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Supply Line



Supply Line, a newsletter for AMSA's supplier members


Dear AMSA Member,

Summer is here and peak moving season is in full swing!

As a supplier to the moving and storage industry, now is the time for us to support, regroup and prepare for the fall. Here at ACI/Windfall, summer is the time we support, develop, enhance, and process most of the feedback we have received over the past eight months. We look at all the conferences and conventions we attended and decide what we will attend and sponsor in the fall. We look at our customers, top prospects and new ones that we want to introduce to our products and services and put together a plan for travel and meetings. Most importantly of all though, we take a breath and appreciate how far we have come over the past year. Quoting Ferris Bueller, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

The 2013 fall conventions were some of the best in years. You can tell that business was coming back and it was great to see all the new and old faces back at the van line conventions. The 2014 spring conventions showed us the same thing and business kept coming faster and faster. The industry excitement seems to be back after a couple years of, well, let's just say it's great to see everyone busy.

So I urge everyone to take a quick breath and then start preparing for fall. I have a feeling it's going to be a great 2014 for the industry and fall conventions will be well-attended. And this is what we want to see as vendors.

Have a great summer!

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 ngyovai@moving.org.

Joe Bippen,
Chairman, AMSA Supplier Committee
Chairman, Asset Controls, Inc. / Windfall


AMSA Supplier Committee Leadership:

Joe Bippen
Joe Bippen, Vice Chairman
Chairman,
Asset Controls, Inc. / Windfall
joeb@assetcontrols.com
Mike Lucas
Mike Lucas, Secretary
Vice President of Marketing,
Vanliner Insurance
michael_lucas@vanliner.com
Mike Lucas
Brian Schaeffer, Secretary
Corporate Sales Executive,
Movers Specialty Service
brians@mss1.com



NOTICE about AMSA Affiliate Dues Payments

Your 2015 dues payment must be received by August 31, 2014 to be listed in the 2015 AMSA Professional Sourcebook, which will be sent to all AMSA members in November 2014.




In this issue:

AMSA Supplier News

The Handwriting's on the Wall

State Law versus Company Policy: New Battles Ahead

Creating Long Term Goals

Six Things Fleet Tracking Can Do to Boost Business

Upcoming AMSA Meetings





AMSA Supplier News

CDS has developed a smart phone APP that will assist HHG drivers on the road to find packing material and equipment. The APP is free to drivers and industry suppliers, and includes more than 70 locations to help the driver locate what they need quickly and close by, to help save time, fuel, and money. Search for the "mover supply locator" in the Apple store or Google Play, to download to iPhone, iPad and Android systems.

Dependable Auto Shippers (DAS), one of the largest auto transport companies in the U.S. since 1954, has received the 2013 "Partner of the Year" award from Move Management International (MMI), the industry's first multiple moving services supplier administrator.  The honor, which recognizes DAS for Best in Class Performance in the Auto Transport category, was presented at the annual MMI Summit in May.

COWs Mobile Storage celebrates its 5-year anniversary.

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The Handwriting's on the Wall

There's a major trend in large-ticket consumer sales today — and it's affecting your business whether you know it or not. What worked in sales ten years ago may no longer work in our current marketplace. If you catch the wave of change, you can ride it to future success, but if you don't adapt to a new way of selling, you're likely to get pulled under!

Successful businesses understand that today's customers have more information about their buying options than ever before and less time to be "sold", and already have changed how they sell. They have learned to engage customers in new ways.

Say goodbye to the car salesman

Not long ago, I noticed an article about changes in how cars are sold. I pulled a quote from the article to highlight what I'm talking about. Christina Rodgers with the Wall Street Journal states:

Customers are simply different today. They've scoured the Web for up-to-date price information and have probably made a decision even before showing up on a dealer's lot. The salesman doesn't have as much to do.

According to AutoTrader Group… the average car shopper spends more than 11 hours online researching cars and only 3½ hours offline, including trips to the dealership. Two years ago, the average time spent offline was more than six hours.

Many car dealers have responded to this trend by eliminating commissioned pay, pricing new vehicles closer to their own costs and stationing more staff in front of computers, where they are rewarded for generating sales quickly and in higher volumes, rather than for trying to talk a customer into buying a more expensive model.

How does this apply to your moving and storage business?

Your customers are different today, too. They know more about what they want. They have easier access to a range of services and suppliers. The bottom line is that they have different expectations than they had just a few years ago.

Here are some suggestions on how you can respond based on how consumers are buying in today's marketplace:

  • Use more online/phone sales. This saves customers time, makes your sales processes more efficient and drives down your sale acquisition costs
  • Pay flat rates to online/phone salespeople for each booked move or storage lot, plus bonuses for hitting sales targets
  • Base charges on cubes because this (space!) is what you are really selling, and it is more operationally efficient
  • Use electronic documents when possible to ease the burden on customers
  • Ask customers for their communication preferences (e.g. phone, text, email, etc.) and then use them!

