Amplifier Articles

Lights. Camera. Atlas.

Atlas Specialized Trasnportation Group
Bringing Big Service to the Greatest Shows on Earth Lights. Camera. Action. Atlas STG

 

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As public showcases for the world's biggest durable goods industry, auto shows differ immensely from trade shows. Deadlines are unforgiving. The scale of events requires a total commitment in people and resources. And a do-or-die focus on phenomenal impressions means finely detailed plans must be enacted with flawless precision.

Over the recent years, Atlas STG has charted extraordinary growth in service to auto shows. From 2002 through 2006, the number of annual shipments grew by nearly 16 percent. The average size of shipments grew as well, with line haul increasing by 25 percent during that same period. Why?

Atlas STG and its agents bring a personalized approach to serving customers. But they also possess fundamental advantages that enable them to excel in this highly competitive arena.

Atlas agent J. W. Cole & Sons (1772) has been serving the auto industry exclusively since the 1970s.

According to Michael Escobar, Vice President of Operations and Sales, price competition has created an environment where only the efficient and savvy can survive. That gives J.W. Cole & Sons an advantage. "Our reputation for quality brings us business as long as our bids are competitive," says Michael. "Customers know us for on-time delivery, care in handling, around-the-clock responsiveness and living up to commitments... We try never to say 'we can't.' At the same time, we are honest about what it will take to get something done."

Dave Bjerk, COO of Imlach Movers, Inc. (1130) says that a dedication to this business requires dedicated people — at the agency and within the van line — who understand the ins and outs and stay on top of everything.

"The show in New York, for instance, requires people on the job who understand the difficult logistics in Manhattan due to the fact that there is no marshalling yard and very limited parking," says Dave. "We provide supervision at all the major shows. Our service commitment is 24-7."

Extensive resources are essential, especially when exhibits encompass 100,000 sq. ft. or more. "Our work at the Detroit show requires 60 trailer loads, in and out," says Dave. "That's just for displays — not to mention the autos."

The Atlas system comprises nearly 4500 pieces of equipment, including a corporate fleet of 426 trailers equipped with tracking systems, an important benefit for auto show solutions. "In some cases, exhibit materials will stay loaded between shows, and the trailer will be parked for an extended period," says Phil Wahl, Director, CTD Operations, Specialized Transportation Group. "Our tracking system lets us know exactly where the trailer is, and helps to make sure it moves only when it is supposed to."

"Atlas' flat-floor trailers are a key strength in this market," says Joe Samperi, Account Executive with Comtrans (644). "These are essential for handling large exhibits with big components, such as 30-foot crates."  Joe says that well-planned placement on the trailers ensures efficiency when unloading. "Clients count on us on-site to oversee the sequence of events, including how the trucks and components come into the show room. It's critical."

Jim Chretien with Specialty Moving Systems (1814) knows that Atlas has the people, capacity, and tailored services needed for success. "Other carriers may have strength in pricing, but not in service," says Jim. "Atlas has both."

Ken Smith, Specialty Moving Systems, knows that service is another word for people. He says experienced van operators help create the trust that builds relationships. "We use many of the same van operators year after year," says Ken. "The exhibit houses get to know them and are comfortable with them."

Although the October-to-April show season is the proving ground, the rest of the year provides an opportunity to find new efficiencies and hone the service edge. "We use the off season to review our performance and forecast what we might need in the coming months," says Phil. "We want to make sure we are ahead of any capacity issues, that every market is covered. With the arrival of Miami's big show in early October, we are ready to roll."

Atlas STG Excels with Gap Inc.

It's been said, "nobody is perfect." But Atlas STG is as close to perfect as you can get in its service to Gap Inc.

Atlas STG earned a Gold Service Excellence Award from Gap in each of 11 months during 2006 for a near-perfect on-time delivery rating of 99 percent and above. A Silver Award during January recognizes a rating of at least 98 percent.

The retailer operates four distinctive store brands — GAP, Old Navy, Banana Republic, and Fourth & Towne — that depend on timely deliveries for store openings and product rollouts.

"This award represents an efficient partnership between Atlas STG and the Atlas agency network," says Phil Wahl, Director, CTD Operations, Specialized Transportation Group. "Our Agency network helps tremendously with hauling, and timely loading and unloading."

Typical truckload shipments require a crew of six to eight people to load and unload, including handling pad wrapping and setting fixtures in the store. However, rollouts may involve 30 to 40 stops for one trailer.

"Earning this award takes a united effort," says Phil. "It's a tribute to everyone involved."

 

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