Dear AMSA Member,
Oh, what a great conference it was!
This year's AMSA conference was, as always, fantastic in many ways. The number of exhibitors and attendees, meeting up with industry leaders, location, networking parties… Seriously, I could go on and on. Thank you to all those who attended; and for those who did not, please put February 8–11 on your calendar for next year and we will see you in Orlando.
Until the next conference, please take advantage of all AMSA has to offer year-round with webinars, training, meetings and information. The staff works to bring you valuable information to help your business. And if you would like to see more information on a certain topic or have suggestions, the staff is always open to new ideas. Contact anyone at AMSA and they will get back to you.
I hope everyone has a great 2014 peak season and that our industry keeps growing and moving forward.
Also, please let us hear from you about topics you'd like to see in future issues of Supply Line and send comments or suggestions to me at JoeB@AssetControls.com or Norma Gyovai, AMSA's director of sales, at email@example.com.
Chairman, AMSA Supplier Committee
Chairman, Asset Controls, Inc. / Windfall
Find anything in AMSA's Online Buyers Guide, from boxes to furniture repair to new and used trucks. Browse through the guide by category or search by keyword using the field below.
AMSA, as a matter of policy, does not endorse any product, service or company. And while all of our AMSA supplier members have agreed to meet our standards, membership does not represent a guarantee by AMSA of their performance or the quality of service provided.
This insight is from: "Top Concerns and Challenges of Midsized Business Leaders in 2013" and a study done by ADP Research Institute.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) and other regulations are a top concern for midsized businesses. As the economic recovery limps along, complicated by ongoing political and regulatory uncertainties, U.S. businesses of all sizes are still struggling to build a secure foundation for growth and expansion. But midsized businesses, which typically have neither the agility of a small company nor the resources of a large enterprise, may be especially vulnerable in such a tumultuous business climate. So what are the most pressing concerns and challenges facing leaders of midsized businesses today?
To find out, ADP Research Institute®, a specialized group within ADP, conducted an online survey of more than 1,000 owners and executives at companies with 50-999 employees in May 2013. The survey results highlight the need for continued vigilance in the area of compliance, especially given that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and related government regulations may pose potentially significant business and financial risks.
The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold most of the ACA's constitutionality has vaulted Health Care Reform issues to the top of the list of specific concerns affecting midsized businesses. When survey respondents were asked to rank their top three business concerns, the cost of providing health coverage and benefits came in first with ACA legislation following a close second. In fact, ACA legislation showed the most significant increase over 2012 (prior to the Supreme Court decision) of any ranked concern in the 2013 survey.
Less than a year after the Supreme Court's ACA ruling most 2013 survey respondents (70%) express confidence that their organizations will be compliant with the ACA's new regulations. In addition, 60% report having the tools and information needed to make decisions on the best health benefits strategy for their company. Fewer than half of respondents, however, express confidence that their company understands all the ACA regulations. These seemingly contradictory findings suggest that midsized businesses may need to take steps to better understand ACA requirements in time to develop a compliant, cost-effective benefits strategy for their organizations.
When it comes to compliance there appears to be a misalignment between midsized business leaders' perceptions and experiences. The vast majority (83%) of survey respondents express confidence that their organization is compliant with payroll tax laws and other government regulations, but for many, this confidence is not reflected in actual experience. Almost one-third of all respondents report incurring unintended expenses, such as fines, penalties or lawsuits, resulting from noncompliance with federal, state or local regulations over the past 12 months. In addition, those midsized firms that were fined or penalized reported an average of six fines or penalties per year. These results suggest that all midsized businesses need to pay close attention to compliance as laws and regulations continue to evolve and multiply.
For information or questions, contact Kevin Urch, Automatic Data Processing, AMSA's newest member discount partner, or visit www.adp.com.
CRM stands for customer relationship management.
Great customer relationships are the foundation of any business, especially so with moving where growth of your business over the long run depends on the number of customer relationships developed and retained locally and across oceans. As a business grows those relationships become harder to manage without the proper tools.
Simply put, cloud-based CRM software is like Facebook or Twitter for your business. As the mover, you connect and collaborate with individuals, movers, corporations, or government agencies that use your moving services.
If you run or manage a moving business but are unfamiliar with the benefits of CRM, here are some questions to think about before getting into the benefits of CRM:
How do you manage your customer relationships?
