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Old 08-08-2018, 05:01 PM
teela brown teela brown is offline
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Dumbest thing your employer has done to cut costs.

I know we've done this before.

This is inspired by Sailboat's post in the thread about the worst place to have a desk.

His company sent out hard copies of legal paperwork offshore so that some cheaper country could do the data entry. I code and file legal paperwork every day, and there are a million ways to get it wrong if you're not trained in this, and I can't imagine my law firm offshoring this kind of work - it's too risky.

My contribution: my current firm once ditched Adobe and then foisted some bargain basement portable document format application on us. It was the shittiest piece of software imaginable. We need very accurate software to do what we do, and one that is streamlined and intuitive as well. That piece of crap was unworkable by even the most sophisticated paralegals here. But I bet it showed up on some bean-counter's self review in a list of "cost-cutting achievements" for that year!

After a year of it we went back to Adobe. Thank God.

How about you?
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Old 08-08-2018, 05:09 PM
begbert2 begbert2 is offline
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I worked at a very small company that made custom diamond engagement rings. We were working on a browser program to allow them to be customized on site and had a reasonable business going even though that hadn't been completed yet.

By "very small" I mean "four people". The boss/owner, the cad designer, and two coders to handle the internet stuff (one of whom was me). (The actual manufacture of the rings was outsourced, I think.)

Then, after I'd been there a year, the boss partnered up with a company in India and fired us programmers. Outsourcing, baby!

They were out of business within a year.
  #3  
Old 08-08-2018, 05:35 PM
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Crafter_Man Crafter_Man is offline
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I work in a very large complex full of labs and offices. Our workplace has long hallways with fluorescent light fixtures in the ceilings. Each fixture holds four bulbs.

About 15 years ago someone came up with an ingenious idea to save energy: remove half the bulbs; each fixture would have two bulbs instead of four.

They went ahead and did it.

Over the next few months they closely monitored the usage of energy (kWH) for our building. The data showed no decrease in energy usage.

The bulbs were eventually put back.
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Old 08-08-2018, 06:10 PM
OldGuy OldGuy is offline
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Many years ago my school at the U of Chicago decided that somehow if they stocked fewer colors of pens in supply, people would use fewer pens. So they only ordered black and blue ink pens.

So for several months there were no red pens to use. Made marking papers much harder. We finally convinced them to go to either blue and red or black and red.
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Old 08-08-2018, 06:49 PM
Mr. Bill Mr. Bill is offline
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I used to work for Kinko's, during the period when they were owned by a Venture Capital firm who planned on taking the company public. They did a bunch of things to try and standardize operations and cut costs. What follows is just one of their bone-headed moves.

To follow my point you need to understand a little bit about the economics of the business.

The big copier/printers were not owned by Kinko's, they were leased directly from (usually) Xerox. The lease had three components: 1) the lease itself, usually a 5-year deal, 2) a usage charge which was structured as x number of impressions free each month and y cents per impression above x, and 3) a service plan, tailored to the needs of the user.

After the 5-year lease was up, rather than immediately getting a new machine, usually you would roll over to a month to month deal, with a lower monthly payment and (here's where it got really attractive for the user) no impression charges.

My branch had a Docutech 5690, with a digital front end which allowed us to do some really cool and useful document manipulation. This was our most important machine, doing more than 60% of our black and white production. At the time this went down, it was at about year 4 of the 5 year lease. We definitely would have kept this machine on at the end of its' lease, as it was a well-running, versatile and productive machine which we were used to, even to the point of being able to do some repair tasks that might have otherwise required downtime while waiting for a service call. And it would have been really inexpensive to run.

So, what happened was that some bean counter in the corporate office determined that company-wide there was a large amount of unused production capacity. The solution for this was to get rid of all Docutech size machines and replace them with a brand new line of much smaller machines from Xerox. Note I said ALL. There was no attempt made to determine which branches had production requirements that merited the machines they had.

The new machines had production abilities of less than 50% of our 5690. Further, they were a brand new design, with a ton of bugs, and Xerox had not yet trained anything like enough service techs on the machine.

The result was that we were now saddled with a main production machine which on its' best day was not capable of the volume we required, was down a large percentage of the time and we could no longer get the 24/7 service we had had for the 5690. We also lost the ability entirely to do some regular and highly profitable jobs which required the use of that digital front end.

The corporate solution for this dilemma was to farm out work to other nearby branches which still had excess production capacity. Unfortunately, that just wasn't practical as so much of our work was on tight deadlines, which didn't allow for shipping stuff back and forth. We wound up having to turn down business and losing customers because of this.

