October 25, 2018
The Monkey’s Paw in the Packaging Department
“Jason, your department needs to speed things up. Our backlog of shipping orders is only piling up, and customers are asking where their products are. You need to shape up the operations department, or we’re going to be forced to find a replacement.”
Jason avoided his CEO’s gaze. Since starting as an operations manager, he had been forced to deal with one crisis after another. It was taking a toll on his health.
That night as he told Jennifer, his wife, about his problems at work. She excused herself, and when she came back, she had an antique wooden box, covered in dust and cobwebs.
Jennifer slid open the lid. As the old wooden box creaked open, it revealed a mummified monkey’s paw laying in a bed of straw.
“This belonged to my grandfather. He found it while raiding an old antique shop. The story goes that whoever holds the paw can make three wishes, but the wishes will extract a cost for changing fate.” She then handed him the paw. “We can’t afford to lose our income right now.”
Jason chuckled, and said, “Well if that’s the case, I wish that my department was more productive.” He didn’t believe in wishes or curses but decided it was essential to humor his superstitious wife.
The next day work went quicker than before; they even got all of their backlogged orders finished, on the truck, and out the door. The new level of productivity continued for the rest of the week. The company even threw a party for the operations department for being so incredibly productive. Jason felt secure again.
The security would be short-lived. At the end of the next week, the company’s CEO ordered Jason to meet with him in his office. As the CEO closed the door behind Jason, he could immediately tell something was wrong.
“We appreciate how much your department has done for the company and how much faster orders are getting out the door, but the number of damaged product returns has skyrocketed. Our widgets weren’t packaged properly and are were damaged in shipping. These returns are enormously costly to us, and we can’t afford to keep paying for the cost of goods sold twice for every order. You’re on thin ice now Jason. Fix this problem this week, or I’m replacing your entire department!”
That night he told Jennifer that while his department was more productive, several products arrived damaged. He asked his wife if he could use the monkey paw again. Reluctantly she pulled the monkey’s paw out of the box and handed it to Jason.
He held it in his hand and said, “I wish that our products arrive safely and undamaged.”
On Monday, when Jason showed up to work, there were packing peanuts everywhere. Each box was filled to the brim with Styrofoam to keep each product safe. To get every product out the door took a bit more time, but his team was able to get everything out. This continued until the end of the week.
At the end of the week, Jason’s boss came up to him and congratulated his department with having zero damaged items. However, the cost in labor and void fillers had dramatically increased.
“Jason…listen, I appreciate how responsive you are to making changes, but the cost is hurting us. Furthermore, our customers know that these void fillers are bad for the environment and obnoxious to deal with. This has been a hit to our PR team and our accounting department. You need to deal with this.”
That night he told Jennifer that while his department had reduced its damages, the cost in labor, void fill, and sustainability had been high. He asked his wife if he could use the monkey paw one last time. She stopped him: “Every time you’ve used the monkey paw, you got your wish, but at a terrible cost!”
“Just this last time,” he begged.
His wife handed him the box and walked out. He held the paw and said, “I wish that our department would be productive; have low labor costs; and that our product arrives safe and undamaged.”
Monday, when Jason showed up for work the CEO handed Jason his pink slip. “Jason, we’ve decided to let you go. We’ve found a new operations manager who presented us with a solution to our packaging and shipping problems. Have you heard of Packsize? Their On Demand Packaging solutions will help us minimize damages, reduce shipping costs, eliminate our void filler, and increase our sustainability efforts. It’s really great, and I’m disappointed that you didn’t find it sooner. Good luck to you in your future job search efforts.”
If you’d like to produce your own corrugated cardboard boxes, get a custom box-making machine from Packsize. It’s almost as simple as wishing upon a monkey’s paw, all the benefits, without any of the negatives.