How do your sales people capture customer information? Do they enter the information in a form in a software? Do they use post-it notes or spreadsheets? If they use Post-it notes or note cards? How consistently is the information transferred to a spreadsheet or program?
How much time is lost in the transfer?
Think about the last time a customer called you. How long were they on hold before you could find their information?
Were you able to look them up by name, phone number, email or postal code?
Is your sales team treating all your customers the same way? If you could, would you rather prioritize your clients based on move size or value?
During busy season are you able to isolate the â€˜big moves' among all the moves that you are bidding on?
Do you find yourself assigning leads and follow-ups to your team manually? How much of your time does that eat up? Isn't that time you'd rather spend at the helm on strategic stuff?
On average, how much time does it take for your team to respond to a rate request?
Do you know the closing ratio for each of your sales reps?
What does your sales pipeline look like one to three months out from today?
Do you buy leads from pay-per-lead (PPL) providers and/or run your own marketing campaigns? Either way, how long would it take for your sales team to prepare a report showing how many AdWords leads or PPL provider leads were closed in the last month?
Can your current system / process scale up as your business grows?
Have you ever missed a move, lost a customer or dealt with poor feedback (buyer remorse) in social media because someone forgot something?
A good CRM system will help you with the following, at minimum:
Rapidly capture, assign and convert leads into booked moves. With agility like that you may often have booked the move by the time your competitors get their estimates in;
Build a healthy sales pipeline. A business that is managing its pipeline well can benefit from larger revenues and higher profits by closing more deals in less time;
Help you close more deals by streamlining follow-ups, automatic reminders and by engaging your prospects through email templates;
Sales reps are "people people" (by nature and by training). If you have already done the hard work to hire good sales reps with a fire in their belly, give them a good CRM system and watch your closing ratios go up;
Be your single source of truth for customer information;
Help your team collaborate internally with each other;
Gather insights about customers and help anticipate their needs;
Provide a holistic picture of the health of your business through reporting & analytics;
Provide visibility into your team's activities and follow-ups;
Scale up to provide sophisticated features as your business needs grow;
Ideally manage all information in the cloud so that customer information is accessible real time
While good CRM software can be valuable to any business, it can provide immense value to small and medium-sized businesses as a toolset that can help them compete with larger businesses in the marketplace.
CRM can help already successful small companies be even more successful. To borrow from Marshall Goldsmith's famous book, What Got You Here Won't Get You There, you need to find a new set of tools that will complement the strengths you already possess and help you grow further. A good CRM system could be that complementary toolset your business needs to get you there.
For more information, visit www.netensity.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Jenna Weinerman, Marketing Director, Updater
You own a moving and storage company. You ask your customers to trust you with all their worldly possessions. They have never met you, they have never met your crew, and they are already on edge about moving in the first place. Because of this, it's crucial that you provide an excellent customer experience. Good service simply isn't good enough in this situation.
The harsh reality of this industry is that 75 percent of your customers would happily book their next move with your competitor — even if they were satisfied with your customer service in the past. As they say, "If the price is right…"
Therefore, we must shift our focus from providing great customer support during a one-off transaction to creating an unforgettable experience that builds loyalty.
How do we know what the customer needs? Every customer has emotional needs that must be met:
Time sensitivity (last-minute move)
Knowledge they seek (how do I change my address post-move?)
Convenience (can you pick up a couch from my mother's house?)
Emotional stress (this is the first time I've used a professional moving company)
The list continues. Understanding customer needs begins with asking the right questions. Train your sales staff to ask questions such as:
Question: What concerns do you have about the move?
Response: OK. Let me explain how we plan to handle that…
Question: What has been your previous experience with moving?
Response: Ok, I understand. We do things differently here at our company and let me put your mind at ease on what the process will be…
If you understand and anticipate the customer's needs, you can provide an experience that caters to them, leaving them with nothing to ask of you. Try to put yourself in their shoes — what do they need? Tackle that and you will afford yourself the opportunity to build an experience worth remembering.
How do we move from good customer service to an exceptional customer experience?
Just this month, ABC's 20/20 ran a segment on moving nightmares and "confessions" from the industry. It's nothing we haven't heard before — rogue movers holding items hostage and/or boosting prices. Therefore, as an industry, we must strive to give 20/20 a reason to recognize the reputable companies giving great experiences. How do we do this?
Starting with the basics, give good customer service. Make sure that every customer walks away happy. If this is not the case, seek areas in need of improvement. Search, and I guarantee you will find plenty.