This trend is much larger than the car industry, and I'm confident that there is learning in it for the moving and storage business.

Every leader should consider this sales trend, and make corresponding changes in how their company courts, closes and serves their customers.

A proactive response will position you to best serve your customers and lead your business to the next level!

Visit www.BobbyAlbert.com to download my FREE 1-2-3 Goal Setting Workbook. This simple workbook outlines the goal setting process that I've used for over 20 years.

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State Law versus Company Policy: New Battles Ahead

Legislation has made marijuana use legal in a few states. Whether for recreational or medical needs, this may confuse employees regarding their employer's drug policy.

In Colorado, it is now legal for people to purchase up to one ounce of marijuana for recreational use. Some may believe that the state's law overrides their employer's policy, but that is not accurate. The Colorado law specifically states that it does not require an employer to permit or accommodate the use, consumption, or possession of marijuana in the workplace, or affect the ability of an employer to have policies restricting the use of marijuana by employees.

But what happens if an employee uses the drug at home, takes a random company drug test, and fails? Just last year, this question reached a Colorado appeals court. A Dish Network employee, who was paralyzed in a car accident when he was a teenager, has been permitted to use medical marijuana since 2009. In 2010, he failed a random company drug test and was terminated. Company policy did not indicate that an employee had to be impaired on the job in order to be fired for a failed drug test. Dish Network won the case, but an appeal has been sent to the Colorado Supreme Court.

Twenty states now allow medical marijuana use, and two of them, Colorado and Washington, also allow limited recreational use. Seven more states may soon be added to the list. Case law experts recommend that employers revisit their drug policies with employees to ensure there is no confusion between state law and workplace policies; to be conscious of the legal fog of the matter when it comes to provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Visit Titan Investigative Alliance, LLC at www.titanpi.com.

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Creating Long Term Goals

One of the habits of highly successful people is regular goal setting. Long term goals compel you to work with discipline and concentration rather than going about your job mindlessly and routinely. Goal-setting is a discipline that helps you focus.

Ours is a world that is more and more full of stuff to do; interesting things, multiple tasks and unlimited opportunities. Over the course of your career, you will be presented with thousands of opportunities and literally millions of decisions. If you're going to maintain your sanity and have any kind of life, you need to focus on the most important of that chorus of possibilities crying out for your attention. That's what long term goals help you do.

Here's how to create long-term goals:

Select an area on which to concentrate

Since we are talking about long term goals — say 10 or more years into the future — you should be working with fundamental aspects of your life. I often suggest that people think first about these five areas of their lives: Pick one area, work on it and then move on to another area.

Spiritual; Financial; Career; Relationships (social) and Physical

Brainstorm (Daydream)

Next, daydream about what you'd like to achieve with respect to that part of your life or job. Kick back, relax, and begin to list on a piece of paper all the things you'd like to accomplish in the area on which you're focusing. Create a list of your dreams. Don't edit or judge what you've written, rather, just make a long list of your dreams. Keep the time frame in mind. We're not talking about next month. These are long term, decades ahead, lifetime-ish sorts of dreams.

Nobody else can do this for you because no one really knows your situation and your aspirations better than you do. Here's an example. Let's say that you are thinking about your career, and you've begun to daydream about what you'd like to accomplish in that area. You write these things down:

  • make a lot more money
  • become one of the top salespeople
  • advance into management
  • successfully go into business for myself
  • become vice-president of sales

Prioritize

If you've done a good job daydreaming, you probably have a long list of things you'd like to accomplish. Unfortunately, you can't do everything. You just don't have enough time and energy to do everything you'd like to do. And, some of your possibilities, your day dreams, may be mutually exclusive. So, you must prioritize and select those things that are most important to you.

There's no formula for this, other than to think carefully about each of your daydreams, compare them to your situation, and select those that you feel are the most important to you. Remember to apply a dose of realism to this process.

In our example, let's say that you've decided to focus on two career goals; 1) to make more money or 2) to move into management.

Specify

This step requires you to turn your daydreams, which are often pretty vague at this point, into specific, achievable goals.

Let's take the first of the two examples, "to make a lot more money." What's a lot more? After some reflection, you think along these lines: "I made $50,000 last year. But I think I'm potentially a lot better than that. Good salespeople make over six figures in today's economy. I can be at that level." Your goal then becomes much more specific when you say, "I will consistently earn an annual income in the range of the best salespeople in the country - at this point, that's over $100,000 a year."

