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    Senior Member Chief_KO's Avatar
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    Why 12-hour shifts?

    Why do so many units/functions routinely work 12-hour shifts outside of exercises or true real-world emergencies?

    Is it the lack of spare parts? Lack of additional assets? Overused/old assets? Unrealistic operational requirements/goals? Personnel deployed creating a shortfall at home station? Lack of manpower authorizations? Manpower drain (too much overhead, additional duties, etc.)?

    Or is is simply the "that's the way we've always done it" mentality...
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    Re: Why 12-hour shifts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chief_KO View Post
    Why do so many units/functions routinely work 12-hour shifts outside of exercises or true real-world emergencies?

    Is it the lack of spare parts? Lack of additional assets? Overused/old assets? Unrealistic operational requirements/goals? Personnel deployed creating a shortfall at home station? Lack of manpower authorizations? Manpower drain (too much overhead, additional duties, etc.)?

    Or is is simply the "that's the way we've always done it" mentality...
    Are you talking about 12 hour shifts every day or are you talking about that rotating panama schedule some units do. If you are talking about a unit that is doing it every day that is usually out of necessity and for a short time. If you are talking about the panama 12 hour thing I partially understand why people would want to do that. If you have a shop that requires 24 hour coverage you can assigne 3 people to work 8s or 2 people to work 12s. Let's use Security Forces as a 24 hour shop because they are. If a cop is assigned to work an 8 hour shift it is realistically something more like 10 hours. By the time they do guardmount and get armed they work much more than 8 hours. The same can be said about a 12 hour shift but those extra 4 hours most likely allow some time for writing reports and admin stuff that drags the end of the shift out. So if you need to work 72 hours in a 2 week period which would you rather work 9 8 hour hour shifts or 6 12 hour shifts. Most of the cops I knew would rather work the 12 hour shift get it over with and get 3 extra days off. Ironically, at my last base it was leadership who wanted 8 hour shifts and everyone else wanted 12s. Im not a cop I just knew a lot of them and they constantly complained about the 8 hour shifts. The reason it was changed was that realistically at the end of a 12 hour shift most people are just about worthless. Management said it was a force protection issue to have people guarding the base who had already been working for 11 hours straight. I suppose you could say the same about a maintainer. I don't really think it is a good idea for someone to be working on a piece of equipment that costs millions when they haven't slept in 20 plus hours.

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    Re: Why 12-hour shifts?

    Quote Originally Posted by SomeRandomGuy View Post
    Are you talking about 12 hour shifts every day or are you talking about that rotating panama schedule some units do. If you are talking about a unit that is doing it every day that is usually out of necessity and for a short time. If you are talking about the panama 12 hour thing I partially understand why people would want to do that. If you have a shop that requires 24 hour coverage you can assigne 3 people to work 8s or 2 people to work 12s. Let's use Security Forces as a 24 hour shop because they are. If a cop is assigned to work an 8 hour shift it is realistically something more like 10 hours. By the time they do guardmount and get armed they work much more than 8 hours. The same can be said about a 12 hour shift but those extra 4 hours most likely allow some time for writing reports and admin stuff that drags the end of the shift out. So if you need to work 72 hours in a 2 week period which would you rather work 9 8 hour hour shifts or 6 12 hour shifts. Most of the cops I knew would rather work the 12 hour shift get it over with and get 3 extra days off. Ironically, at my last base it was leadership who wanted 8 hour shifts and everyone else wanted 12s. Im not a cop I just knew a lot of them and they constantly complained about the 8 hour shifts. The reason it was changed was that realistically at the end of a 12 hour shift most people are just about worthless. Management said it was a force protection issue to have people guarding the base who had already been working for 11 hours straight. I suppose you could say the same about a maintainer. I don't really think it is a good idea for someone to be working on a piece of equipment that costs millions when they haven't slept in 20 plus hours.
    I never heard it called Panama shifts before. In MAC then AMC we called it Expediter shifts and I loved it. So did all my troops and peers. Let me explain why. If you work in a shop or Carrier field like Security Forces that requires 24 hour a day 7 day a week coverage hour 8 hour shifts suck.
    In airlift Aircraft Maintenance every day is the same as far as manpower requirements. Would you rather work 8 hour shifts on swing shift and have every Tuesday and Wednesday of or work 12 hour shifts and have a 3day weekend every other weekend? Under the Expediter shift its 12 hour shifts 2 day on two days off 3 days on 3 days off. You are working 15 days per month but with every other weekend off. I know what I enjoyed

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    Senior Member 71Fish's Avatar
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    Re: Why 12-hour shifts?

    Military logic. If something is broke throw more people at it.

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    Re: Why 12-hour shifts?

    Quote Originally Posted by 71Fish View Post
    Military logic. If something is broke throw more people at it.
    That's the problem, we don't have more people. What we do have is man-hours to throw at it.

    It's sad how over the past 15 years of doing "more with less", the accepted work week has gone from 40 hours to 50 hours. Even though we are now supposed to be doing "less with less", nobody gets promoted for failing to get the job done.
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    Re: Why 12-hour shifts?

    He's talking about scheduled 8 hour shifts that becomes a 12. This is a common occurence in the aircraft maintenance world. I have been fighting this for as long as I have been in a position of leadership(expeditor, flight chief, super). I have also been fired, removed, re-shifted numerous times for sending my guys home(bucking the system). What's amazing to me(in my exp) is 12's never solves anything except workers tend to work slower. The mx will still get done, it always does and it always has.

    Chief...I think 12's have become a leadership covering there ass as the reason or using the "do more(hours) with less(people, money)" mentality. I've been to both under-manned and over-manned bases. It never mattered, we were on 12's sooner or later.

    As a General once told me, statistically, you can only do less with less.

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    Senior Member 71Fish's Avatar
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    Re: Why 12-hour shifts?

    I'm speaking strickly for myself here, but I believe the mentality is the same for others. Tell me if I am wrong.

    When I have an important (to me or the mission) that needs to get done on a "normal" day, I can work 14 hours and not think anything of it.
    But as soon as someone tell me I "have to" work 12 hours, I start watching the clock and distributing my time and spreading the work.

    Anyone else?

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    Re: Why 12-hour shifts?

    Why the 12 hours shifts? Because no matter how much or how little manpower there is, the supply of man hours will always be unlimited.
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    Re: Why 12-hour shifts?

    It makes the bosses feel like they are really trying...it pisses off everything else. I've never once done a 12 hour shift (other than Panama schedule) that actually served a purpose...other than to say "Hey, look how hard we're trying!"

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    Re: Why 12-hour shifts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chief_KO View Post
    Why do so many units/functions routinely work 12-hour shifts outside of exercises or true real-world emergencies?

    Is it the lack of spare parts? Lack of additional assets? Overused/old assets? Unrealistic operational requirements/goals? Personnel deployed creating a shortfall at home station? Lack of manpower authorizations? Manpower drain (too much overhead, additional duties, etc.)?

    Or is is simply the "that's the way we've always done it" mentality...
    What always kills me is working 12s up to the ex. If everyone was doing their job correctly to begin with, this kind of ridiculousness would be totally unnecessary. I lame a lot of blame at the CC's (via SNCO/O proxy) feet. Their job is to ensure the mission is being completed in compliance everyday, not just when being inspected. The second I hear that a org is going to 12s for inspection/exercise prep is the second I know the leadership isn't worth crap.
    “To err is human, to blame it on somebody else shows management potential.” - Unknown

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