Basically, they took a branch which was consistently very profitable (in the top 1% company wide), shot us in the foot and then told us to keep running the race. I think you can guess the results.

It's likely that the financial performance of some of the less productive branches improved from this strategy, but I refuse to believe that destroying your best performers is a viable business strategy.
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Old 08-08-2018, 07:17 PM
asterion asterion is offline
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I'll always say the coffee (and other such perks). Whenever a company starts messing with the coffee and such other little fringe perks, you know it's a bad sign as somebody is desperate to show a cost savings somewhere, and it's easiest to take it out on your employees.
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Old 08-08-2018, 08:24 PM
longhair75 longhair75 is offline
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The original owner of the company where I work was very tight. He would buy service truck at auction from the local phone company, and he would only bid on the cheapest. Some of our "new" trucks would have well over 100k miles. He also thought that regular maintenance such as oil changes was a waste of money.
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Old 08-08-2018, 08:25 PM
Isamu Isamu is offline
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Not paying their employees what they were worth. Thus good people left after a while and started up their own, directly competing, businesses. So the owner was in the business of training his competittors.
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Old 08-08-2018, 08:25 PM
Loach Loach is offline
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My employer was the US Army.

During the post Cold War draw down it was decided to deactivated the 2nd Armor Division. This was part of the overall reduction in forces to save money. At the time most of the 2nd Armor was sharing Fort Hood with the 1st Cavalry Division.

So the entire division went away. All of the personnel were transferred elsewhere. Families were relocated. Household goods moved. A divisionís worth of equipment was moved. It was a big undertaking.

A few months later part of the realignment meant that Fort Polk was going to become a training post. The 5th Infantry Division needed a home so it was moved into the vacancy left by 2AD at Fort Hood. The entire division moved from Louisiana to Texas. Families were relocated. Household goods moved. A divisionís worth of equipment was moved.

A very short time later someone decided they wanted an armor division not an infantry division. So they waved a magic wand and 5th Infantry became 2nd armor. But the magic wand didnít change the infantry into tankers so again many had to be relocated and tankers brought in.

Not long after that 2nd Armor was deactivated again.
  #10  
Old 08-08-2018, 08:56 PM
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Back in the pre-computer days, I worked at a place where the office manager kept the supply cabinet locked. If you wanted anything, you had to ask her to unlock the cabinet.

Being as how it was the pre-computer era, people needed a lot of typing paper, typing ribbons, white out, etc., in addition to the usual need for ruled pads, pens and day-to day stuff. The office manager was constantly interrupted by people asking for supplies. She couldn't get anything done, and everyone else was slowed up by needing 5-10 minutes to find the office manager to unlock the cabinet, instead of just grabbing a pencil themselves

Of course people started hoarding supplies, taking three boxes of paperclips when they only needed one, stuff like that. In addition to the office manager being interrupted all day, office supplies disappeared at a much faster rate than the size of the company would suggest.

I'm convinced that buried deep in a landfill somewhere, there are a bunch of old desks, each with a locked drawer stuffed full of stenographer pads, #2 pencils, erasers, red pens, and unopened boxes of staples.
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Old 08-08-2018, 09:14 PM
Oredigger77 Oredigger77 is offline
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The dumbest cost savings I've seen was when a venture capitol firm bought out the oil company I worked for. They noticed that the initial production of the well wasn't effected by the size of the frac job but the decline in production was. They decided they could sacrifice the total recovery for each well in order to decrease the cost to drill and put the well on production. Basically this boosted the short term cash flow and increased the total cost to develop the field since it was estimated the would need double the total numbers of wells. Of course the real problem is that those additional wells may not be possible to drill those extra wells due to depletion and the induced fractures so they may have destroyed that oil field.

Luckily that company went bankrupt just a couple of years later.
  #12  
Old 08-08-2018, 09:45 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is online now
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Originally Posted by Isamu View Post
Not paying their employees what they were worth. Thus good people left after a while and started up their own, directly competing, businesses. So the owner was in the business of training his competittors.
Yup, this. Pay people just enough so that they stay around long enough to get trained and go find a job somewhere else.
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Old 08-08-2018, 10:06 PM
DavidwithanR DavidwithanR is offline
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I thought I had nothing, but then remembered the one ad-hoc cost-cutting measure I went through - bouncing December's paycheques didn't work out well for that employer.
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Old 08-08-2018, 10:13 PM
nearwildheaven nearwildheaven is offline
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I thought I had nothing, but then remembered the one ad-hoc cost-cutting measure I went through - bouncing December's paycheques didn't work out well for that employer.
Was this done on purpose?

