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Blue Grocery Store Case Study

Blue Grocery Store Case Study

Competent staffing for warehouse operations is a necessity in today’s grocery industry. With the high demands for fresh and valuable products, any staffing problems in warehousing operations can cost a grocer his or her business. On the shipping dock of Blue Grocery Stores, Incorporated, the summer season can be managed effectively to allow employees the opportunities to enjoy their vacation time, maintain an adequate staff, and facilitate overall smooth operations. During the summer months, it is typical for the supervisor of Blue’s warehouse to experience staffing problems due to senior staff wanting to use their vacation time. To add to the supervisor’s frustration, he has to deal with personnel shortages on a daily and weekly basis with the increase in summer time sick day call-ins.

To offset the effect that this shortage of manpower causes, the supervisor has used temporary workers in the past. In trying to implement this method, the supervisor had hired temporary workers to be on-call for both shifts. This plan had been unsuccessful. The cause of this failure was due to several factors. First, the temporary workers were obligated to pay union dues. In addition to these costly dues, all warehouse employees were required to wear steel-toed boots. At $6 per hour the wages were not very attractive.

Finally, to make the job harder to sell there had been no guaranteed scheduled hours or any benefits. I can understand the frustration from both the worker’s and the supervisor’s points of view. It does not seem worthwhile to take a job in an on-call capacity when there are so many expenses, no benefits, and no set schedule of hours. For the supervisor in charge of buffering such a situation, it seems as if there is no end in sight to the problems caused by the “Summertime Blues”. In evaluating which solutions to choose for these problems, several came to mind.

To offset union dues, the supervisor of Blue’s warehouse can hire from the union labor pool, cover the union dues for the part time employees, or create an on-call schedule using the full time employees by rotating them off the schedule when they are on vacation. The next issue of concern is with the steel-toed boots. At $6 per hour, the added expense of these boots lowers the level of attraction for the job itself. To eliminate this blemish the supervisor has an array of options.

These options include reimbursing the part-time employees for the cost incurred when purchasing boots, authorizing an allowance towards the purchase of these boots, or, posting complete payment for the boots on the final paycheck if the temporary employee maintains his or her employment for the entire summer. The final issues to eliminate are the lack of scheduled hours and withholding of benefits. As on-call employees, the individuals hired to cover the summer schedule gaps will be fully aware of their role. With this in mind, the warehouse supervisor can either solicit the jobs under that pretense, or offer a standby rate of pay that will take effect if the temporary employee is not called in to work. Benefits, on the other hand, are somewhat difficult to offset.

With the state of healthcare, a person cannot afford to be without insurance, especially at only $6 per hour. The realistic alternatives include contract pay or limited benefits. The main function of business is to make money. The solution that follows keeps this purpose in mind. To ensure smooth workflow it is imperative that the staff knows their respective roles and how to perform its functions. To maintain this structure it would be feasible to consider creating an alternating on-call schedule with current employees. Vacation schedules should be set up which facilitate allowing each person adequate time off while preserving the efficiency of business in the warehouse.

Operations can be run utilizing a small senior staff during the summer. By staggering their vacation times or having as little overlap as possible, the senior staff can be allowed to plan their vacations while meeting the corporate obligations. With the meat of the workforce, switching around the shifts to have adequate staff during the busy hours should be a first choice. This might include keeping a skeleton crew on the slower shift and holidays, while having the rest of that shift fill the standby roster to cover gaps when needed.

If the people on the standby roster are not called in to work, they can be compensated with a standby type of pay. An example would be paying them one hour of standard pay for every four hours of standby time. If the standby employee gets called in to work then they would get paid their regular wage unless overtime applied. This solution would eliminate all of the issues that concern temporary workers. If the previous solution did not prove feasible, the secondary recommendation would be to utilize workers from the union labor pool if available. In doing this, Blue’s Grocery Stores eliminates a non-union member’s need to pay union dues.

To complement this savings in an employees’ expense, I would recommend that the grocery store fully reimburse the laborers for their steel-toed boot purchases if they maintain their employment for the entire summer. This reimbursement can function as an incentive to offset the cost of the boots and also as an incentive for the employee to remain in good standing with the employer to keep their job. With the utilization of the union labor pool the problems with union dues and benefits are also eliminated. That only leaves the issue of an adequate amount of hours to work.

With this issue, the implementation of some sort of standby pay will probably be the most successful. With the issues facing business staffing it is crucial for an employer to put their best foot forward if they want to hire or maintain the best workforce. In the previously discussed recommendations it is clear that manageable solutions to summer staffing problems are available to Blue’s Grocery Stores, Incorporated. It is also apparent that the warehouse supervisor must take the first step in discovering a path to smooth summer operations.

It might become necessary for the supervisor to authorize special hiring or staffing changes for the summer months. The issues involved in hiring temporary workers does not ease the decision making process. These issues can be avoided or limited if the right steps are taken to ensure the workers are treated fairly and the job still gets done. There are some situations that call for a change in standard operating procedure. This case might be a prime candidate for thinking out of the box when it comes to summer staffing. Some issues will arise as they always do. The question to ask is, “Are we trying to win the battle, or are we trying to win the war?”

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