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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Corporate Hypocrisy

Dear CP,
Here's a little story I've got to tell...
I thought you might find this relevant to your site.
Over the last several months, we have been instructed by The Powers That Be (TPTB) to reduce our inventory. Always a good idea, right? It would be better if they'd quit changing manufacturers on us, but that's another rant you can explore later.

Here is what happened. (Just as I predicted and yet somehow, TPTB didn't see it coming.)
We were told to reduce inventory. We spent months working on this. Eventually the congratulatory emails arrived from TPTB patting us all on the back for the work we've done and how much money we saved them and yadda yadda yadda more TPTB blather. We were heroes in their eyes.
And then...
We noticed that we were owing more and more people more and more items every day. We used to only have to owe, on average, 3 people per day. Now that total is just under 20 per day. That is only within the last 4 weeks.
And then...
TPTB sent emails out to us in the trenches that went like this: We have seen a large spike in customer service calls that point to not having products in stock as the number one issue.
Seriously. TPTB cannot be surprised by this. We knew it would happen. It would not have been so bad if they hadn't continued with the whole "surprised act" when they said: Make sure you call CUSTOMERS to tell them you are out of stock.

Yes! Because that is the reason they are pissed at us. It's not because we didn't have it in the first place, it's because we neglected to tell them that. See, if I were a PATIENT of a certain purveyor of health, and this particular place never had my health in stock, I'd be pissed at them for that. I don't care if they always called me. I'd see their name on my phone and think to myself "gee, they must not have my medication in stock...again".

I realize there is a balance. I realize we cannot control manufacturer backorders. I know as well as you do that we cannot stock lots of everything for everybody. That is reasonable. What is not reasonable is owing people basic medications. I ask you, O Wise One, have others experienced the same type of hypocrisy when it comes to inventory and stupid customer service metrics?

Dear Anonymous,
You must bring balance to the Force. No decisions ever made by corporate make sense. It's a little like God making the platypus. Sometimes you just have to say WTF? and move on. We truly are a damned if you do, damned if you don't profession.
Inventory too high? Your fault.
Inventory too low? Your fault.
People unhappy about stocking issues? Your fault.
Increased complaints about inventory from patients? Your fault.

I do find your story hilarious that they expect complaints to disappear simply because you call the patients. We call them too but it's a huge inconvenience for people to wait a full day for something they may need to start right away. Another issue I see with your comment is that your boss didn't take into account people who are waiting. You could tell them right to their face they have to come back for it. It's not going to make them any less pissed, but it will likely still generate a complaint. You did your due diligence and were proactive but it doesn't change the fact that you are out of the medication and the patient has to return. If they can figure out that we are going to give 1138 flu shots this year, they should be able to project how much Omeprazole and Ondansetron we are going to use.

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