My next-to-last pharmacy job was through a temp agency, at a startup. I was one of the few employees who could count on being paid, because I was paid through the agency. We also had to buy our own paper towels, trash bags, etc. and the guy who did had a heckuva time being reimbursed.

Believe it or not, the company is still in existence.
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Old 08-08-2018, 10:15 PM
enipla enipla is offline
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I'll always say the coffee (and other such perks). Whenever a company starts messing with the coffee and such other little fringe perks, you know it's a bad sign as somebody is desperate to show a cost savings somewhere, and it's easiest to take it out on your employees.
Bing. Go.

Way back in the late 1980, early 90s I worked for a digitizing firm. We digitized paper maps. Very high tech for its time. But brutal work. The place ran 24/7. But really, it ran on coffee. About 12 people on graveyard crew.

They brought in one of those 50 cent a cup piss machines instead of buying us actual you know, coffee we could brew. Laid me off three days before Christmas they did. Such a nice bunch. Company was dead in 2 years.
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Old 08-08-2018, 10:39 PM
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My dad used to love to tell this story:
He was an executive at a medium-sized Operations Research company. All the department heads were at a status meeting with the president of the company, going around the table and reporting on their departments. When they got to accounting, the head of the department reported that it appeared that employees were taking office supplies home, so that their kids could use them in school. The president of the company said "Are we the kind of company that doesn't let employees take some pencils and pads of paper for their kids to use in school?" That was the last time anyone brought up missing office supplies.


Sadly, I worked for the opposite type of company, where, to make a point, the president wouldn't allow general stores to buy pads of paper or pens or pencils, so people had to provide their own. Since I was a smart-ass, I used to write my reports using crayon on the back of scrap paper, which pissed my boss off, but not enough for him to stand up to the president's stupidity.
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Old 08-08-2018, 11:38 PM
Sattua Sattua is offline
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We came to work one morning and were told that from then on, we'd be paid 70% of our agreed-upon salaries, and if we didn't like it we could go hang.

I did hang...around. To collect my 70% paycheck for as long as they paid it to me, and do basically no work in return. They kept me till they were bought and gutted.
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Old 08-08-2018, 11:50 PM
Projammer Projammer is offline
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Back in the earlier days of database servers I did some contract work for a company that had a fair number of workstations running applications using databases on said server and utilization ran around 50%. For those outside the field, 50% is an excellent number and the target is around 70-75% before things start getting laggy. Over time as they added workstations and applications the utilization gradually crept up to 80% and people were noticing pauses when pulling up records and reports. Nothing show-stopping, just noticeable. We had already advised the owner that it was time to start looking at upgrade options to keep things moving smoothly. Nope. There's still 20% left so there's plenty of room/time for expansion. 85% goes by. 90% and we've been trying to explain to him just how this is a bad thing but we were effective told that until it's operating at 100% there's nothing to worry about.

Well, it got to the high 90's and servers that operate at those levels don't operate long. And it didn't. He never would divulge just how many millions evaporated during that downtime while we rebuilt, reloaded, and restored the backups. We did make sure we were getting good backups because we knew what was coming.
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Old 08-09-2018, 12:25 AM
DavidwithanR DavidwithanR is offline
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Was this done on purpose?
I was told it wasn't, but he was the kind of guy who would say or do anything to keep up his image - at least the image he kept in his own mind.

I left as soon as I could.
  #20  
Old 08-09-2018, 01:53 AM
Spoons Spoons is offline
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I had a boss one time that decided he didn't need an assistant, in the name of saving money (Corporate had said, "Save every penny you can," and this jackass decided to be the vanguard of such a policy). His staff could handle his calls, do his typing, and so on. Well, we weren't hired to be assistants, so we didn't put a lot of effort into it--real work that we had been hired for took precedence, in our minds. So his phone calls went unanswered, and his typing was set aside until we could get to it.

When he took us to task for not acting as his assistants, we reminded him what we were hired for. He didn't like what we had to say, and promptly fired one of us. "Do you want that to happen to you? Do as I say." Naturally, the work on the rest of us increased, in addition to dealing with what his now-non-existent-assistant should have done.

Within six months, he had no staff; we all left for greener pastures under more understanding bosses. His department was gutted. We who had left told colleagues--through the grapevine--interested in jobs there, that this was no place to work. The department died; it could not attract job applicants.

We did not cause the death of the company; we were small potatoes in the grand scheme. But other departments had the same problem, due mainly to Corporate saying, "Save every penny you can," and managers taking that to heart, in an effort to look good to Corporate. In the end, innovation died, employees left, and a $50M company was sold for $8M in the following year. As I see from a Google search, my old boss is now trying to sell real estate. Not sure if he's been successful.

