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Posts Tagged ‘relocation’

Tell us a little bit about what you do at Armstrong Relocation/Armstrong Local Movers?

I quote customers over the phone for local moves and coordinate all local moves.  I also schedule appointments for our Residential Salesmen to do free in-home estimates for our customers.

ImageGive us an example of how you work to ensure a successful local move?

From the first time I talk with the customer to the end of the move I am always explaining exactly what is going to happen during the moving process so on move day there is no confusion. I always do a pre-move call and post-move call to make sure the customer is very happy with our moving company.

What gives you satisfaction in your current role as local moving coordinator?

Moving is a very stressful process for our customers, even if they are just moving a mile away.  I get satisfaction out of easing the customers stress and letting them know Armstrong Local Movers will take great care of them.

What is one of the most difficult parts of being a local moving coordinator?

I am a very organized person and like to know everything up front. In the moving industry, not everything is known and changes do happen — it’s just something that comes with being a move coordinator.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time (you know, when you’re not worrying about the details of upcoming moves)?

When I leave for the day, I am always checking my work email at home just to make sure I am not missing out on anything.  I like to go for a jog and lift weights 3 to 4 days a week after work. Unfortunately, I am a huge fan of reality television and will pretty much watch any reality show that I can find on TV.

Whom do you admire most and why?

The person I admire most is my father; he is a very determined man. Since I was a little kid I always remember him being so motivated and positive.  He turns anything negative to something positive, and I believe that is why he has always succeed at anything he puts his mind to.

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When most people think of storage for their household belongings, they think of private mini-storage. These are those establishments that will rent you a 10-foot-by-10-foot storage locker or garage on a month-t0-month basis. They typically have a gate that restricts access to vehicles with a gate code and allow their tenants to come and go during regular hours. This is not the case when you store with a moving company, at least a moving company associated with a van line such as United.

Armstrong Relocation’s Carrollton warehouse has 94,000 square feet of storage capacity in which we store our customers’ belongings. The goods are wrapped with protective pads and carefully packed into wooden storage vaults, each of which can hold about as many items as would fit into a 1-bedroom efficiency apartment. They are secured tightly with steel clamps and are not accessed until they are delivered to the final destination via truck. Here’s our President, Mike Gonzales, demonstrating the storage vaults in our warehouse.

 

 

In addition to the wooden vaults, each customer’s belongings are protected by an alarm system that is remotely monitored by ADT Security, as well as closed-circuit video cameras surrounding the exterior of the facility. A massive water sprinkler system is also in place to guard against the possiblity of fire damage.

One caveat for our customers to be aware of is the limited access they have to their belongings while in storage with us. Due to the way in which the items are stored, and the fact that we are not set up to receive customers as retail mini-storage facilities are, we require advance notice for requests to access the vaults. Some warehouse labor is also necessary in order to make the vault accessible to customers. For these reasons, customers typically only store items they will likely not need access to until the entire shipment is delivered to the final destination.

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This is a very interesting article based on results from a worldwide Manpower Group survey. This trend, if indeed it is a trend, will eventually prompt employers to beef up their benefits packages, including their employee relocation policy. As experts in employee mobility, that’s exactly where we can help.

Role reversal: Employers say they can’t find workers.

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You might think the moving industry is a very basic, low-tech,  elbow-grease driven kind of business. In years past, you were right. And for some of our competitors, it still is. But out-of-the-box thinking and tech-driven solutions are the new model for the times we live in. And as the largest agent for United Van Lines we’ve implemented a recent innovation that renders us able to generate paperless, hyper-accurate moving estimates for our customers.

A new software application called Quotes to Go, paired with a new fleet of Apple iPads, now make us the most technologically advanced surveyors and estimators on the street. Our moving surveyors can now use their touch-screen tablets to select every piece of furniture, every box and everything that our customers would like us to pack, load and transport for them. They then generate a super-accurate quote and e-mail it to the customer, or print it out, if requested.

This means less chance for error and will allow us to avoid some of the hiccups that can occur when using old-fashioned paper surveys. It also means customers can see exactly how we arrived at our estimated weights, which is the basis for our pricing model.

Thanks to Steve Jobs’ genius and our forward-thinking leadership at Armstrong Relocation and United Van Lines for helping us to stay Ahead of the Curve and the competition!

