Whole Foods’ fragile workers driven “to tears” over just-in-time inventory system put in place by Amazon
02/13/2018 / By Vicki Batts / Comments
Whole Foods’ fragile workers driven “to tears” over just-in-time inventory system put in place by Amazon

Millennials around the U.S. have garnered a reputation for their aversion to the American ethos of hard work and pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. The cries of Whole Foods workers, who are now self-imploding under the increased and more efficient work demands put in place by Amazon, are surely proof of that.

Indeed, what could be more indicative of American twenty-somethings than publicly whining about how much work you have to do — so much so that entire articles can be written about it?

Speaking with Business Insider, one store supervisor commented that the sight of employees crying while on the job has become the norm. Whole Foods workers say that their new “order-to-shelf” inventory system, which was implemented last year, has become just too difficult to keep up with. The new guidelines were actually developed before the Amazon takeover, but many employees say that under Amazon’s leadership, the new system has become even more stressful.

As sources explain, under the order-to-shelf system, or OTS,  stores are expected to display most of their inventory on the shelves; holding more inventory in the backroom is no longer allowed. One employee claims that this practice has lead to stores “constantly running out of products.”

But is that really a byproduct of the OTS system, or a failure of employees who are failing to anticipate demands correctly?

Whole Foods executives say that their OTS policy is saving the company money, reduces shrink and helps clear their storage. Given their falling performance, it’s no wonder they’re looking to save.


By storing less food in the back of the store, they may even be creating less food waste. Food waste is a huge problem here in the United States; you’d think workers at a company like the Austin-based Whole Foods would appreciate that their company is doing their part to reduce the amount of food that ends up in dumpsters.

But, since it requires more effort and paperwork to engage in OTS, Whole Foods employees are apparently losing their minds. Instead, employees say that the new inventory system is “militaristic.”

One employee is quoted as saying, “I wake up in the middle of the night from nightmares about maps and inventory.

“The stress has created such a tense working environment. Seeing someone cry at work is becoming normal,” they added. Among the myriad of complaints from Whole Foods employees, some say that the OTS system leaves them spending “hours” wrapped up in related paperwork rather than helping customers. How many hours a day do grocery store employees really spend helping customers?

At many stores, cashiers are often the only people who even interact with customers regularly — it’s hard to believe that doing paperwork regarding inventory and purchasing is truly detracting from the customer experience.

But it’s not just the OTS ordering system that is driving Whole Foods employees to the brink; in addition to their newly increased duties, employees are also being scored on their performance on a more regular basis.

Oh, the humanity: Whole Foods wants to actually evaluate their employees based on how well they do their jobs. For shame!

The scorecard system helps make sure every item is in the correct place; Business Insider explains that departments lose points when items are not where they belong, or if they have too much stock left in the backroom. Along with the expectation of following OTS guidelines, employees are expected to know their departments’ sales goals, their top-selling items,  what the previous week’s sales were like, and other pertinent information.

Under the scorecard system, scores below 89.9 percent can put employees on the chopping block. [Related: Read more stories like this at Stupid.news]

So, employees are expected to do their jobs at a higher level of excellence, and they’re expected to know more about their jobs than they were before. No wonder they’re so stressed out; having to actually do a job when you go to work must be a bummer…

Sources for this article include:



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