Last edited by Spoons; 08-09-2018 at 01:56 AM.
  #21  
Old 08-09-2018, 02:21 AM
Noel Prosequi Noel Prosequi is offline
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Large public service organisation. Sacked casual workers from just before Christmas to just after Christmas so they didn't have to pay workers Christmas bonuses. Sounds weird, but it was a wrinkle in the rules that allowed this, and the beancounters seized on it. MOrale plummeted, and the reputational damage was immense.

On a grander scale, my state government some years ago declared a Financial Panic when newly elected to underscore their claims about the profligacy of the previous government. Deciding that there were too many public servants, the new government sacked 10s of thousands and didn't allow departments to hire. The new government thought they were on an electoral winner, because who likes public servants?

A complete failure of understanding of macro-economics was apparent. Tens of thousands of unemployed and unproductive people put a further hole in the state's accounts, making things worse. They stopped buying stuff, spreading the pain to shopkeepers and tradies in the community. And all of those sacked people were voters. They liked public servants. Massive electoral backlash from the sackees saw the new government bounced after a term.

Last edited by Noel Prosequi; 08-09-2018 at 02:22 AM.
  #22  
Old 08-09-2018, 02:59 AM
Filbert Filbert is offline
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In a cafe; the place wasn't doing well (new competitor opened close, with a bigger, better location and similar menu) and the owner started trying to save every possible penny. It reached the point that he was only allowing the person scrubbing pans a tub of water with a little washing up liquid in it, then hiding the normal bottle, because we were 'going through it too fast'.

It was 49p a bottle and it was lasting about a week. We found more cash on the floor during clean up most days.
  #23  
Old 08-09-2018, 04:22 AM
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TokyoBayer TokyoBayer is online now
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When I first went to work in Japan, I was employed by a small documentation company that did everything from layout to translation to printing.

The owner’s wife did the admin stuff and refused to buy big paper clips because they were “expensive.”

Every damn time I needed to keep more than 20 sheets together it was a major endeavor.
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Old 08-09-2018, 08:03 AM
Emergency911 Emergency911 is offline
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Had a boss that decided that we were using too much printer paper. Working in a 9-1-1 center, our printer was connected to Local, State and Federal systems that would generate automatic print outs for various things. One example was severe weather, when it was moving into our area, the National Weather Service would send out severe weather statements and then update them as conditions changed. One strong thunderstorm could generate 50 or so pages before it moved out of our area. Our center averaged one or two reams per 24 hour day. A lot of it was wasted paper, but it wasn't us doing it. We bought multiple cases of paper at a time.
The boss had a theory that we were using too much paper because we were taking the reams out of the case and stacking them on shelves. This would allow us to get roughly three cases on a shelf. If we left it in the case, we could only fit two cases on the shelf. We were ordered to not take the paper out of the cases, which meant we could only buy about half as much paper at a time and store it. We bought the same amount of paper in a year, just ordered it twice as often. The boss was convinced we were saving money.

Last edited by Emergency911; 08-09-2018 at 08:04 AM. Reason: fixed spelling
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Old 08-09-2018, 08:20 AM
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I presume they figured there was a cost-savings measure in here somewhere.

The airbase where I worked (this was a while ago) ran Windows 3.1 base-wide off servers. When the servers went down (which wasn't infrequent), you couldn't boot up your computer, and so you had offices full of people twiddling their thumbs until things got fixed.
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Old 08-09-2018, 08:43 AM
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I've seen this at more than one Computer Science department or university computer center.

The administration gasps at the salary needed to hire a competent sysadmin, network person or whatever. They have a "We are not paying that much just for a staff member."

So what do they do instead? Hire 3, 4, ... whatever it takes poor quality folk to do the job that one well paid person could not just do, but do really well.

Pointing out that the total salary for the poor sysadmins was higher than the salary for one good one just got stupid stares.
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Old 08-09-2018, 08:47 AM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
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Framing the kitchen walls in a new custom home ... I built it by the blueprints but my boss came by and said that was wrong, do it this way ... pull all the nails, re-use the wood ... owner comes by and tells me his son is wrong, re-build it by the prints ... more nails pulled ... boss says his dad doesn't understand the cabinet-maker wants things this way ... more pulled nails ... owner says can't pass inspection this way, go by the prints ... more nails ... boss says he's an engineer, changed the prints and stamped them ... more nails ... ad nauseam

The other lead carpenter came by to visit and was scandalized to see a keg and a half (75 pounds) of bent nails in a layer on the kitchen floor ... the customer hated my boss' ideas and sued the owner out of business ...

