will be deducted.
These walks, which happen frequently throughout the day, also include quizzes. Employees will be asked to recite things such as sales goals, top-selling items and last week’s sales on the spot. A failing score is anything below 89.9 percent, and if an employee fails they can be fired on the spot.
Company documents reviewed by Business Insider show that these quizzes, or ‘walks,’ happen twice a week. Corporate employees also visit the branches and conduct the tests monthly.
The walks have left employees stressed and fearful. ‘The fear of chastisement, punishment and retribution is very real and pervasive,’ a worker said. Another worker said the walks have caused them to have work-related nightmares.  
Workers across the country think the new OTS system is failing, and many departed employees have said they think that is because of a lack of training. ‘The problem lies in the lack of training, and the fact that every single member of management from store level to corporate is over tasked and overburdened,’ a former employee said.

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15 thoughts on “Under Amazon ownership, Whole Foods new inventory regime is making workers cry

  1. OTS procedures are intended to reduce inventory management costs, increasing price competitiveness, and business growth. A necessary byproduct is eliminating inefficient practices and personnel.
    Absent such improvements, how else do complainants expect private-sector property and 131 million workers to continue to make profits that government seizes as taxes to pay all its bills including sending checks to 22 million government employees and over 50 million government dependents?
    Technology and management improvements have reduce agricultural workers from 50% of the population in 1870 until today when less that 1% of the population work in agriculture.
    Is anyone complaining about those results?
    This too shall pass!

    • Somewhat true. However, these theories in “capitalism and regulation” are always removed from the human element. That is to say they don’t take into account human greed and stupidity. Communism operates with a similar delusion. There is ZERO guarantee that reducing regulation will increase wages for lower workers. Capitalism works ONLY when the ultra wealthy realize that excessive conquering, stealing and prick waving erodes the free market. We are in the Robber Barron cycle all over again. The sad part none of these “titans” have the imagination of the Rockefellers, JP Morgans;at least those degenerates in a suit funded huge TANGIBLE projects like skyscrapers, museums and city parks. What do we have today. . .”Faceberg” VR headsets and little bazos playing astronaut.

      • I understand and I’ve come to believe that government has no role except to seize profits and use them to provide “public goods and public services” as developed by Paul Samuelson. Plus to the absolute minimum possible prevent the growth of destructive monopolies and oligarchies in the private sector.
        I know of no way to achieve that latter goal without government itself becoming a destructive monopoly.

      • …I taught business management all over the world, including ergonomics, marketing, EEO Law, ADA Compliance, etc. etc. When I was being educated in how to manage a business by McDonald’s back in the 1970’s…we learned the art of balancing the four “balls”….People, Profits, Sales & QSC…(Quality, Service & Cleanliness). We were shown how to make good decisions that take those needed pillars of a successful business into consideration, and to not “drop” any one of the “balls”, as it would seriously impact one or all of the others. If you tick off your employees, create stress that does not have to be a part of an efficient operation…and is often implemented by dull-minded Supervisors…your customers will feel that vibe, and not enjoy their experience. If in the race to efficiency, you forget you are dealing with emotion-based humans, you will have problems in sales, policies, procedure-adherence, safety, sanitation, etc. etc. On the other hand, if you let employees graze covertly and steal from you…there go your profits. So any well run organization needs to balance these four elements, or they are costing themselves much potential in the long run. Mr. Bezos thinks he can take his business model and impose it on a live, food-delivery-system…and that employees and sanitation standards can be compromised. They are soon to learn that their customers will not be happy with the changes. They will have… “amazoned”…the uniqueness out of the Brand…and Whole Foods will just be another grocery store.
        RJ O’Guillory

      • Agreed. USA does not live in a pure Capitalism society anymore. We have a bit of Socialism, Federalism, Republican, Democractic, Republic-Democracy and Facistis intermixed in our Government. We are no longer under the Capitalistic philosophy of the AYN Rand in the 1950’s. We could all Boycott Amazon but comsummers like their stuff from China too much. The employees could quit but there goes their health plans, retirement plans, severance pay, employment benefits. What a terrible thing to do to loyal workers, even if they were pilliphiring from the company .

  2. Amazon wants Borgs.
    The Borg are a vast collection of “drones”, or cybernetic organisms, linked in a hive mind called “the Collective” or “the Hive”.
    The Borg’s ultimate goal is “achieving perfection”.

  3. Perhaps Amazon/Whole Paycheck want those long term employees to quit so they can be replaced by minimum wage/no benefit workers who will also quit. OMG, no Americans will take the jobs. Gonna need some H1 Visa workers until the new automation is installed.
    Things such as excess inventory are problems with management. All of that sort of thing is computerized. What I want from clerks is that they are there ready to help me so that I’m not trying to find somebody that can page them to help me at the deli counter, etc. I like a store to look neat, but being OCD to the point where an inch is a problem is stupid. There is no reason why an employee on the floor has to know what last week’s top selling item was or what the sales goals are. They need to know where the item I want is located and can tell me in complete English sentences or will take me there. That sort of thing is very good for sales.

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