Smart Move Transportation LLC expedites small HHG shipping – Part II: The pitfalls of DIY movingBy Eric Anders • Sep 16th, 2009 • Category: Atlas Van Lines, Small Shipments, THE CHANGING FACE OF RELOCATION, TRENDS IN RELOCATION
Facing several years of sliding sales, many moving product and service companies have tried to adjust their sales and marketing efforts to creatively capture a larger share of a shrinking relocation market. With fewer peas on the plate, many of the traditional moving and storage vendors and new breed of containerized transportation providers began chasing every opportunity regardless of the size of the move involved. As a result, a lot of companies began advertising that they were ‘small shipment specialists’.
Just because they could handle these diminutive moves, however, didn’t necessarily mean that their company infrastructure could do it as quickly – or efficiently – as an established nationwide logistics service. Smart Move, after all, already specialized in small shipments of household goods, tradeshows, new products, special commodities, machines, fixtures and medical equipment. They’d worked the kinks out of their system and had an expedited transportation service network already in place.
Recognizing the value of the service, the management at Atlas Van Lines formed a business alliance with the Smart Move network several years ago to handle some of the company’s small shipments. Based in Evansville, Indiana, Atlas specializes in corporate employee relocations and in the transportation of high-value items such as electronics, fine art and new fixtures and furniture. Despite the recession, they realized that many of their corporate clients still needed to quickly and expeditiously relocate new hires and transferees.
The size and construction of Sapyta’s 5000 specially designed, weatherproof Smart Move containers offered a multitude of different transportation and storage options that frequently made it a more practical service option than the van line’s conventional fleet of 4500 pieces of over-the-road (OTR) equipment.
Now it was Glen Dunkerson’s turn to recognize a good opportunity. As a former dispatcher and now Chairman and CEO of Atlas World Group , Dunkerson understands better than most how Smart Move’s do-it-yourself mobile moving and storage container service compliments the menu of full service mobility options offered by his company’s 500 domestic agents and 3200 professional OTR van operators.
As the worldwide recession deepened, more and more companies reduced their spending by eliminating many of the benefits and perks in their corporate relocation packages. Many clients, in fact, eliminated full service benefit options to all but senior managers and above. Other transferees and new employee recruits were essentially allowed a lump sum amount with which to move themselves.
Forced to look for budget relocation options, many turned to more affordable do-it-yourself (DIY) truck rental or containerized or mobile/portable storage shipping options to move their things. Unfortunately each of these low cost services came with its own unique set of logistic challenges.
How much capacity do I need?
Regardless of the size, driving a loaded moving truck requires a certain amount of confidence and expertise, particularity if traveling long distances or having to operate it in an unfamiliar congested urban traffic environment.
Some DIYers underestimate the size of the vehicle required or find that they can’t load as tightly or densely as professional movers. Then they either have to transfer everything into a larger truck or need to rent a trailer to pull behind the vehicle that’s already loaded.
Using an unfamiliar rental truck to tow a car or trailer becomes even more challenging because of problems that inexperienced drivers have with turning or backing a longer combination unit, or knowing if they have sufficient power or braking capacity to safely negotiate roadways with steep inclines.
Mobile/portable storage or shipping containers, on the other hand, allow the DIY users more options because they’re both modular and multimodal.
Inexperienced shippers can adjust their container order up or down order depending on their space requirements. Need more, order more. Unlike the rental truck alternative, shippers don’t have to worry about how long it takes a container to get to its destination or traffic problems it encounters on the route along the way.
Most mobile/portable units are easily demountable and offer some type of free storage incentive at origin and/or destination. Some require a roll-back or unique type of lift system for pick up and delivery. Others allow four-way forklift entry or sling-hoist handling so that they can shipped via a flat-bed, or inside an intermodal rail container, spring ride freight trailer or air-ride moving van. Some can be even be shipped by air in the belly of a plane.
This option is the least understood but most appealing service capability of containerized shipping simply because of the number of logistic resources that can be used to quickly and efficiently arrange transportation.
The biggest problem with using both the truck rental and containerized shipping methods to arrange a personal relocation is finding the willing, experienced labor needed to complete the job. Moving, after all, is extremely hard work.
Abundant amounts of free pizza and beer are frequently the rewards offered to those young enough or fit enough to be coerced, cajoled, schmoozed, shamed, or lovingly enticed into helping someone move. Being willing (or simply available), however, isn’t the same as being experienced. DIY moves are often characterized by unanticipated, expensive property or cargo damage or painful injuries.
Many truck rental outfits, mobile/portable storage services and container shipping companies have an affiliate arrangement with some type of labor resource. It might be with a traditional temporary labor service like a state employment agency, Manpower or Labor Ready, a virtual resource like Craigslist, eMove or Hire-a-Helper, or a more conventional partnership like PODS has with Mayflower Transit and United Van Lines agents to hire their professionally trained crews.
Each service option has its own advantages and disadvantages but all share one thing in common. Due to numerous contractual exclusions, neither the relocation service provider nor the labor service provider is liable for problems that the shipper (that be YOU) has with their move.
And that’s the biggest risk that inexperienced budget conscious consumers assume when they decide to do it themselves.
In Part III find out how Atlas World Group and Smart Move are changing the way that small household goods moves are handled.
Smart Move Transportation LLC expedites small HHG shipping
- Part I – The problem with small shipments
- Part II – The pitfalls of DIY moving
- Part III – The Smart Move Solution
- Making a Smart Move