I lasted another month there, they figured out I could finish concrete but refused to do so ... not for carpenter wages ...
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Old 08-09-2018, 09:02 AM
BobLibDem BobLibDem is offline
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For field trips out of the office, we used to get reimbursed up to a flat rate of say $10 for lunches. Then someone in management got the bright idea that we might be making a buck or two out of the deal. Now we have to submit actual receipts for meals eaten on these trips and if we spent say only $8.47 that's all we would get back. So to save that $1.53, we have to go through the bother of saving the receipts and then there are managerial/accounting procedures to make sure that receipts were attached and that the meal totals add up. If we're paying someone say $25/hour to do this, if it takes more than 4 minutes of their time to process it we're losing money. But management gets the pleasure of letting us know how little they trust us.
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Old 08-09-2018, 09:31 AM
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My employer went through a long phase where they seemed determined to let employees know that we werenít shit, and the company was willing to spend some money to make this clear.

I worked in a huge cubicle farm, with standard-sized cubicles and the ubiquitous desks, shelves, and cabinets that fit inside them. The company decided to downsize our cubes to about 2/3 their original size. Supposedly this was done to create desperately needed space for additional employees.

Employees reacted negatively. The construction was enormously disruptive, and the results were nearly unlivable. The cubes were claustrophobia-inducing, and the furniture no longer fit, so you had to give some up, and what remained had to be awkwardly rearranged. There was no longer room for the things we needed in order to do our jobs.

The project did create a bunch of extra cubes, but they were never used. About three years later, everyone was moved to a different site.

Oh yeah, in response to our griping, we were forced to sign legal documents stating that we understood the business need for the decision and we were in agreement with it.
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Old 08-09-2018, 09:37 AM
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I work for a, um, large government agency center. They recently came up with an idea to save on utility costs: they will close most of the buildings every other Friday, and force everyone to telework or work flexible hours (e.g. 10 hours x 4 on those weeks).
  #31  
Old 08-09-2018, 09:38 AM
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panache45 panache45 is offline
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I worked for a small family-run business. At the advice of his bookkeeper, the owner let go the three employees with the highest salaries... including me. It never occurred to him that there were reasons why he had paid us more than the others. Within a few weeks he was out of business.
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Old 08-09-2018, 10:15 AM
HoneyBadgerDC HoneyBadgerDC is offline
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I ran a diesel truck repair shop for a major leasing company. Our monthly expenses for labor and parts was about $300,000. Every time I would get a new branch manager in they decided they were going to streamline costs by monitoring the shop rags closer. Our shop rags ran about $400.00 a month and if you managed the hell out of them you might get it down to $300.00 per month.

Another one cost us a fortune as well as dropping our position in national ratings. We were instructed to put all shop foreman back on the floor as mechanics and let the shop clerks take in the trucks from the customers and start the repair orders. As shop foreman for over 20 years I always felt taking in the trucks and writing the orders was the most important part of my job. In over 50% of the cases I could fix them right on the spot and send them on their way. If I couldn't fix them I could almost always diagnose the problem and order parts and also assess who should be assigned the repair. This one change drove up our costs by over 25% and when it was pointed out the simple answer was " Shop foreman need to pull their own weight" From that point on I started planning my retirement and lost interest.
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Old 08-09-2018, 10:19 AM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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I work as an IT administrator for a $3 billion (with a B!) a year site that serves the entire U.S. and international markets for critical medical devices. I used to have Deskside Support that fixed routine computer related issues for over 200 skilled employees but they took that away slowly and then fired the only support person we had for no reason. I was told by my boss just to let it fail because some bean counter looked at a spreadsheet the wrong way. The firing saved maybe $100,000 a year even though we do about $1,000,000 dollars AN HOUR in business and computer failures shut down entire production lines.

I am also literally the only person in the world that knows how to do my job and I get 5 weeks of vacation. When I am out, things inevitably go straight to hell because they don't want to pay for a backup.
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Old 08-09-2018, 10:24 AM
HoneyBadgerDC HoneyBadgerDC is offline
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Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
I work as an IT administrator for a $3 billion (with a B!) a year site that serves the entire U.S. and international markets for critical medical devices. I used to have Deskside Support that fixed routine computer related issues for over 200 skilled employees but they took that away slowly and then fired the only support person we had for no reason. I was told by my boss just to let it fail because some bean counter looked at a spreadsheet the wrong way. The firing saved maybe $100,000 a year even though we do about $1,000,000 dollars AN HOUR in business and computer failures shut down entire production lines.