Your earlier, vague goal of "making a lot more money" has now been turned into something very specific — "Consistently earning over $100,000 a year."

This is a key step in the process because the specific detail of the goal is part of what gives it power. If your goals are vague and abstract, they have less power to shape and direct your behavior.

You should now have a piece of paper with your specific, prioritized goals written on it. When you've reached that point, you're ready for the next step.

Refine

Because the power of a goal is to direct your behavior, it's very important that you write your goals exactly as you want them to be. You will direct a great deal of your time and effort toward achieving that goal. So, it behooves you to make sure the goal is right.

Once you have created written, specific goals, take a moment to apply some criteria to them. See if they measure up to the following questions. If so, good. If not, rewrite them to meet the criteria.

  • Are they specific? Does each goal specify what you want to accomplish?
  • Are they realistic? Your goals should be a stretch and require you to work hard to accomplish them, but they shouldn't be so optimistic that you have no realistic chance of achieving them
  • Are they measurable? Can somebody else tell whether or not you have achieved your goal?
  • Do they have a specific time frame? Every goal should have a deadline for completion
  • Are they worthwhile? Decide whether or not this goal is worth all your efforts

At this point, you will have created a set of long-term goals for each of the five fundamental aspects of your life. You'll find them to be a major force in helping you focus your life and your energy. Now, place them someplace where you can review them every few months, and keep track of your progress.

Dave Kahle, the Growth Coach www.davekahle.com.

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Six Things Fleet Tracking Can Do to Boost Business

After 15 years in the fleet management business, I've seen the technology evolve from simply monitoring locations on a map to become a robust system that will even tell you when drivers are braking too hard. From easy installations to helping users stick to the most efficient routes, here are six things you may not know fleet management software can do for your business.

1. It's Not Only for Your Trucks

The same hardware that tracks vehicles on the road can attach to heavy equipment like generators, backhoes or trailers. As long as you can connect the device to an engine or 12-volt power source, monitoring your equipment is just as easy as tracking your fleet. Reports can then show when equipment was last used, where it is, the hours of operation and whether it needs maintenance.

2. Quick, Easy and Unobtrusive Installation

There's no need to take a vehicle out of service to install fleet tracking software. The actual hardware is only as large as a deck of cards, and there are no wires or antennas, so it is relatively unobtrusive. Teams can easily install a device on the go, even at a highway rest stop.

3. Monitoring Fuel Expenses

Fleet management tools are a fantastic way of monitoring and reducing fuel spend related to driving styles and idling times. A semi-truck will consume around one gallon of diesel fuel per hour. If vehicles idle for one hour per day with fuel costing $3.92 a gallon, the expense can really add up.

Tony Mastrocco, owner of A. Mastrocco Jr. Inc., said that he no longer needs to call his van operators to remind them not to idle. Instead, he makes them pay for any fuel they burn while idling — which is enough of a reminder to keep them from doing it.

Looking at which drivers are speeding, braking too hard or driving erratically will also contribute to fuel savings.

4. Route Replay

Fleet management software can provide a detailed report of where drivers were at any given time, helping them learn the most efficient routes to their destinations.

One of Mastrocco's drivers recently took a route that made a big loop five miles out of the way of his destination. Using route replay, Mastrocco was able to show his driver why that route didn't make sense.

5. Fleet Maintenance Tracking

Planning ahead to leave a vehicle out of commission for maintenance is far more efficient than having it break down on site due to lack of service. Monitor which vehicles need maintenance in real time so your organization and fleet can function at peak performance.

6. Call Ahead Delivery Notice

Dispatchers can know exactly where their vehicles are, what the traffic conditions are like and the speed the vehicle is traveling. This allows the dispatcher to call ahead and alert customers exactly when a mover is expected to arrive for his appointment, ensuring the customer is ready to start packing the truck.

James McDonald is a business development representative with Fleetmatics Group PLC, a leading global provider of fleet management solutions for small and mid-sized businesses delivered as software-as-a-service (SaaS). Fleetmatics serves more than 20,000 customers with more than 417,000 subscribed vehicles worldwide. For more information, visit www.fleetmatics.com.

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Upcoming AMSA Meetings

Fall Board and Committee Meetings and Moving Day on Capitol Hill
September 17–19
Loews Madison Hotel
1177 15th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005

National Safety & Operations Conference
October 14–15
Hilton Alexandria Mark Center
5000 Seminary Road
Alexandria, VA 22311

2015 Education Conference & Expo
February 8–11
Rosen Centre Hotel
9840 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819

2016 Education Conference & Expo
March 20–23
Sheraton New Orleans
500 Canal Street
New Orleans, LA 70130

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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.