Understand that the customer is at the center of their world, not you. The traffic your truck is sitting in — doesn't matter. The broken down truck you're dealing with — doesn't matter. The crew member who called out sick — doesn't matter. The customer thinks about the customer, his/her stuff, and the people in his/her life that are affected by the moving service you provide. Make sure your crew members understand this.
Add value. This doesn't mean that you should give services away for free, but give things away that will increase your value. This is a value-add that costs you very little money up front, and provides a tremendous service to the end user. This increases your value in the customer's eyes because you saved them hours on a complicated task. This is one example of adding value.
Offer something unique. To create a truly memorable experience, we must innovate and find new ways to be unique.
Maybe you add some personality to your truck design, showcasing one of your crew members. When that crew member appears on the customer's doorstep, he/she already feels comfortable.
Express your true intent. If you had to cancel a move at the last minute, explain why. Tell the customer upfront if something is going awry. Try it — you may be surprised by the response.
Exceed customer expectations. Don't just meet them.
Take all of these tactics and incorporate them into a beautiful brand experience. Your customer will feel great and you will have effectively transformed their way of thinking about your moving company, and maybe even moving companies in general. Make sure the move is a good experience for the consumer and they will want to return the favor through word of mouth, online reviews, etc. Get your customers talking and keep them coming back.
Think about this every day. Incorporate it into everything you do. No matter how many tactics other companies are implementing, there's always another way to elevate your customers'experience. How can you go above and beyond for your customers?
For more information, visit www.updater.com or contact Jenna Weinerman.
A clean vehicle looks better, lasts longer and works better for your image. If your company's name and national brand are on your trucks, each becomes a traveling billboard, putting your name and your brand for everyone to see and identify with.Â Keeping your truck clean is important to the image of your company.
Fleet owners know a clean fleet is good for your business. The problem has always been how to achieve that goal, and how to achieve it affordably! Â If you have a few trucks to wash, "low-tech" will do just fine. A bucket of water, some soap and a good brush will do the job.
If you have a very large fleet, concentrated in one location, then you may need an automatic rollover system -- a large machine with sensors, which works inside a dedicated building.
Single brush trailer washing machines are mobile soap/brush and rinse machines which an operator "walks" around the vehicle, while the machine provides all the elbow grease. Â They offer fleet owners a fast, affordable solution for in-house professional quality truck and trailer washing, making the vehicles clean every day.
A fast in-house vehicle wash system lets fleet owners wash their vehicles anytime. Â Right after a rainy day, or after a snow storm, and exactly when they need it most. The machines occupy only 15 square feet of floor space, and are fast and easy to use. A single operator moves the machine around the vehicle while it applies soap, power-brush washes and rinses, using minimal water and detergent. Turning is easy on four heavy casters, and the machine has two controls which allow working in two directions for better washing. Typically a single operator can wash a 53' trailer in 6-8 minutes and do so effortlessly.
The Speedy Wash Electric Model 101 is the starter system, and is an ideal solution for companies with a dedicated wash area (indoors or outdoors) where the unit can be connected to electricity and water. The Model 101 is usually installed with a trolley line (festoon) system that keeps the cord and hose above the vehicle and out of the way. Installation takes about six hours, and by late afternoon an operator can be trailed and washing vehicles at a rate of one every 10 minutes.
For companies with multiple wash areas, these autonomous models which are self-powered by battery, diesel, and even hybrid power can move from indoors to outdoors or from one bay to another and taking the wash system right to the vehicle. They store 112 gallons of rinse water and 13 gallons of detergent pre-soak. All functions are operated at the touch of a button, from either one of the two controls, including traction through a centrally-located traction wheel for effortless self-propulsion.Â The ability to operate the machine in both directions and to turn the brush clock-wise or counter-clock-wise allows the machine to perform a first-rate wash.
The capability to wash vehicles effortlessly and fast leads to more frequent washing and cleaner fleets. This winter was hard for fleets in the area where heavy snow hit the northern and southern states.Â The snow leads to road salt use, and road salt corrodes bodywork. In such conditions, washing fleets more often has a positive return on investment, if only in terms of chassis corrosion costs and chassis appearance. Tell-tale corrosion ‘bubbles' make a truck look old even if it is clean. The repair costs are steep if your trucks are not washed often in these kind of weather conditions. Single brush wash machines allow operators to maintain vehicles safer and better at a price every fleet owner can afford.