I am also literally the only person in the world that knows how to do my job and I get 5 weeks of vacation. When I am out, things inevitably go straight to hell because they don't want to pay for a backup.
Things exactly like this used to fucking send me up a wall. Penny wise dollar stupid.
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Old 08-09-2018, 10:26 AM
ZonexandScout ZonexandScout is offline
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In the 1980s, I supervised a dispatch center that operated 24/7. It was far from paperless and the three-person shifts had quite a bit of paperwork to complete, including a central log sheet. The owner of the company put out a decree that each operator would be given a pen and that he/she must mark it with his/her name. No other pens would be issued until an operator returned his/her EMPTY pen. Up to that point, I had been making sure that the pen holder had half-a-dozen pens each morning, and our total value of "lost" pens was probably $4.00 a week. We definitely used up more employee time scrambling for pens or borrowing them than we saved. And this doesn't count the attitude hit we took. (I just ignored the order and kept stocking the pens when he wasn't looking.)

In the 1990s, I worked for a company that decided they didn't need a receptionist/admin. Instead, incoming calls rang at ALL employee phones. Every time the phone rang, every employee would have to stop what they were doing and go for the phone. Our work was disrupted every ten minutes or so, and sometimes much more frequently. Tasks ended up taking two or three times as long. Of course, if I went for the phone and somebody else beat me to it, the call would then have to be transferred to me, so we all usually waited another 30 seconds or so before going back to work. We could have hired an intern or a work-release inmate or something, but the boss kept it up for over a year.
  #36  
Old 08-09-2018, 10:40 AM
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Spiderman Spiderman is offline
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Old employer used to do Christmas Holiday party on a Thursday night. This saved cost on facility rental. However, bonuses were paid, by check (only, no direct deposit for bonuses) on Friday.

This means all of these hungover people dragged themselves in. The receptionist basically put a small medicine cabinet on the shelf in front of her desk - aspirin, Pepto, etc. so she wasn't constantly being interrupted. Then there was gossip talk of the night before - who wore what wild/low cut/high cut/inappropriate (dresses for the women; guys were in suits). Who got crazy drunk; who went wild on the dance floor, & more importantly, what went on at the various afterparties, upstairs in the hotel rooms that people rented (on their own).

Any cost savings from Thurs night rental was more than offset by lost productivity on Friday. Had they had the party on Friday, people would have slept off their hangovers on their own time on Sat & been able to get a lot of the gossip out over the weekend, meaning we'd be back to being productive on Monday.
  #37  
Old 08-09-2018, 11:10 AM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Old employer used to do Christmas Holiday party on a Thursday night. This saved cost on facility rental. However, bonuses were paid, by check (only, no direct deposit for bonuses) on Friday.
You just reminded of an employer back in the 70s who always cut corners on the 'gifts' he was giving employees. Took us out for a celebration lunch after a huge development effort then picked just two low cost items from the menu that we could order. This was following a promised bonus if we managed to finish up 3-4 months work ahead of us in just 3-4 weeks. Nobody worked any harder, we probably couldn't work any harder than we were anyway, and the day after the bonus deadline arrived he went out and bought himself a new car.
  #38  
Old 08-09-2018, 12:27 PM
Yllaria Yllaria is offline
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Originally Posted by scr4 View Post
I work for a, um, large government agency center. They recently came up with an idea to save on utility costs: they will close most of the buildings every other Friday, and force everyone to telework or work flexible hours (e.g. 10 hours x 4 on those weeks).
We close every other Friday, working 9 hours M-Th. I'd hate having 10 hour days.
  #39  
Old 08-09-2018, 12:39 PM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
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Back in the earlier days of database servers I did some contract work for a company that had a fair number of workstations running applications using databases on said server and utilization ran around 50%. For those outside the field, 50% is an excellent number and the target is around 70-75% before things start getting laggy. Over time as they added workstations and applications the utilization gradually crept up to 80% and people were noticing pauses when pulling up records and reports. Nothing show-stopping, just noticeable. We had already advised the owner that it was time to start looking at upgrade options to keep things moving smoothly. Nope. There's still 20% left so there's plenty of room/time for expansion. 85% goes by. 90% and we've been trying to explain to him just how this is a bad thing but we were effective told that until it's operating at 100% there's nothing to worry about.

Well, it got to the high 90's and servers that operate at those levels don't operate long. And it didn't. He never would divulge just how many millions evaporated during that downtime while we rebuilt, reloaded, and restored the backups. We did make sure we were getting good backups because we knew what was coming.
I have a similar story on the storage end. The company was going through a BAD period and so "no capital improvements" - but our SANs were full. The CIO gave them an option - buy more storage or archive some of the old data. Well, they needed the old data for reporting and audit. I was in IT and the CIO sat and told us in a company meeting "so its going to crash and then we are going to have to buy more storage and loose business, but I want you to know this isn't YOUR problem and you won't be taking the blame or putting in weekends to fix it." Which got back to the CFO, and the money for storage was released.

