CBS Local — Whole Foods’ new inventory system is reportedly causing so much stress for the supermarket’s employees they’re literally being driven to tears.
“The stress has created such a tense working environment. Seeing someone cry at work is becoming normal,” a supervisor at a West Coast Whole Foods told Business Insider. “I wake up in the middle of the night from nightmares about maps and inventory.”
The chain’s new order-to-shelf (OTS) philosophy – which basically means the distributor replenishes the inventory for the retailer – reportedly comes with a strict set of rules for purchasing, displaying, and storing items on store shelves. Adding to employee misery, the organic foods giant is reportedly using “scorecards” to enforce store accuracy and weed out under-performing workers.
“The OTS program is leading to sackings up and down the chain in our region,” a Georgia Whole Foods worker told reporters. “Many of them have left because they consider OTS to be absurd. As an example, store team leaders are required to complete a 108-point checklist for OTS.”
The 17-category scorecards allegedly include on-the-spot-quizzes of sales goals for employees and point deductions if an item “is even an inch outside of its designated spot.” A failing grade for Whole Foods is any score under 89.9 percent.
Whole Foods executives are painting a very different picture of the company’s new stocking system, saying employees are “excited” by OTS. “They’re really proud when they’re able to achieve that, which is lower out-of-stocks… being able to be on the sales floor talking to customers and selling more products,” vice president of operations David Lannon said.
The dozens of unnamed Whole Foods employees reportedly balked at the executive’s claims, stating that store shelves are now empty on a regular basis as a result of the OTS system.
“It’s a collective confusion — constantly changing, no clear answers to the questions that never were, until now,” a Chicago store employee countered. Store workers told Business Insider that they hope the supermarket’s new partner, Amazon, will bring some sanity back to the grocery world. “We all just hope that Amazon will walk into some stores and see all the holes on the shelf,” a 12-year Whole Foods worker added.