Well, I’ve seen a few other responses on this, and as a bench
jeweler (and an opinionated one at times) I just have to give the
forum my 2 cents worth. In our shop, there are a bunch of actual
reasons why we get behind on jobs, which doesn’t really happen all
1- We are overloaded. This is the time of year that is most likely
to happen, and it is right now. So many after Christmas sizings,
alterations, minor fixes, whatever. I am so busy at the bench, I
often miss the opportune moments to pull a days work from the
incoming box, and heaven help trying to get the sales folks to have
the presence of mind to remind me or do it on their own. By leaving
it to me to monitor that incoming box exclusively, it is now my
fault (of course) when it is too full.
2- Sales staff that cannot, or will not, remember to pay attention
to separating out jobs that need parts ordered. Again, by leaving
the responsibility entirely to me to catch those jobs, it is my
fault when one slips by, meaning that the order is often not placed
until the job is already due. In both cases, the sales folks are
often looking for work to do between customers, spending time on
personal phone calls or just griping about the slow day while I can
barely take time to pee, but I am still supposed to find the time to
monitor and filter all the incoming work, AND stay caught up.
3- Sales staff cannot (will not?) consult with me on unusual jobs at
take in time, so some really peculiar or time intensive things are
promised in with normal work flow (2-3 days most of the year), and
now we have something that just cannot be done in the normal time
frame, or at least done well.
4- Manager/sales staff takes in special order jobs requiring parts
orders and doesn’t tell me about it. SURPRISE, just when I thought
I had a handle on the flow, several new jobs appear out of the ether
to occupy front and center on my bench.
5- Sometimes I just have a bad day, can’t get anything off the bench
first try to save my soul.
6- Manager decides not to place the parts order that day (not enough
of an order), forgets to get a job to me, files it in the done work,
or better yet, in the delivered envelope bin…
Well, you get the picture. Sometimes it’s my own fault. I’m having
a lazy day, slow day, day when I just can’t get it or keep it
together. More often, it is beyond my control, and I don’t have the
option of coming in early, staying late or working at home on most
things. Not sure I should have to, really, if they all did their
jobs to the standards they like to hold the bench guy to. And who
gets the blame? Either the bench guy, about 30-40% of the time or
that mystery culprit, “They”. Thats the guy who should really get
mad. Blamed for all sorts of stuff. Who is “They”. Stuller, Rio,
the wholesaler, Fedex, UPS, anyone outside the store who could
conceivably be to blame for a delay. But never, NEVER do I hear at
the counter ‘I screwed up and forgot to order that’, or ‘forgot to
get it to the jeweler’ or ‘I overloaded the jeweler with rush work
so he is behind’. NEVER put the blame on themselves.
What do you do? Dream of being on your own where you can make your
own rules, schedules, etc. Work toward that dream. Bite your
tongue in the meantime, maybe even watch for that opportunity of
payback, where you are at the counter and have the chance to pass
the blame on to one of the sales people. Careful, though. Watch
out for the backfire on that one.