The Mechanics of Value.

Apr 20, 2015
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“There is scarcely anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse, and sell a little more cheaply. The person who buys on price alone is this man’s lawful prey.”

The words above, attributed to English author John Ruskin in the 19th Century, go to the heart of the age-old question: How does one determine the sweet spot where price meets value in perfect harmony? Can you finish the job with one coat of paint—or will it take two, possibly three coats? 

This issue of the Amplifier looks at the mechanics of value inside Atlas. We want to know: How does the Atlas service infrastructure create value for corporate and private clients? For stakeholders? We start with the assertion that value is implicit to the Atlas mission: “Every day we help you go new places, with expertise in moving and logistics, bringing the world within reach.” Then we look at some new ways value is taking shape across Atlas World Group—and how it supports success for everyone the Atlas brand touches. 

“Some see moving as a commodity, like a bushel of wheat or a barrel of oil,” says Glen Dunkerson, Chairman & CEO of Atlas World Group. “It’s understandable why they would think that. The costs for production—labor, trucks, trailers, supplies—are similar across the industry.” 

“For example,” says Glen, “consider a truckload of steel pipe going from Pittsburgh to Portland. The value for shipping becomes a fairly simple computation of weight, distance, and timing. But steel pipe and household goods require entirely different approaches to service.”

Glen continues, “There’s a lot to consider when you are responsible for a family’s personal possessions—and that family is moving to a new home a couple thousand miles away. What goes into moving household goods versus moving a commodity like steel pipe is as different as two things can be.” 

“Families Are Not Commodities.”

“No two households are exactly alike,” says Tom Klause, President of A-1 Moving & Storage (0087). “Every Atlas move is tailored to the family, and every family is different. Families are not commodities.”

Moving services, as practiced by Atlas Agents, encompass a host of considerations. Preparing goods for transport. Handling of fragile and bulky items. Dealing with unexpected circumstances and special requests. All of which require training and professionalism.

“Professional Van Operators and their crews bring the skills to safely handle a customer’s goods,” says Tom. “But they provide something else that can’t be quantified. It’s a gift for service—the ability to listen and respond with kindness and professionalism. They put themselves in the customers’ shoes. They make customers feel valued.”

The Atlas Professional Van Operator and crew are not only the face of service, they represent the fundamental unit of capacity. As the industry grapples with the challenge to replace a dwindling pool of Professional Van Operators, Atlas is working proactively to solve the problem on its own terms. 

“In the last 12 months, we’ve recruited over 118 new Professional Van Operators directly from Atlas headquarters,” says Paul Young, Sr. Director, Administration & Terminal Services. “But recruitment alone isn’t enough. We’re stretching our capacity in new ways with third-party providers and alternative modes of transit. We’re committed to meeting the service demands of customers—whether before, during, or after seasonal peaks.”

The Service Behind the Service.

Atlas infrastructure, which brings cohesion to a network of agencies and service providers, is the “service behind the service.” Atlas continuously develops this infrastructure to make the customer experience better. Recent strides include such advances as electronic inventory and AtlasNet Survey. Shipment tracking and reporting. Systems that enable users to share shipment information and streamline business transactions.

“Automating data processes is a priority,” says J.J. Mohr, Director, IT Strategic Planning. “Technology is an important differentiator for value that customers see in the Atlas brand.”

An emphasis on the value of technology extends to both Atlas clients and the public. Atlas websites and apps give consumers access to help for planning a move, securing a price for service, and even tracking goods during shipment.

In March, Atlas company Avail Move Management launched It’s a groundbreaking service for employees who receive a lump sum benefit for moving, and is a great tool for any private client who wants to watch their budget. It provides a hub to manage all the aspects of the relocation—and get the best value from their benefit.

Atlas has also recently introduced flex, bringing new economy to household shipments weighing 4,000 pounds or less. With flex, faster transit times translate to lower costs for temporary housing and per diem expenses.

AtlasNet Customer Manager (ACM) is yet another example of how Atlas is creating value. ACM provides a complete database of customer information accessible to Atlas Agents. It enables a swifter, smoother service delivery from the start, based on the customer’s history. 

Value is getting a sharper focus, too, for customers of Atlas Canada and those who make cross-border moves. In an effort dubbed Can-Am Synergy, Atlas associates in Canada and the U.S. are finding common ground for new efficiencies. 

Atlas International is creating new value for customers in the global arena with licensed affiliates now providing Atlas quality service in 20 countries.

At the same time, Atlas subsidiary Cornerstone Relocation Group, is boosting the value of its service with a tool that measures every interaction between Cornerstone and the relocating employees it serves.  

And Atlas Logistics is blending its own capabilities with common carriers to shorten delivery times for shippers of medical equipment. 

What Does Value Mean for You?

As you read through these pages, think about what value means to you. What do you expect when you hire a service provider? How would you define that sweet spot where price and value engage in perfect synchronicity? Then share your thoughts with us on our Facebook and Twitter pages. We’ll share what you tell us in the next issue of the Amplifier. #AtlasValue




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