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While all aspects of relocation can be a challenge the physical preparation and movement of ones personal affects tends to be one of life’s more emotional moments. It is easy to downplay moving services as the simple movement of “stuff” from one location to another without realizing the intricacies of the entire process. Every aspect of each individual move must be planned and orchestrated by a controlling service partner. That service partner utilizes a team of service providers to perform all services in accordance with each client’s policy. Successful household goods relocation depends on all service providers performing at a high level to address the needs of each individual transferee in addition to serving the corporate client’s business objectives.
I. The following focal points will help to clarify household goods service provision.
A. Client – Provider Relations and Client Needs
High level household goods service provision begins with a clear understanding of client needs. The preferred method of learning those needs is through direct client – provider contact with good mutual communication. As with all relocation services this will benefit both the corporate and service representative by exposing the corporate needs as well as the service provider’s qualifications. Once the household goods carrier is selected as a provider the implementation process customizes the service process for a match with the client’s policy and procedures. Considering the multitude of service offerings that the household goods industry provides, this step is critical for proper compliance.
B. Move Management
The term “move management” is a simple description of a myriad of details and responsibilities. The job description of most move managers includes, but is not limited to the following.
When reviewing the responsibilities of a move manager it is obvious that a variety of skills are beneficial.
C. Ongoing Consultation
While consultation is at the beginning of a successful client – service provider relationship, ongoing consultation keeps the relationship alive and successful. The bulk of this consultation comes from the service provider’s Account Executive and starts at the beginning of the relationship. Once implemented, the moving company Account Executive has the responsibility of monitoring the following aspects of the process and relationship for purposes of consultation. Recent changes in moving industry pricing regulations are a good example of ongoing consultation needs. In May of 2007 and effective January 1, 2008 the Surface Transportation Board ruled that the moving industry will no longer have collective rate making capabilities. By losing their anti-trust immunities each carrier will have to create their own pricing. Obviously this is a major change that each carrier will have to communicate to their clients.
D. Physical Move
Considering what goes on behind the scenes, the physical movement of the household goods might ultimately seem to be a simple process, but it also has many complexities. Household goods carriers are known as “irregular route” “less than truckload” carriers. With the variety of sizes and types of shipments moving from just about anywhere to just about anywhere, household goods carriers must perform within the guidelines of contractual service guarantees to their clients. Following are other concerns regarding the physical move.
Outside of the normal move process, household goods carriers also get involved with services such as storage in transit, shipping of boats and autos, arranging for pet relocation, wine shipping in addition to many other unique needs.
The objective of moving industry service providers is to take all of the complex and challenging aspects mentioned above and make the process seem simple, mundane and painless to the client and transferee. Perhaps it is a positive reflection on the moving industry that they are sometimes taken for granted.
E. Chicago Metro Moving
The significance of employing a high quality, reputable moving company is important for predictable and consistent service in the Chicago metropolitan area. The City of Chicago (or any other large city) presents some unique challenges for both movers and transferees. Considering the size of interstate equipment (tractor – trailer combinations) and the logistics of accessing many of the city streets and neighborhoods it is not surprising that many of the shipments in or out of Chicago require “shuttle service”. When a smaller piece of equipment (moving van) is used between the residence and the interstate equipment this is referred to as a shuttle. In some cases the household goods are actually taken to the mover’s warehouse facility where they are transferred to the interstate equipment. Reputable, high quality carriers tend to plan and communicate these services ahead of time rather than surprise the client and transferee at the last minute. There are however unforeseen situations such as parked cars, snow banks, flooding and unplanned construction that require last minute shuttle services. Security requirements at some high rise buildings also create needs for specialized services or special permits for parking.
The following is an interesting excerpt from the Encyclopedia of Chicago History.
The Chicago tradition of moving on the first of May or October can be traced to English and Dutch rural festivals. In parts of England, May 1 was known as "Pack Rag Day," the day on which servants would gather their belongings in a bundle and change their employers at hiring fairs. Michaelmas Day (September29) or Old Michaelmas Day (October 10) was also a time when farmhands would change employment. The tradition was also practiced in the Netherlands, where servants would change their employers at the fair at the beginning of May or November. Dutch immigrants brought this tradition to New York as May 1 became a traditional moving day in that city. Mentions of May 1 as moving day in Chicago can be found as early as the 1840’s. In the late nineteenth century as many as one-third of all Chicago households moved annually. It was a very unpopular event, with families facing greedy landlords, exorbitant rates charged by movers (known as expressman), and the risk of breakage and loss of furniture and belongings. In 1865 moving day was postponed until May 3, as President Lincoln's funeral cortege was passing through the city on the first day of that month. In 1911, owing to the widespread unpopularity of a fixed moving day, the Chicago and Cook County REAL-ESTATE boards allowed leases to be made at any time of the year. Despite these efforts, the first of May and October remain popular moving days in Chicago.
Bob Dicke – Blackhawk Moving & Storage
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Corporate Relocation Council - CRC Chicago
PO BOX 3501
GlenEllyn, Illinois 60138-3501