Thursday, March 18, 2010

What can Brown do for you?: Pen 6 part 1

So after burning some bridges with Lou and even getting on Tom's nerves enough I was sent off packing to Pen 6 when I got back from vacation. I will do a post on vacations at UPS, but pretty much every time I went on vacation, I was in a new area when I returned.

Now, before I get into my time at Pen 6 I need to talk about how bad the belt was when I got there. Pen 6 was horrible. Seriously horrible. Pathetic, ugly, you think of the worst word to describe something and you just described Pen 6. It was a supervisor's worst nightmare.

Pen 6 was a belt to car pen, unlike my time on Pen 9 which was a slide to car. With a slide to car, your employees don't need to be at work on time and if someone is sick you can stack the packages on the slide or grating. The only man you need on a slide to car is your pick off man. With a belt to car, if you are missing one person...screwed. The belt just keeps moving and if you miss your package it just builds up at the end of the belt. Loaders #1 & #2 were called splitters. There were the pick offs of a belt to car. They knew where every package went and would either push or pull a package to the correct side.
Here is my attempt at giving you a visual for Pen 6.
So you can see if loader #1 missed his package it would go down to #5 and build up back there causing him all sorts of problems. Plus that "slide to Pen 7" was a slide that came down from the sky and was actually eye level with loaders #5 & #6. By the way, loader #4 did have a longer car known as a Wally. It's the big van that had a handful of stops, usually at a mall. But instead of it being like one package it would be like 20 or more so he had to slide the packages in with rollers and go in load the Wally and get out to make sure he didn't miss any packages. He also had an air car to the right of the Wally sometimes. And that was all of the Next Day Air for our belt that left at 6:15 AM.

When I was in the sort aisle, Lou would always drag me out to look at Pen 6 and the missorts (packages that belong somewhere else, but end up on Pen 6). Most were for Pen 7, since they shared a belt in the sort aisle. If a sorter didn't push the package all the way over to the side of the belt it could fall over to Pen 6's side. I told Lou that loader #6 & #5 could just slide the packages over to Pen 7, there was a set of rollers there for this very purpose. He told me they shouldn't have to.

We also saw missorts for Pens 8 & 9 which were literally 20 yards away. So instead of carting them over to those belts. They carted the missorts to the return slide back to the sort aisle to be re-sorted. The belt travel time was about 7-10 minutes. Then the time to go from the sort aisle to the Pens varied from 5 minutes to 15 minutes. I told Lou that this was a waste of time. That it also caused major problems in the sort aisle.

The other big problem we had in the sort aisle was Pen 6 liked to turn off their belt. This caused problems in the sort aisle. Because if Pen 6 turned off their belt, then Pen 6 & Pen 7's belt stopped in the sort aisle causing back ups everywhere.

I also need to add that Pen 6 & Pen 7 were both Ontario belts (there was also Pen 5, but they weren't connected like 6 & 7). They had about 60 exception streets that sorters had to learn and memorize. Problem was that the on-road supervisors (in charge of the drivers) would change them without telling the pre-load sort (us).

I think it was my lack of compassion and understanding of load-sides problems that Lou sent me to the worst belt in the building. I dreaded it when I heard the news.

That's good for now. I will post part 2 which will explain what I did to change things around. And how Pen 6 should have been my stepping stone to better things (full-time), but for whatever reason it wasn't.

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