Reorganization Brings More to Atlas Agents

Aug 20, 2009

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The reorganization of Atlas Van Lines' operations last year, which brought together the personnel and resources of the RSG (Household Goods) and STG (Specialized Transportation) divisions, answered two key objectives. One – create more hauling opportunities for Atlas agents while reducing reliance on third-party carriers. Two – enable greater efficiency for better service to customers.

Based on a recent performance at one of the world's biggest and most spectacular trade shows, it is now clear that both objectives are being realized in a dramatic fashion.

The Chicago International Auto Show is billed as North America's largest and longest-running auto show. By its own estimate, it requires the placement of 10,340,000 pounds of freight throughout 1.3 million square feet in the sprawling McCormick Place. The enormous scale makes for a big challenge, especially for getting the many dozens of truckloads of exhibit materials in and out of the hall.

Fourteen Atlas Agents in Sync

For two full days before and after the show's ten-day run (February 13 through 22), Atlas Transportation Services' staff, in concert with staff from J. W. Cole & Sons, Inc. (1772) and Specialty Moving Systems, Inc. (1811), directed the movement of traffic in and out as if conducting a symphony.

"The Atlas reorganization definitely helped us to bring in more agents," says James Cole III, J.W. Cole & Sons. "It made everybody's life easier to work with Atlas professional van operators... and it proved Atlas has the ability to transport the exhibits and displays we book."

Operations Manager Ken Smith, Specialty Moving Systems, says it was the most Atlas-attended auto show he's ever seen. "The combined operations department really helped to bring in the Atlas resources...I didn't see one third-party carrier's truck. And it was probably the smoothest auto show I've ever been part of. I say, let's do it again in New York."

What's more, Atlas Transportation Services supplied and coordinated equipment and professional van operators to handle 158 shipments in and out of the hall on 115 vans sourced from Atlas Specialized Transportation Group and the Atlas agency family. Fourteen different Atlas agencies participated on the move in, and 12 agencies were involved with the move out.

"Clearly, the reorganization has positioned us to get more Atlas traffic on Atlas equipment and better serve our customers," stated Dennie Lynn, Atlas Van Lines Sr. Vice President, Transportation Services. "It was impressive to be at the Chicago Auto Show and see the number of Atlas units on site, particularly those that had not traditionally handled auto show loads in the past." In the first year of the reorganization, agent-handled auto show loads increased by more than 500.

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No noise is good noise.

The Atlas team made the difficult process look easy. But preparation for success begins almost a year in advance.

"Planning takes place virtually year round," says Atlas Auto Show Planner Richard Bland. "Since the reorganization of STG and RSG divisions last year, we have greater resources in terms of equipment and people, including a greater availability of professional van operators (PVOs). This enhanced capacity facilitates efficiency and helps us keep the noise down."

No noise, or "service static," as Richard explains, distinguishes the work of the Atlas team and is a big reason why Atlas is the primary carrier for this and other big auto shows throughout the year, all across the country.

"The array of our equipment in the marshalling yard was a powerful statement of how big a role Atlas plays in this show," says Director of Transportation Services Kyle Puckett. "Greater Atlas agent participation this year meant less reliance on outside vendors, and this translated to greater control and less worry about performance... in other words, less noise."

Atlas Professionalism Stands Out

"We strive for the utmost in professionalism, especially in today's business climate," says Richard. "Customers are looking at every aspect of value, and Atlas van operators truly stand out." For example, Richard points to Antonio Beltran with Comtrans LTD (644) and Atlas Professional Van Operator Jim Smith, whose manner of professionalism "made Atlas shine."

"We know our clients are watching our professional van operators on the docks and take note of how they work," says Kyle. "Our PVOs and their professionalism are a major reason why Atlas outshines its competition."

On-date, on-time constraints are another aspect of Atlas' expertise. "You can imagine the cost of 50 carpenters, at 40 dollars an hour, waiting on a late shipment," says Richard. "Atlas has an outstanding record of being on time. Customers know there's an economic benefit to working with us."

Dennie and Mike Lovell, Director Logistics Services, assisted with supervising the move in; Kyle and Richard, along with John Scott, Director RSG Region I, handled move out, working with staff members from J. W. Cole and Specialty Moving Systems. The days were long for the Atlas team, with boots on the ground in the marshalling yard and the hall from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. or later. Were they to choose an MVP for their team, Kyle says it would be Richard Bland.

"Atlas is extremely fortunate to have Richard involved in planning and coordinating this event," says Kyle. "He brings tremendous experience to this particular business, and that is a major advantage for our customers."

Richard insists that Atlas' success reflected the performance of everyone on the Atlas team.

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