Saturday, February 19, 2011

Column #53 - The Continuing Delta Downfall

If I’m right this article will come out right in front of Valentine’s Day weekend,…well, it IS on the next Monday anyway, so I just MUST wish my lovely wife a Happy Valentine’s Day. My dear Celia, God knew I needed you and I thank Him for sending you along…and for that girl with the ‘two cats in a tow sack’… I love you babydoll.

Ok, back to the story…The HR VP of Porter-Cable and a few other folks came to Memphis and made some ‘offers’. After the dust settled, 15 people, out of 125, transferred to Jackson. 5 of those were me and my department. The other 10 were 2 Reconditioning Mechanics, their Supervisor and 7 call center ladies. If you’ve been keeping up, that means that the Call Center Manager (no call center= no manager), the Service Operations Manager, the Distribution Center Manager, the Warehouse Manager and the Technical Service Manager didn’t relocate. That was a huge hit to the heart of Delta. Now, about the Technical Service Manager job, that was my boss. He ultimately decided not to ‘merge’ and I got his job...sort of. Yes, I got promoted - as a Technical Support Manager - and I reported to the Porter-Cable Technical Service Manager. I must say that my new boss turned out to be a great guy. He and I developed a great friendship and he taught me a lot about things I didn’t know…and I did the same for him. We’re both mechanical geeks, so it worked out very well. So far, it was the best career move I have ever made.

Alright, so, out of over 250 Delta people, a grand total of 23 people were ‘merged’ into the new Pentair Tools Group…and they expected it to make even more money, and grow, and grow, and grow…. Nope. Didn’t happen.
That good ole’ ‘personal bias’ kicked in on a key area and it blew up in their face. Remember the Delta Warehouse Manager that didn’t relocate? Here’s the backstory. In 1999, Porter-Cable and Delta were making good money and the decision to consolidate was made. Now, don’t get me wrong, “Some” consolidation did make sense. Since both businesses sold to the same sort of customer, merging accounts payable, finance, maybe even HR and some sales functions kinda made sense. But there was a HUGE culture difference between Delta and P-C and no one seemed to be able to manage that. When Delta had a need or problem, our tendency was to leverage technology and use it to work smarter. On the other hand, in the same situation, P-C just hired more people. Technology was not at the forefront of their operation, therefore, they had been ‘left behind’ on a lot of new systems…in particular, their Warehouse Management System (WMS).

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