Submitted by Frank Costello

“Faster - Better - Cheaper”

     For a number of years now, I can’t tell you how many times, I have heard the D.T.E management rhetoric of, We have to be “Faster-Better-Cheaper.” Believe me when I say it is rhetoric and not what DTE actually practices. Let me give you a fine example:


     Currently I work at W-100 Warren Service Center. We are operating on a warehouse control system that was purchased from RGTI in the early 1990’s. By next April we will be converting over to a new warehouse control system called SAP. I probably have been one of the most vocal critics of the RGTI system over the years but from everything I hear about the new SAP warehouse control system it certainly will fail in comparison to the RGTI system.


     Part of the D.T.E. plan by next April is to remove two carousels that we currently use at Warren Warehouse because the SAP system software cannot support these carousels.

D.T.E. is unwilling at this point to purchase the software needed for continued carousel operation or pay its computer technicians to develop the needed software to operate the carousels. Let me inform you how much revenue D.T.E. will throw away just in labor costs because of this bad business decision.


     First of all let me give you a little basic background on how the W-100 warehouse is staffed. The man/women power needed everyday is basically determined by an algebraic formula very similar to that used by former Warehouse Supervisor Jerry Umbarger and our current Warehouse Supervisor Lottie Shelton.


200(P) + 500(C) + 50(W) + 20(T) + 16(Y) = Total Line Items


   200 is the number of line items picked each eight hour period by an order (p)icker. 500 is the number of line items picked each eight hour period by a (c)arousel operator. 50 is the number of line items picked each eight hour period by a (w)ire operator. 20 is the number of line items picked each eight hour period by a (t)urret truck operator and 16 is the number of line items picked each eight hour period by a (y)ard operator.


   P,C,W,T and Y are the number of employees needed in the formula to complete the required line items. So for example:


200(6) + 500(2) + 50(4) + 20(1) +16(5) = 2500 total lines items picked (eight hr period)


     With the elimination of the carousels the work will now have to be transferred to the order pickers. Notice the rate decrease from 500 to 200 each eight hour period. On an average 2500 line item day 1000 line items that were picked on the carousel will now have to be picked using an order picker instead of the carousel. Before it would take only two (2) employees to do these 1000 line items, now, it will take five (5). Is this “Faster- better- Cheaper?”  I don’t think so. There is a minimal gain of about three hours of labor that will be saved per day because the carousels will not have to be loaded so the net total of employees that need to be added to the operation is approximately 2.625 (3 – 3/8).

     So let us figure out the added cost for this bad business decision. According to the companies fully loaded parity wage figures each Warren Warehouseman costs the company $96,863.80 per year. So lets multiply $96,863.80 times 2.625  to see how much money the company is throwing away in labor costs because they will not buy the needed computer software to support the carousels.


$96,863.80 * 2.625 = $254,267.47 per year


$1,271,337.30 for the next five years


Is this “Faster-Better-Cheaper?” I don’t think so. The companies answer probably will be lets cut three additional F.T.E.’s (Full Time Employees) somewhere else to resolve this problem instead of  buying the additional computer software needed to support the carousels.


So my final question to D.T.E. management is “Why Don’t You Practice What You Preach?

THIS IS MY TWO CENTS WORTH.  There will be more to come from me on other issues.

As usual, I’m just trying to be Frank.


Frank Costello

D.T.E., Why Don’t You Practice What You Preach?


This “2 Cents Worth” was submitted by: Frank Costello - Vice Chairman, Stores Division, Local 223: 

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