The busy season is coming to an end, and many of you have been traveling to various van line and association conventions. It's my favorite time of the year because you get to see all your customers, show off your new products, and learn about new things going on throughout the industry.
While I believe that attending the fall conventions is very beneficial, there has always been one that stands out as the most important for my company. I'm talking about AMSA's annual conference. If you want to show off any new products or services or meet and mingle with the leaders of the industry, there is no other time when they are all together except at this convention.
Another plus is AMSA's Supplier Expo, which is at the center of everything. This is where everyone meets up, typically lunches are served, the Pinewood Derby takes place, and the silent auction items are displayed. This year AMSA is creating even more buzz about the Expo by installing a "History of Moving" wall to attract and keep attendees in the hall.
AMSA's 95th Annual Education Conference & Expo will take place in San Diego Feb. 9-12. The Manchester Grand Hyatt is right on the edge of the historic Gaslamp Quarter which is full of restaurants, nightlife and shops to check out if you have some free time.
I hope you join me this February in San Diego for the show. Registration is already open so please sign up early at www.promover.org/conference. See you there!
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
The AMSA Buyers Guide is a great place to find the products and services you need for your successful moving and storage business. The guide is easily accessible from the AMSA homepage, but did you know that you can search the guide directly from your desktop? Simply download the guide's Desktop Search Tool and you'll have the capability to start searching the guide instantly! http://amsabuyersguide.com/guide/DesktopSearch.
Movers Specialty Service, Inc. (MSS), the leading provider of crating and specialty services at residences during corporate relocations, is the newest member of AMSA's Chairman's Circle. The announcement was made Sept. 27 during AMSA's annual board of directors meeting in Washington, D.C..
MSS offers corporate transferees and their families a wide range of technical services, including commercial crating, fine arts handling and logistics services through a network of highly-skilled subcontractors across North America. The company received AMSA's first Summit Award for industry suppliers in 2010.
"MSS has a long and highly-valued history with our industry," said Linda Bauer Darr, AMSA president and CEO. "For more than 30 years, it has provided a key link between movers and their customers; and has been an AMSA member for more than 20 years. Now MSS is taking its support to a new level."
"AMSA membership and, now our inclusion in the Chairman's Circle, affords us many opportunities to meet and strengthen the bonds with our customers. AMSA supports the industry and MSS supports AMSA. It just makes sense to me" said Timothy Hughes, MSS president and CEO. "We are pleased to expand our ties with AMSA, which represents ProMovers, the best movers in the country."
The Chairman's Circle is composed of suppliers that have made a strong commitment to support AMSA's initiatives on behalf of the industry by investing, not only financially, but also through generous donations of their time, resources and creative input. These companies are recognized by AMSA's leadership and members for putting the industry's interests first and providing guidance and support. Other Chairman's Circle members are Kentucky Trailer, Rand McNally and Move, Inc.
Implementing technological advancements in today's competitive global economy is essential to your business success. The right software for your business can yield major cost savings, as well as increases in company profitability. Some of the advantages of having the best software product are tangible, but there are other benefits that can be harder to quantify. This article will help highlight some of them and guide business owners on their decisions.
Not all moving companies operate the same way and of course not all software solutions are built the same. There are many different things one must consider when choosing the right solution for a given business.
When the search process is started you must first identify the main expected benefits and purpose of the new system (why do you need it, what process will it replace and how will it make your organization better). It is also important to identify the problems and risks involved with continuing to use the old system and also to assess any possible risks involved in implementing the new technology.
It is of key importance to always involve the end users in the decision making process. For any new system to work you must count on their support and commitment.
A cost-benefit analysis compares the expected financial gain derived from a task or action with the expected cost of completing that task or action. We start then by calculating what current company deficiencies the new system will improve (and their associated costs), and what the cost of the software is. One of the hardest exercises for this particular task is to find a way to quantify and factor in subjective or intangible values such as customer satisfaction. The projected benefits and costs of a system must be measured for both the short-term and long-term.
