What steps would you take to resolve the conflict between the production, warehouse and mechanic teams?

You are the supervisor that works underground at a potash mine and are responsible to ensure that the equipment and vehicles are ready for the miners when they get to work. Your team consists of 3 heavy duty mechanics, 2 industrial mechanics and 1 person that operates the lubrication truck and fuel station. One of the other work groups that you deal with on a regular basis is the warehouse. They are responsible for supplying the parts that your team needs to repair the equipment as necessary.
Over the past few weeks, you have been hearing complaints about the equipment not being ready on time. The Mine Production Supervisors have been telling you that the equipment is not ready to go and it is reducing their ability to produce the volumes of ore that they are supposed to do.
You talk to you team and they say they are always waiting for parts and supplies, and that is why they cannot get the equipment ready in time for the production crew. SO – you contact the Supervisor in the warehouse about the need to have the parts underground and ready for your team so they can do their job. The Warehouse Supervisor says she will check into it and get back to you.
When she calls you back to update you on the problem, she notes that her warehouse people are getting the parts as quickly as they are requested and sending them down the same day they are ordered. She also suggests that whoever is ordering from underground might not be getting the orders in quick enough to get them on the elevator in time to be there when they are needed.
The warehouse has 2 employees that service the underground crews. Over the past few weeks they have had a few changes in their personnel. The first change was Ahmed – he was a fairly new addition to the warehouse group and had transferred in from another mine in the Middle East. He has been with the company for 8 years and has previous experience in the mining warehouse. The other new person that has just started in the underground warehouse is Shirley. She has been with the company for 2 years and was previously one of the shippers in the above ground warehouse.
The next step you make is to ask your mechanics if it is correct that they are not getting the equipment ready in time for the production crews. Their reply is that the parts are not getting to them in time to do the repairs and get the equipment ready. After further discussion, your mechanics mention that they don’t like the new warehouse people and that they are “not very good at their jobs”. They complain about having difficulty understanding Ahmed, and Shirley doesn’t know anything about parts so they don’t order anything from her.
The only thing that has changed on your mechanics crew was that a long time team member retired a few weeks ago. According to the rest of the team, he was the one that did all the ordering of parts over the years and that they did not have a problem getting the parts from the warehouse on time when he was there.
1. What might be the causing the conflict?
2. Would you, as the Supervisor, approach the underground warehouse employees to discuss the problems?
3. How would you try to determine where the breakdown was in the system?
4. What actions would you do with your mechanic group to resolve the issues?
5. What training could you put in place to ensure that your team was following the processes correctly?
6. What steps would you take to resolve the conflict between the production, warehouse and mechanic teams?


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