I LOVED that CIO.
  #40  
Old 08-09-2018, 12:45 PM
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Inigo Montoya Inigo Montoya is offline
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The two huge property and casualty insurers ("home & auto insurance" to you muggles) that employ my wife and me have discovered that the companies are hemorrhaging money, and that by far the greatest expense generator is the claims department. Which makes sense because that's where the company, you know, pays claims from as it's sole reason for existing. They've also remembered the single biggest expenditure for a business is typically payroll. So the wizards connected some dots and...slashed staffing in the claims department. By like 80%. Not a typo, in my wife's last department 5 people remained after the axe chopped 20--no new positions somewhere else, those 5 people got slammed with work. And because they can't keep up, they get shitty performance reviews. One manager stood up to plead the case and he disappeared. Nobody heard from him for 3 months, and then one day his office was empty. So step 1: "Do more with less", extreme version.

It gets better. See, when you present a claim to get your car unwracked or your house unburned down, the insurance company has to respond within a reasonable period of time. If the people responsible for responding don't (which they can't because they're each doing the work of 5 people), then you get to file a bad faith lawsuit against your insurance company wherein you get what you initially asked for, plus about one gob of additional bucks as punitive damages. So, step 2: "Pay the value of a claim, add about 2 annual salaries to that payment, watch your reputation tank.

Step 3: of course, is take those giant executive bonuses you've been giving yourself for your cost-cutting brilliance and sail off into the sunset while the employees become unemployed when the company becomes insolvent. This is just a couple years from now.

Best news: I got recruited by a local plaintiff firm that is making bank waging war on my former employer. My wife is welcome to come aboard whenever she gets tired of smoothing things over with her employees and customers. Life is good.

Last edited by Inigo Montoya; 08-09-2018 at 12:48 PM.
  #41  
Old 08-09-2018, 12:47 PM
Hari Seldon Hari Seldon is offline
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This didn't happen to me, but a former employer told me the story. A major Japanese company realized that every engineer was buying reference books on the company's dime. So they decided to try to discourage it and open a reference library. So far so good. The trouble came when the cost accountants decided that every division of the company--including the library--must be profitable. So they had to charge each engineer's division money to look at a reference book. So the divisions discouraged the engineers from doing that. The use of the library declined, the charges had to be raised and eventually they were in a death spiral while the divisions went back to their old practice of buying books for their engineers. It wasn't the initial decision that was stupid, but their cost accounting.
  #42  
Old 08-09-2018, 12:48 PM
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minor7flat5 minor7flat5 is offline
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One day in the mid 1990's there was a huge snow storm that blanketed the East Coast with a couple of feet of snow. I drove through it and made my way to work, only to be told by the security guards that the site had been closed. I wisely scanned my employee badge in the reader before leaving.

When the office reopened we were all told that Corporate had made the following baffling decision: all exempt employees (salaried) would be paid for the snow day, while all nonexempt (hourly) employees would not be paid for the hours.
If an hourly employee had reported for work, they would receive 4 hours pay (my scan of the badge earned me 4 hours pay), otherwise they had to use a vacation day if they wanted to be paid.

All this did was piss off every hourly worker on the site, and bring along a substantial quantity of the salaried workers for the ride in a show of solidarity.

That spring and summer, it was common knowledge that every hourly worker took a "sick day" or two. I remember one fine day in May when I stopped by Shipping and asked "Hey, where's Joe?" to which the other guys chuckled "Snow day!" in unison.
  #43  
Old 08-09-2018, 01:37 PM
Dendarii Dame Dendarii Dame is offline
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I used to work for a company for which (among other things) I had to arrange for the printing of office letterhead. A year's worth would cost a few hundred dollars, tops. One day, because the company was losing money, the CFO decided to save money by having me send this job out for competitive bids. Now, normally that wouldn't be a problem, except that I'd already sent out the purchase order. "Cancel it!" he said. I told him that at this point in the process, the work had already been done. The letterhead was at the printer, finished and ready to deliver. "Cancel it anyway!" Even when I explained that meant we wouldn't get the letterhead and we'd still have to pay the printer, he still insisted.