The benefits of implementing a new system can be summarized in increased operational efficiencies by reducing or eliminating inefficiency costs, which in a moving company may exist in many different forms, such as lost revenue due to not being able to chase sales leads in a timely manner, improper allocation of marketing, and other resources because of inaccurate information or inefficiency.
When calculating the software costs one should include the initial costs of purchasing hardware and software, the implementation and training costs and any potential loss of productivity during the learning process.
Another important thing to take into consideration is the sustainability and life span of the new technology. A software that is expected to serve your company well for a long period of time may cost more initially, but will also eliminate the need for retraining or reimplementation upgrade/enhancement costs down the road.
Another common question to come into play during the cost benefit analysis is whether it is better to develop your own in house software or to use an existing package. There is clearly no universal answer that can be applied here. Acquiring an existing package will translate into lower costs, continuous development and improvement, immediate availability and lower investment and cost flexibility (i.e. opportunity to stop its use at any time). The advantage of designing your own system is that you will be able to build it around your company specifications, but it can take a long time to do so and this can still be accomplished with a third party application if it is designed to be customizable and configurable.
Possibly the easiest benefits of any specialized software to evaluate are those that tackle cost saving head-on, some of which we have listed here:
Reduction in staffing costs - The right system will make your current office staff more efficient, meaning that you can not only decrease your current staffing costs by eliminating the need for overtime or part-time help, but also allow you to increase the volume of operations without having to take on additional staff. A good system will also add value by increasing your employee's satisfaction levels and therefore maximizing staff retention. Last but not least, imagine how much easier (and less expensive) it will be to train new employees when you have all your processes and documents set and available in one system, easily accessible to new recruits.
Better resource allocation â€“ Accurate and up to date information on your business operation is the most valuable tool for proper decision making. The right system for your company will provide you with real time data and analysis, encompassing all aspects of your company, from where your best margins are, how potential customers are finding you, current workload, reciprocity reports, expenditures, etc.
More efficient operations. Again, it all comes down to the information you have on hand. It doesn't matter how much you sell a move for if all that revenue is lost in poor operations management. A software package can help you efficiently manage tasks such as allocating the right people to the right job, plan more efficient routes reducing your fuel costs and better control of your materials use.
Time saving automation. As the old saying goes time is money, and a well-designed system can save you lots of it. Eliminating double data entry, creating automatic tasks and actions and being able to create documents or reports with just a few clicks will all translate to plenty of saved time.
In summary, although some of the benefits can be difficult to quantify at first, a proper analysis will demonstrate a system's true value. If the American Airlines SABRE System had been viewed simply as a way to issue tickets faster, most of its potential would have been missed. The real payoff was in better scheduling, marketing, and improved market share, much of which was initially unanticipated.
It is in automation where organizations truly realize the overwhelming benefits of technology to create a new level of competitive advantage. Success stories are abundant and we will be happy to share a few of our own with you. Just contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and become the next one!
Everyone has gimmicks, and everyone has cheap freebies. You must use effective trade show technology to make your exhibit different from every other booth people pass by. Here are four unique ways to make trade show technology work for you:
1. Trigger technology. When someone walks into your booth, this motion-sensing technology will set off an auditory or visual change designed to grab attention.
For a travel-related booth, for example, have the sound of ocean waves crashing as people walk by. Â A florist's trade show exhibit might feature rotating, seasonal images of flowers and decoration ideas that are triggered by motion.
Imagine how wonderful it would be to have the smell of freshly baked cookies wafting through your bakery supplies booth! The ways you can make trigger technology work for you at your trade show are limited only by your imagination.
2. See-through screens. Think of how awesome customers will find it when they walk up to your booth, see a seemingly empty space, and watch it transform into a display of visual delight. With see-through screens, you can make something appear out of nothing!
This trade show technology can be particularly effective if you have a mass of people come by and suddenly, a presentation begins. If you combine trigger technology with these new screens, you can rock the worlds of trade show goers everywhere.
