Questions and Answers about Associated Materials

Here's what people have asked and answered about working for and interviewing at Associated Materials.

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  • What is the work environment and culture like?
  • How are the working hours?
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16 questions

The pace? Work as fast as you can, regardless of what you're doing, then work faster. The production system is designed around the "Hours Per Unit", concept. Or, HPU's for short. This dictates that a given amount of workers SHOULD be able to produce a given amount of finished product over a given amount of time. Yeah right. Of course, the ones setting the parameters are NOT local shop workers who are familiar with the immediate work environment, but off-site corporate administrators who have no clue (nor do they care), as to the unique challenges an HPU production facility faces on an hourly/daily basis. So the parameters are a completely rigged joke meant to squeeze as much work out of the lowest level employees as possible- period. The parameters ONLY take into account production line based criteria. Such as, "how long it takes someone to install a piece of hardware", or, "how long it takes a person to fill a cart full of cut parts". Criteria that has a definite start and stop point. It DOESNT take into account criteria such as wandering around outside in the dark looking for parts. Or the time it takes to walk to a different building looking for parts. Or the time spent trying to figure out why poor quality parts continually break while being processed. Or the time it takes to train a completely brand new employee with zero experience. Which of course there are many of them due to the company's revolving door, scraping the bottom of the barrel hiring practices. In essence, the "pace" of work at Associated Materials is balls out the entire shift. And then some.

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Typically start at 6 am. Leaving at 2:30 pm. HOWEVER, this changes daily, at a moments notice, without warning. Daily production schedules exist, but If the work isn't done far enough into the never ending schedule, then at any given time you'll be asked to come in early, stay late, or work weekends, without warning, in order to stay caught up. Sometimes employees in a specific area will be shuffled around due to poor attendance in another area, and the others left behind will be EXPECTED to alter their schedule to cover for them. Example: "Joe didn't show up on the mainline today, so Im taking Bob from your line to cover for him." Now Mary has to work much harder and faster, or stay late or even come in on Saturday to make up for Bob being taken from her. If Mary cant or wont alter her schedule then shes forever behind. And there's nothing she can do about it unless she can get caught back up once Bob returns. Often times attendance will be so poor that entire lines will be shut down and employees are dispersed throughout the shop or sent home. Because a half staffed production line doesn't run as efficiently as a fully staffed one and good production numbers is all corporate cares about. Now the line is a full day behind and overtime is now "Mandatory!" Summer hours are extremely long and exhausting. 10, 11, 12 hour days are normal and expected, along with full days on Saturdays and even a few Sundays. Hours in the winter are just the opposite. Taking days off in the middle of a work week due to a lack of work is common. Depending on who you are and what your skill level is, you may get 30 hours a week in the dead of winter.

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They need a total overhaul of management or need to treat people better

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The environment is an extremely fast paced, numbers driven, profit driven, chew up and spit out the employees one. lots of low level employees expected to perform at a top notch level, all the time, being paid as little as corporate can get away with. The culture is everything falls to the wayside of maximum production. Safety and quality are preached, but those are just window dressing. Maximizing employee production is top of the heap. Company has gone from a friendly, family owned and operated, employee driven business, to a greedy, short sighted, power hungry corporate entity bent on maximizing profits at the expense of everything. Share holders outrank the employees, and corporate is not above telling the employees just that. Nor do they make an attempt at even trying to bring the employees up to the same level. Employees are seen as an expendable asset. Most "perks" once readily given to employees have been stripped away, leaving them with little more than a meager paycheck and semi-decent insurance- if they are willing to pay for it. And that only applies to hired on employees, NOT temp employees. If you're a temp, then you'll be kept there as long as possible and you get nothing from the company but a paycheck. Individual employee reviews don't exist anymore. Raises are given to everyone at the same time, regardless of anything and everything. 20 year veteran employees get the same percentage, usually 1-2 percent, as a new hire. Individual performance has NOTHING to do with it anymore. The culture is a handful of smart, hard working, skilled, old school employees treading water in an attempt to make up for the short-comings of the poorly educated, poorly performing new hires that are brought through the building on a revolving door basis. The preaching of management on topics such as safety and quality never ends. But little is done on their part to ensure its success. Its just non stop preaching. As long as the work is getting done and pushed out the door, then all is good. Employees are not hired with long tern status in mind. They are hired as temps and kept that way as long as possible. Then most, if not all of them are laid off in the winter. Hence, you've got 10% of the work force, made up of a handful of good employees doing 90% of the work. Its not a happy environment and its NOT meant, anymore at least, for someone looking for long term employment.

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I lied when asked where I worked. Even when they gave out free t-shirts, instead of giving raises, I took them to Goodwill. No way I wanted anyone seeing me wearing one of them.

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10 hrs per year they are not good

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I subcontracted work. Total nightmare

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4 days your first year as employee

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The hours. Which go hand in hand with the work being performed. Regardless of the daily tasks you're asked to do, your hours working in Fife will be a MINIMUM of 60 hours a week. 60 hours a week going flat out, non stop, all day. 10 hours a day 6 days a week. A few Sundays and a few holidays thrown in for good measure. You'll be expected to work as hard as you can the entire time.

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Be prepared to answer lots of behavioral interview questions and have good examples.

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