Pay Programs, Errors & Safety


It’s always nice to see the weather changing isn’t it!  I welcome Summer, it gets a bit warm here in Texas but I’ve always been a Summer person.  2 Weeks ago, I was in Arizona and it was 118, I flew out of Nevada where it was 112, I have to admit that’s a bit warm even for me!  Last week I was in Denver Colorado and it was actually in the 90’s while I was there, they said that’s unseasonably warm for them this early in the year.  Summer brings with it a host of concerns for us in the Warehousing and Transportation Industries. With us working in the Distribution and Production arenas we need to make sure and stay Hydrated, watch for signs of heat stress ourselves and in the other associates working around us.  Sometimes we find ourselves having to step up a bit as we cover for vacations and those seasonal spikes that may occur in our business.  It seems to be a popular time of the year to change jobs too, maybe because we are wanting to take off and go somewhere or spend time with the family while the kids are on their summer break and I guess it’s a good time to move as well, I have a lot of friends moving this month.  Oh and don’t forget to send in those emails to get entered into our drawing by next week!  If you missed last weeks episode be sure to check it out, at the end of the show we talked about a drawing for a $50 gift card, don’t forget to send a Safety Practice from your facility or one that you’d like to see there.

Well I kind of got off track right off the bat today so Let’s get back to today’s show, I’m Marty with Warehouse and Operations as a Career.

Let’s see, let me get a couple of questions out of the way real quick, one that I’m asked on a regular basis is “Do you know of any one hiring in my area”.  We do actually forward or retweet several job posting’s each week. Be sure to follow us @whseandops on Twitter, pretty much every day you’ll find a position posted from some part of the country or the United Kingdom, and from Canada as well.  If we run across a job posting we try and spread the word best we can.

Speaking of social media, we had a conversation this week on Facebook, John had commented on order accuracy & posed a question to us about accuracy & errors within the Industry, check out our feed sometime, and join in or post a question, we’re @whseandops there as well and we’d love you sharing any thoughts or questions with the group!

I thought we’d kind of piggy back off Johns thoughts and discuss a few of the different types of pay seen today, many of which can have an error component to them in some form or fashion.

Activity Based Compensation, Incentive Pay, Productivity Pay are a few of the many program names you may hear about but really your company may have another name or some acronym they may apply to a pay plan or program when offering something other than a straight hourly wage or salary.  I hear more about these types of programs in tasks that involve Productivity and productivity driven environments.  Things like Order Selection, Loading and Unloading even delivery in transportation are jobs that may offer some kind of either additional incentive pay on top of an hourly wage or even straight piece pay based on strictly how many pieces of product of cases you move throughout the shift or how many you’ve delivered.  James shared his thoughts on productivity pay in episode 33 A Few Thoughts on Order Selecting with James, he felt like it was a great improvement in his field and I believe Tony broached the subject in episode 19 Warehouse training Techniques and advice from a professional.  I believe we may of mentioned it in episode 12 as well as we discussed Order Selection.  If you missed these episodes, check them out at, we had a lot of fun with them.

I kind of strayed from the subject again.  Anyway, whatever you call the program it’s usually a positive thing.  I mean it gives us the opportunity to determine our wages to some degree and we can separate ourselves from a individual that may not be interested in making the money we want too or a new employee who’s not quite selecting, unloading or delivering the quantity we can just yet.  I remember back when I was Loading and Selecting everyone made the same dollar value an hour, wither we were pulling 120 cases an hour or 200 cases an hour.  I think that was James point, he’s a seasoned order selector, one of the top selectors in his field but he’s been doing it for several years and with productivity pay he earns more than a new employee just getting started.

A program could be as simply as a base pay per hour plus Incentive dollar amounts being added based on the number of cases being selected, loaded or delivered if you’re a driver, something like, just as examples, an additional dollar an hour if your base is at 100 cs/hr but your selecting at 130/cs an hour, maybe another dollar if your selecting 160/cs hour and maybe an additional 2 dollars if you pull 200/cs an hour.

Of course, all programs, even a simple one should have a Safety component addressed within it and an Error factor applied to it as well.  We have to be safe & the customer has to receive the right product and the correct quantity.

A simple program could state that we cannot have any accidents or near misses, or we have to participate in each days start up and safety meetings & we may need to stay within an error ration or, again just as an example, something like 3 errors, like misship’s or shorts, in every 10k pulled to qualify for the program each week. A misship meaning we pulled the wrong product or quantity & a short meaning either we didn’t select it or it fell off our pallet somewhere in the warehouse or our selection path and the customer didn’t receive it.

And a program can be pretty complex as well, it can even be tied to attendance and tardies.  Again, just as examples, We may be paid an additional $10 a week if we have no absence or tardies in a week, $2 for turning in some kind of paperwork, then X number of cents per case selected or loaded or handled by us.  The more we do, and do safely & correctly the more we make.  I think you’ll usually see the more complex a program is the more monies being offered for a job being done correctly.  They may even come with a either or or component, meaning we’ll be paid the higher of the two, a set hourly wage or the Program Pay, whichever is higher.

I believe you’ll find the Safety & Error components are adhered too and are pretty strick in any type of pay, they are two of the most important facets of our jobs and we’re responsible for them.

I’ve seen and hear of new associates kind of shying away from a new position when they hear the words commission pay or productivity pay etc.  In a productivity based position, I feel these pay structures are a big win for us and if we don’t understand the program lets ask, tell the recruiter to explain it to us again or have our supervisor explain it to us.  It’s about making money for what WE do safely & correctly and at a productivity level a bit higher than what is required.  If we’re uncomfortable being responsible and accountable for our pay rate maybe an hourly position would fit us a bit better.  A productivity environment and position isn’t for all of us and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with seeking one of the many other positions in Operations!

I hope you feel better about the different pay programs and I explained it well enough for you to know what questions to ask whomever is speaking to you about them.  Ask those questions, I feel they offer us great opportunities to make a better wage and kind of challenge ourselves to do a great job.  A lot of times it’s great to have a bit of personal challenge isn’t it!  Thanks for listening in today, I enjoy talking about positions & making money but lets all remember the most important task we have and our main priority has to be Safety, our safety and the safety of others

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