You could have a mouthwatering array of food images appear for your culinary booth. Or, for fitness patrons, the images of toned, lean bodies could appear right in front of people as they walk byâ€”surefire attention grabbers!
3. Touchscreen technology. Don't rely simply on visual cues to get your point across. Let customers get involved in your booth with touchscreens. To explain how your product works, have a different touchscreen describing each step so people can work their way from start to finish.
Display many different touchscreen devices to allow everyone who walks by to get a quick overview of your company's offerings. This can be especially effective for companies who supply office products and technology to other businesses. An array of hand-held devices will let clients try out your newest technology first hand!
4. Take home technology. When customers leave your trade show exhibit, don't let them go home empty-handed. Provide them with a USB drive filled with important information about your company.
The possibilities are endless with today's trade show technology. Let your imagination soar as you get ready to exhibit at AMSA's 95th Annual Education Conference & Expo, Feb. 9-12, 2013 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego.
by Simon Bailey
When it comes to selling, nothing is more important than the power of certainty. After all, when potential customers or clients are uncertain, they hesitate. They don't want to move forward, say "yes," or allow you to close the sale. The more uncertainty you have, the higher the risk for the person making the purchase and the more likely it is they will decide to wait.
On the other hand, when there is a high level of certainty and the product or service will help the customer accomplish what they want to achieve or give them the result they desire now and in the future, the sale can very easily be made.
So in a world of amazing uncertainty, you have to ask yourself, "What am I certain about?" One of the top certainties of today is that the future is all about relationships. Even though we live in a highly-technical world, it is still a human world where people buy and sell on logic and emotion, on their view of the future, and on the level of trust they have in the people they're working with. Therefore, no matter what you're selling, if you don't have trust it will be difficult to rapidly increase sustainable sales.
The fact is that it has been increasingly difficult for order-takers to make a living in today's networked, mobile, social, and interactive economy. The salespeople who do best are those who act not as order-takers, but as trusted advisors. This is true whether you're selling flat-panel display televisions at an electronics store, multi-million-dollar ERP systems, or real estate. Becoming the trusted advisor is key.
For example, if you go to a hardware store and ask someone to help you find something, and that salesperson simply points you to the correct aisle, he or she may make the sale, but not a loyal customer. However, when that salesperson takes an interest in what you're looking for, asks questions about how you plan to use the item, and then helps you find what you are looking for or a better solution, you're more likely to go back to that hardware store and seek that person out. In fact, you're no longer just going to the hardware store; you're going to see your trusted advisor who works at the hardware store.
Now the main questions are: "As a salesperson, how do you really reach that trusted advisor status?" And, "Once you attain that status, how do you use certainty to fill your sales pipeline?" Here are three keys to keep in mind:
Many salespeople lower the level of trust they have with customers, not because they aren't trustworthy people, but because they aren't thinking about trust before they do their sales pitch. Therefore, when you're talking with a prospect or customer, you always want to ask yourself, "Where is the current trust level?" Perhaps there isn't any. If so, that's okay. Work at building trust as the conversation and resulting relationship progresses.
Instead of saying something negative about a competing product, for instance, pull out your smart phone or tablet and show the customer-tweeted complaints about the competing product, as well as tweets about your product. This will give the customer social proof that you are telling the truth.
Raise the bar on trust whenever possible. Change how you talk about your product or service, how you sell it, or how you demo it so that trust stays where it is or, better yet, goes higher. When you can raise the bar on trust, you're much closer to that sale because now you're a trusted advisor.
Rather than strive for sales or transactions, strive for relationships that span time, price fluctuations, and the competition. Sometimes that means sending customers to your competitors. Yes, it sounds contrary to the traditional sales building advice, but it's a sure way to build your trusted advisor status.
For example, if a competing product to yours would better suit a customer, tell them about it. Give them the other company's Web site, phone number, or address. Write it down for them. Even though you didn't make this sale, you just made many future sales because you are now definitely a trusted advisor.