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Yesterday, I attended my first breakfast meeting of the North Texas Relocation Professionals. It was, to say the least, very enlightening.

First, I found myself in a room full of dozens of folks who work in the many facets of employee relocation:  HR, household goods movers, temporary housing, real estate, banking and more. It was interesting to be around people who also work toward the same goal, namely successful relocations, but handle different pieces of the puzzle. It’s easy to forget when you’re in a specific industry that there’s much more to the process than just household goods.

After meeting and talking with a few of these great people,  Armstrong Relocation’s very own Bruce Waller, who is the President of the NTRP, got things underway. It was a panel discussion featuring three HR professionals from three corporations: Charles Ameno with Chevron, Kip Welch with Chesapeake Energy and Silke Dundon with Dell Computer. The diversity of these three businesses, in size, scope and corporate culture was very apparent and made for a particularly interesting discussion.

Chevron is a Fortune 5 (not 500) company, in other words a behemoth. It employes 67,000 people and has been around since Rockefeller’s Standard Oil was broken up. Charles told us that Chevron relocates in the neighborhood of 2,700 employees a year. In fact, it’s part of the company culture that employees should expect to be assigned overseas for at least two years during their tenure with the company. With such volume, Chevron has elected to use an egalitarian relo policy, meanig that whether you’re a roughneck on a rig or a COO at corporate, you are given the same levels of compensation. They use multiple in-house vendors for the various aspects of relocation.

Chesapeake is a substantially smaller energy company but has the distinction of being one of the largest natural gas producers in the U.S. It also has experienced explosive growth in the past decade, and has been consistently listed by Fortune as one of the top 100 companies to work for. Kip told us that Chesapeake relocates upwards of 600 employees a year, the relo policy is flexible and employees’ families are treated as VIPs. Providers are in-house.

Dell also does about 600-700 relos, but additionally handles many temporary assignments. Silke described Dell’s policy as “a la carte and tiered,”  with all providers being outsourced. She emphasized that Dell, being a consumer product company, trades on its brand equity and therefore must embrace a policy of “winning with integrity.”

International relocation was an often mentioned topic for the panel. One subject touched on as a challenge for companies relocating employees overseas is same-sex partnerships. Many countries do not recognize such domestic partnerships and therefore won’t grant work visas or other privileges.

Thanks to Bruce, the NTRP board and the sponsors for the meeting for a really great learning experience!

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The reason that ease of employee mobility is so important to the corporation is simple: success in the marketplace is due to the ability and desire of its human capital. Studies don’t have to show (because it’s common sense) that happy, unfettered employees are much more likely to perform at their highest levels. This is why companies do things like offer benefits, dole out awards, have office parties and give bonuses. It’s also why a solid employee relocation policy is a necessity for any company that compensates its assignees, transferees or new employees (any kind of -ees, really).

Many companies, for various reasons, prefer a laissez-faire policy on relo. Those reasons typically include simpler bookkeeping, ease of budgeting and limiting corporate exposure/liability to problems that may arise during the moving process. Proponents of the hands-off policy will usually implement a sliding scale for lump-sum payments to defray moving costs. The -ee is then left to their own devices to, in their free time, find a real estate agent, put their home up for sale, travel to their new city to hunt for a house or temporary living, sell their home, find a reputable mover and get themselves moved into their new home. And all of this, while still trying to perform the duties of their current position, raise a family and have some sort of life. Most reasonable people might wonder how happy, healthy and productive a typical -ee can actually be during and after such a stressful ordeal.

Why then, would it not make sense to look at a relocation program that could remove most of the stress from the relocation process. Such a program might refer real estate agents who are the best in the region, ensure the home is marketed properly and the employee gets a fair price for it (no easy feat in this market). The program could offer assistance in finding a top real estate agent in the destination city to locate a new home, or temporary living, in a nice part of town with good schools. Moving the -ees’ belongings should not be left to chance, therefore a high-quality, trustworthy moving company should be plugged into a good relo program. All of this would vastly lighten the burden on an -ee and render them 10 times more productive and ready to jump into their new post right away.

This best-practice goes for the entire spectrum of relocation activity, whether it’s a corporation that relocates 5 -ees a year or 500. We should know, we serve both of those companies.

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