For more information, visit www.bitimec.com or contact Bruno Albanesi.
Rand McNally has long been known in the commercial trucking industry as the trusted provider of maps and navigation. Due to longstanding relationships with various organizations all the way down to the driver level, Rand McNally GIS professionals network, vet and verify to deliver accurate data.Â Recently, Rand McNally has built upon their base of first-person research with driver feedback.
Rand McNally provides sophisticated algorithms in its routing products including IntelliRoute® and MileMaker® software, the Mileage Guide, IntelliRoute® TND™ GPS solutions and its line of mobile fleet management solutions including the TND™ 760. Routes and turn-by-turn directions generated from these products are specific to the commercial trucking industry, and rely upon continuous first-person research by a dedicated team of GIS specialists in Skokie, Ill.Â Because of the extensive research performed by Rand McNally's team, the company's routing products provide 35% more truck-specific roads than other GPS products.
As in the consumer world, commercial drivers benefit from up-to-the moment information and have come to expect that in their business lives as well.
Rand McNally has historically provided updates such as bi-monthly construction data, and more recently dynamic data such as traffic and weather overlays, and even fuel prices along the route— all delivered via Wi-Fi® to the device or via a secure internet connection and a PC.
While consumers have become adept at providing constant feedback to software providers, it hasn't been as instant in the trucking community.
With the introduction of the IntelliRoute® TND™ GPS devices, Rand McNally designed applications in the device to provide feedback, with a twist to make it relevant to the trucking community.
The first application is the ability to provide updates, observations and product ideas directly to the company via "TellRand", a feature that has generated hundreds of thousands of pieces of feedback to Rand McNally over the years.
Truck drivers can see first-hand when something in the road does not conform to what their navigation devices say.Â Keeping driver safety and efficiency in mind, with only a few clicks on a Rand McNally device, a driver can generate a comment form and send it in to the company the next time they connect their device to a PC via the internet.
"The feedback loop is very important to us to make sure we maintain the highest quality data but also to make drivers' lives easier on the road," said Dave Marsh, Vice President of Research and Development at Rand McNally. "A key component of the design of the TellRand feedback loop was to minimize driver distraction and automate the feedback as much as possible."
"It really helps on both ends," he said. "It certainly helps us, but we've also tried to make it something that helps the driver as well."
Rand McNally logs each comment and its geographic information system professionals verify the changes and create updates in the database that are then sent back to the driver community via map updates.
"We will verify every one of these Tell Rands," said John McAvoy, Vice President of GIS Engineering. "If they say there's a low vertical clearance, we will check our sources such state DOTs, we will go and verify what that vertical clearance is."
Driver feedback can fill in important information gaps for smaller and new roads, or recent changes on major roads McAvoy said.
"Trucks typically get into trouble on local and unfamiliar roads, and that's where this feedback has become really key because the truckers themselves are providing a lot of the feedback that is harder to get out of states and other sources," McAvoy said.
Being able to update speed limit changes along the routes, signage changes, bridge clearances, or long-term construction projects, allows Rand McNally to provide routes that are efficient and safe for the size truck being operated, and to assist in avoiding fines and outages due to bridge strikes, or being on an illegal road. Ultimately this results in a less stressful situation for the driver, as well as positive cost implications.
"A continuous improvement process, providing regular, relevant information back out to our customers is part of what makes the decision to partner with Rand McNally one that quickly delivers a positive ROI," explained Jim Rodi, Senior Vice President, Mobile Communications at Rand McNally. "Driving a truck has become an incredibly complex business, and our technology helps simplify the routing and customer service portion of that challenge."
Rand McNally also provides the ability to rate and share ratings with the driver community. Rand McNally's IntelliRoute® TND™ GPS units allow users to rate nearly any Point of Interest, marking truck stops, rest stops, and even restaurants on a scale of 1 to 5. Registered users may share that information with the community, providing a personal as well as a community rating!
In addition, a driver can save their own comments about a location, such as parking or special access codes.
Rand McNally's team consistently works with its driver and fleet communities to test and develop technology that provides unique applications that fit the needs of the commercial trucking industry. Stay tuned for more great ideas!
Rand McNally's award-winning navigation software with TellRand and point-of-interest ratings is available via its IntelliRoute® TND™ truck GPS units, and its line of mobile fleet management products, including the TND™ 760.Â For more information, visit www.randmcnally.com.