In my own 30 years of research and in starting numerous successful companies, I've found that the best way to gain trust is to make recommendations in the customer's best interest, even if that means sending them to a competitor. Why? Because now the customer realizes you truly want to help and that they can trust you for the right answers. Then, when they have another need or challenge (which they most certainly will), they'll turn to you to help them. When you're always the first company they contact, you're bound to get long-term sales.
Remember, transactions are here today and gone tomorrow. That's why your goal is to gain customers who are with you forever. After all, it's much less expensive to sell to current customers who already trust you than to try to gain a new customer. Invest the time upfront and you'll have better results in the future.
Once you have people's trust and understand the power of leveraging relationships, it's time to ask yourself a key question we touched on earlier: "What am I certain about?" Chances are, you're certain about a lot of things. For example, you know when major holidays will hit, when seasons will begin, and even your industry's sales cycles. Another example of certainty is that the number of customers using smartphones to help them make purchasing decisions while in a store will increase. And if you're really building relationships and trust with your customers, you'll also be certain about their needs, both now and in the future. So it's time to make a list of certainties and put those certainties to work.
Let's take the sales cycle as an example. Most industries have sales cycles where there's a certain time that people buy the product or service. Rather than prospect, market, and sell during the sales cycle, if you know it's coming, why not prospect, market, and sell before the sales cycle starts? Why? Â Because one of the strategies I teach in my book, Flash Foresight, is that opposites work better. So rather than compete and sell when everyone else is competing and selling, why not sell when your competitors don't think the sales cycle has started?
Before the sales day begins, always ask yourself, what are the problems that are most likely on my customers' minds? What are the uncertainties that might keep them from saying yes? Then ask yourself, what am I certain about? The key is to use the things you're certain about to make saying "yes" easier for your customers. Eliminate the risk of saying yes and put more risk on saying no. If you're a trusted advisor and talking to your customers about the certainties you know they'll be facing, they will listen and buy.
We live in a highly competitive and uncertain world. And that can force many salespeople to forget about relationship-building and focus on the current transaction. Yet when you focus on developing personal relationships with customers, becoming a trusted advisor rather than a salesperson, and using the power of certainty to your advantage, you will provide the comfort and clarity for customers to make a buying decision now.
by Simon Bailey
Love is the most powerful force on the planet. When an employee believes in a brand — when he loves it and feels investment in it — he will go above and beyond the call of duty, not because he has to, but because he wants to.
According to a recent survey by Right Management, 84 percent of employees said that they sometimes feel trapped in their job and want to find a new position elsewhere. Do you think there's a connection between how employees feel and what customers spend? I say yes.
As an employee, you need to step up and own what you do. Give 100 percent every day. Be a high performer. Go beyond what you are paid to do, and trust that the company will do right by you.
For employers, here are five ways to make employees feel the love in this transformational economy:
1. No more ice cream socials, outdoor barbeques, or after-work drinking fests just to butter up employees prior to employee survey time. People are not stupid and they cannot be hoodwinked into conjuring up good feelings for a bad leader. When I worked for a certain leader years ago, he religiously encouraged his direct reports to schedule a social time to get the team together about three days before the employee survey. I didn't know any better. I just went along with the program. Then one day it hit me… OMG. He didn't really care about me; he just didn't want my employees to ding me on the survey because it would be a reflection on him.
2. Invite managers to reapply for their job every six months. Just because a manager gets the results (revenue or cost savings) doesn't mean that he is a brilliant leader; it just means he or she knows how to get things done at the expense of other people. In cases like that, you have to ask, is there a psychological cost that the organization is unaware of and needs to address? Ask employee to vote whether to keep or get rid of their leader. I know some of you are raising your eyebrows right now, so pick up a copy of the book entitled Maverick — The Success Story Behind the Most Unusual Workplace by Ricardo Semler. This book is a must-read for all management.
3. Leaders, every 30 days ask your employees, "What can I do to help you become better?" Your employees are your number-one customer. Once you have their answers, decide what you will do. Your employees will jump through hoops for you and make you look good when they know you authentically care.