I submitted the job for competitive bids. (Meanwhile, people were complaining because they didn't have letterhead.) The winner was the usual printer, for the usual price. We got the letterhead, which is probably what they'd already printed. So the letterhead's cost doubled that year.
  #44  
Old 08-09-2018, 02:12 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is online now
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There is a large discount brokerage house. They had many moderately highly paid ($60-90K fraud and compliance specialists in house. Now SF and NYC are the centers for that sort of worker. All the experienced workers in the field are there and in a few other urban centers.)

The bean counters in HR decided to move those jobs to Denver. Of course, almost no one moved with them. The HR people said they could get plenty of applicants. Sure= "applicants". Not experienced experts.
  #45  
Old 08-09-2018, 06:33 PM
Poysyn Poysyn is offline
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so much.

Last edited by Poysyn; 08-09-2018 at 06:33 PM.
  #46  
Old 08-09-2018, 08:54 PM
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Fair Rarity Fair Rarity is offline
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Originally Posted by kunilou View Post
Back in the pre-computer days, I worked at a place where the office manager kept the supply cabinet locked. If you wanted anything, you had to ask her to unlock the cabinet.
I had a similar thing at one of my jobs. She had SUCH an attitude too. You felt like Oliver. "Please, ma'am. Can I have some more?" For just a single pen. I worked at another business in the same industry later and we had a free-for-all closet. Pens whenever I wanted! It was heaven. If I needed something special, our normally-awful office manager would actually comply. Then I changed locations within the company and my new supervisor would GRILL me. "Why do you need red felt tip?" "Well, I have to write vertically and everyone else uses blue or black ink and my notations have to be distinct, so... isn't it kind of obvious?" Like... really? An entire box costs, what... $5? $10? And lasts me a year? How much money are we wasting on both our salaries having this discussion right now? I begrudgingly get the pens and be admonished to be careful with them, like she was doing a personal favor to me for giving me the supplies I needed to do my job.

I worked for Large Box Retailer. I wasn't a cashier, but sometimes I'd run the register. I was called up to ring and had to ask one of the supervisors for a pen so a customer could write a check or sign a credit card slip or something. I was told "Large Box Retailer does not provide you with pens." Well, then Large Box Retailer expects non-cash customers to pay by ... psychic brainwaves? This was in the 90s, so pre-apps and most people weren't comfortable using debit at the register yet. I'm sure this did save them a lot of money (ten registers a store, 2000 stores) but it was also extremely bad customer service when you could do nothing but stare blankly at a customer and say "Sorry, I have to go look for a pen," when they whip out the checkbook.
  #47  
Old 08-09-2018, 09:59 PM
dalej42 dalej42 is online now
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Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
There is a large discount brokerage house. They had many moderately highly paid ($60-90K fraud and compliance specialists in house. Now SF and NYC are the centers for that sort of worker. All the experienced workers in the field are there and in a few other urban centers.)



The bean counters in HR decided to move those jobs to Denver. Of course, almost no one moved with them. The HR people said they could get plenty of applicants. Sure= "applicants". Not experienced experts.


I bet I know the name of the firm.
  #48  
Old 08-09-2018, 10:03 PM
Defensive Indifference Defensive Indifference is offline
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When I was a teenager, my first job was at a craft store (like a Michael's or smaller Hobby Lobby, but an independently owned franchise). One of my jobs was to build displays and shelves. The owner had coffee cans full of nails he'd pulled from previous projects and from pallets. The used nails were, of course, bent all to hell and back. The owner had me straighten and reuse them. Even as a 15 year old, making minimum wage ($3.15/hr IIRC), I thought, "Ya know, you're probably paying me more to try to straighten these than you would to just go buy a few miserable pounds of nails."

Fun fact: once a nail has been bent into the shape of a question mark, even if it's painstakingly tapped straight again, it will bend again reaaaaally easily when you try to hammer it into wood. A lot of people don't know that.
  #49  
Old 08-09-2018, 10:57 PM
jasg jasg is offline
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I worked for a company that had a purchasing policy that allowed any employee to submit P.O.s for their own needs - a software company and anything short of a new computer was fine. All on the honor policy and it was not abused - people self-policed.

After an acquisition, the word came down that line management approval was needed for even minor purchases. A distrustful and hated policy so managers just approved requests. However employees had stopped self-policing, submitted requests for more stuff and costs went up.

The hammer came down on managers to be more strict and costs came back down but everyone's morale suffered.
  #50  
Old 08-09-2018, 11:12 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
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Back in the late '80s I was a producer for a computer game startup company. We we pioneering multimedia games on CDs and needed a prototype to show to venture capitalists. I asked my boss what the schedule and budget were, and she said, "As soon as possible, for as little as possible". She told me if she gave me a budget, I would just spend it all. So I spent as much as I wanted and it took as long as I needed.
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