4. Teach employees your purpose, and the profit will follow. In one of my favorite books, Firms of Endearment: How World Class Companies Profit from Passion, the authors studied companies that employees and customers loved. Here's what they found in their research: There are 30 publicly-traded businesses (Firms of Endearment) that returned 1,026 percent for investors over a 10-year period, compared to 122 percent for the Standard & Poor 500. Unlike Jim Collins's Good to Great book, which started with financial performance and worked backward, the authors of Firms of Endearment started with humanistic performance - meeting the needs of stakeholders instead of shareholders - and worked forward. Download a copy of this book -- it is brilliant!
5. Change, or be changed by change. One of my favorite stories from the book Firms of Endearment is about a mid-level executive who worked for one of the largest U.S. financial services firms. He said, "We'd never make the Firms of Endearment cut. We've been through 'culture change' workshops for almost a year and everybody knows it's a bunch of crap. You sit through a workshop in the morning about open and honest communication, and then you witness power jockeying and data 'massaging' to alter the true picture that same afternoon. Everybody gives politically correct lip-service to culture in workshops, but we all know our dog-eat-dog culture is here to stay, and everybody behaves accordingly."
Love is a choice. Love your team members because that's what leadership is all about. "Love," by which I mean the action of love; love as it's shown through positive actions and the way you treat your employees. Showing proper love for my employees is one of my greatest failures during my tenure at Disney, and I don't want you to make the same mistake.
Learn how to build four key types of business relationships in your career: those with your manager, with your co-workers, with other departments and with executives. I will guide you through building authentic connections with others and creating your own personal board of directors to help you succeed.
Discover how you can build meaningful rapport, set yourself up for visibility and success, manage up when you don't click, develop executive presence, and cross-train within a team to better serve the organization.
Understand how to support your manager's objectives, articulate your needs to your manager, manage up communicating with difficult team members, resolve cross-department conflict, identify mentors and sponsors, and make a lasting first impression with executives.
by Wayne M. Wudyka
Let's face it. Accidents happen. And when they do, the value of proper insurance is quickly evident.
Fortunately, today's innovative insurance carriers are aligned with highly-professional service providers who are acutely focused on meeting the needs of those they are entrusted to serve. Whether furniture repair specialists, electronics restorers or textile restoration experts, the carrier has viable options for dealing with the loss in a timely and cost-effective manner.
For soft goods, items such as clothing and common household textiles, a new category of restoration service provider has emerged that can save time and money for companies and their insurers.
Studies have shown that soft goods comprise 23 percent of the items in an average home. When considering clothing, shoes, belts, purses, hats, luggage, window treatments, bedding towels, rugs, sentimental items and stuffed animals, the value of such items quickly adds up. In fact, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that in 2012, Americans spent more than $366 billion on clothing and shoes alone. It's not hard to see how a typical family of four could accumulate $35,000 in clothing in just a few short years. Here's where a professional textile restorer comes into the picture. With an average savings of 80 percent for restoration compared to replacement, there is incredible value in an insurance service provider that can handle losses involving moving and storage companies.
To be successful, a textile restorer must be adept at responding quickly, as the faster a loss can be addressed, the higher the restoration success rate. When delays occur, damage increases. For example, smoke produces two basic pollutants: oxides of nitrogen and carbon particles. When these are combined with moisture, the result is nitric acid. Within hours, fabrics can become discolored. Within days, fabrics may stain permanently. Similarly, for water losses, applying restoration procedures within hours can prevent secondary damage such as dye transfer and mildew growth.
The garment and textile specialist must be adept at handling thousands of types of items made of hundreds of materials that are affected by dozens of types of contaminants. It becomes part science and part art. Knowing what types of procedures to apply to a specific loss comes from decades of experience and training.
But simply restoring items to pre-loss condition is the most straightforward part of the service; today's textile restoration is highly sophisticated, with standardized procedures dictating proper claims handling, from communication and documentation to pricing and storage. The ultimate goal is to alleviate extra work and irritations for adjusters while providing a valuable and meaningful service for those affected by a loss.
A textile expert also will conduct a thorough inventory of all soft goods, which provides a reliable record of the contents and eliminates potential disputes with the property owner. Digital photos, electronic tracking of individual items and online monitoring of all aspects of the claim are key components designed to protect all involved with the loss and ensure the highest level of customer satisfaction.
Whether a loss involves smoke or water damage, or even mold and mildew growth, today's professional textile restorer is equipped to handle any size situation and to meet the distinct needs of moving and storage companies.
Wayne M. Wudyka is CEO of CRDN (Certified Restoration Drycleaning Network), an international organization of textile restoration experts. CRDN's national claims assignment call center can be reached at Â (800) 963-CRDN or www.CRDN.com.
NetensityTM, the creator of Movegistics CRM for removal companies, was named one of CIO Review's "20 Most Promising Cloud Computing Companies 2013."
CIOReview magazine reports that cloud computing is heralded as one of the most significant disruptive technology trends of the decade. It holds the potential to bring large organizations and small scale businesses to play at a level field.
"We're honored to make CIO Review's list this year," said Adarsh Dattani, founder and CEO of Netensity. "Since inception, we've seen the increasing importance of the affordability that comes only with cloud computing in such a competitive market, and the significant impact it has on our clients' businesses. Our clients in the removals industry are seeing the value, ROI and measurable impact of embracing Movegistics CRM, our cloud based vertical CRM solution. These clients are out-performing their competitors on several levels."
CIOReview magazine reports that cloud computing has fast gained traction all across the industry and is predicted to increase to a whopping $43 billion. The market that expects to see a 130 percent increase in adoption by 2016, also expects scalability, cost-efficiency and pay-per-use pricing models from cloud services solutions.
"Organizations today are benefiting from the elasticity and economies of scale made possible by cloud computing technologies. Combine that with the benefits of ‘verticalized' CRM automation and what results is quick time-to-value with a lower total of ownership", adds Adarsh.
For the complete story, visit the Netensity feature on CIO Review.com. For more on Netensity and its Movegistics CRM solution, visit http://www.netensity.com.
Dependable Auto Shippers (DAS), one of the largest privately-owned vehicle transport companies in the U.S. since 1954, has made a $7 million investment to expand and upgrade its truck fleet with the purchase of 24 additional trucks. The new trucks are part of an ongoing strategy to replace aged units and contemporize the fleet throughout the next two years, while continuing to grow the company's reach and leadership within the auto transport industry.
"By adding these trucks, DAS is taking another step toward the modernization of our company-owned fleet," said John Roehll, executive vice president and partner of DAS. "We pride ourselves on running a fleet with high-performance equipment and believe these new trucks will allow us to continue offering the highest level of customer service and transport capacity."
The 24 new units represent the first phase in a plan to replace all trucks in the company's fleet. Unique within the privately-owned vehicle transport industry, DAS owns and maintains its own truck fleet including these new vehicle transports, which are combined units with power and trailer built together.
The increased efficiency brought by the new trucks combined with recent changes in environmental laws helps DAS decrease its environmental footprint. The new trucks will be assigned to DAS' top drivers.
Speedy Wash is Bitimec's answer to the vehicle-washing needs of bus and truck operators wanting to maintain an elevated company image and sense of reliability by always keeping their fleets in perfectly clean condition.
Speedy Wash lets companies perform consistent, inexpensive, high quality washes every time, on whatever type of large vehicle they operate, without the heavy investment in buildings, equipment or valuable floor space required by other mechanized systems. And it's battery-powered.
This company was involved in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC). Scott Pass, Director of Transportation for these games stated that Bitimec was granted the contract for this event by being the most qualified team for maintaining the Olympic image and to ensure a high standard of exterior cleanliness for the total of over 1100 buses used for the two month operational period for the Olympics.
Visit Booth 325 at AMSA's Education Conference & Expo this February and talk with Bitimec President, Bruno Albanesi how this product could benefit your company.
See a video of the Speedy Wash 626 LX in action.