Vision 2025: The Atlas® Journey
With shared vision comes shared success.
Atlas® World Group’s first five-year plan, launched in 2015 and known as Vision 2018
, was the most comprehensive strategic initiative in the history of the van line. Originally conceived by a small group in the Toronto airport, Vision 2018
rallied Atlas® leaders to source a trusted consultancy partner, create detailed focus areas and objectives, and mobilize unprecedented organizational alignment.
In five short years, Atlas has invested millions of dollars in technology to optimize the sales process, improve customer experience, and advance operational efficiencies for all subsidiaries. Moveware, TEAM, AtlasNet®
and Atlas® Video Survey
are all products of the ongoing commitment to differentiating with technology. Fueling growth and diversification, Atlas has also vastly increased its capabilities and global footprint through three strategic acquisitions.
“We’re witnessing the contraction of the North American household goods moving business to its lowest rate since 1985, and our shared vision has been critical to maintaining our offensive position,” says Jack Griffin
, Chairman & CEO of Atlas World Group. “It’s apparent our key to continued success will be unrelenting collaboration and commitment to Vision 2025
As the next phase of Atlas’ strategic journey commences, it’s important to highlight the progress that’s been made to create a brighter future for everyone in the Atlas family.
ATLAS® VAN LINES
“Since the inception of Vision 2020
, we’ve been consistently challenged to combat rising costs and changing consumer needs, both of which have major impacts on the industry,” says Ryan McConnell
, Vice President of Strategic Planning. “We’ve taken risks to lead, not follow, in our response to create an equitable pricing market that empowers the van line and Atlas agency network.”
While it’s been highlighted in previous issues, the 2017 launch of the Price Reset
was a revolutionary initiative that championed the financial success of Atlas Professional Van Operators (PVOs) and attracted new talent to the Atlas fleet. Moreover, Reset provided the revenue necessary to meet service expectations and maintain control as costs changed.
sent a clear message to the network detailing a necessary transition to a new and improved business model,” says Jeff Schimmel
, Vice President of Transportation Services. “We’re grateful for our clients’ understanding and support as we work to move the market where we envision it should be.”
After navigating rising costs, it was time for Atlas to address the everchanging needs of the consumer. With a younger demographic driving a profound shift toward smaller shipments, a different set of moving tools were necessary to meet new expectations for a simple and seamless moving experience. Enter SimpliCity™
Introduced in 2019, Atlas Van Lines’ SimpliCity
simplified the traditional moving process to a level Atlas customers had not yet seen. With this program, households are able to move with Atlas professionals in days, not weeks, allowing for better planning and less downtime. With Atlas Agents across North America, the program connects customers with the best in the business to initiate safe, efficient and quality moves.
is completely customer driven,” says McConnell. “The moving program provides certainty and includes date-specific pickup and delivery where customers can choose when to move with pinpoint timing and expedited transit.”
In support of Vision 2025
, Atlas Van Lines is laser focused on technology and its ability to capture a comprehensive snapshot of what is taking place in the field. The team understands the power of streamlined communications, real-time reporting and reduced waste, and its impact on operational cost structures.
ATLAS® VAN LINES CANADA
Persistence was key for Atlas® Canada when executing Vision 2020
. Leadership dove in from the beginning, designing a strategic roadmap specific to the nuances of the Canadian market. Key objectives centered around household goods expansion and logistics diversification. “Our team would meet for up to three hours weekly to discuss progress, adjustments and areas requiring our immediate attention,” says Barry Schellenberg
, former President of Atlas Canada (current President & COO of Atlas® Van Lines).
Signing Mackie Moving Systems (8450) in 2016, one of Canada’s largest moving companies and a founding member of North American® Van Lines, presented unparalleled potential for strategic growth. Shared vision also played an integral role in Atlas Canada’s pursuit to win back government business and attract new Collect on-Delivery (COD) opportunities.
In a historic move, Atlas Canada completed its first acquisition in 2017 with the purchase of Mississaugua, Ontario-based Connect Logistics. The acquisition more than doubled the logistics business in the country. Furthermore, it provided additional service capabilities for Atlas Canada’s customer base and offered accretive value to the Atlas Agent network.
Going forward, Atlas Canada will work diligently to complete the transition to AtlasNet®
and capitalize on logistics potential, helping deliver lucrative business opportunities throughout the entire calendar year--not only peak season--to Atlas Agents.
“Atlas Logistics® was in its infancy when the strategic plan was established,” says Phil Wahl
, President & COO of Atlas Logistics. “Our goals were simple: grow and expand services.”
Technology has played a major role in facilitating revenue growth, most notably with the implementation of Titan Global Distribution’s™ latest software platform, TEAM
(Titan Electronic Account Management). The stateof- the-art project and warehouse management tool has put the company at the forefront of automated logistics business management.
lends critical market differentiation to Atlas Logistics. By integrating warehouse management and dispatch operations systems, Atlas® managers, clients, warehouse network vendors, and field subcontractors now have the ability to access never-before-seen data in real time, presenting unrivaled communications capabilities and complete project visibility.
Furthering Atlas Logistics’ future market position was the recent acquisition of TopHAT Logistical Solutions, a $50 million full service logistics company specializing in retail home delivery for the country’s leading retailers. Atlas had dabbled in the space, but was lacking a solid, scalable solution. With the strategic purchase decision, Atlas gained a home delivery network that immediately strengthened the company’s portfolio and service offerings. The acquisition will also create many new opportunities for the Atlas agency network to provide warehousing, final-mile delivery and labor services in support of TopHAT.
“There are projections the last-mile delivery market in North America is expected to grow in the ballpark of $51 billion by 2022,” says Wahl. “TopHAT’s well-established home delivery network will allow Atlas Logistics to expand services quickly to seize on a booming market.”
ATLAS® WORLD GROUP INTERNATIONAL
In a short time, Atlas® World Group International (AWGI) has transitioned to an entirely new business model, no longer initiating direct sales but serving as a forwarding center in support of Atlas®` Agents through the Atlas International Partnership Program. AWGI arms participating agents with the necessary support and expertise to service international shipments and storage needs for new and existing Atlas customers. By creating AWGI storefronts in agent markets, AWGI is able to train local teams while coordinating territory marketing for lead generation and sales support in the region.
To date, AWGI has established nine storefronts across the U.S., including Dallas
Imlach Moving & Storage (1132), Detroit
Palmer Moving Services (1641), Nashville
Apex Moving & Storage (0278), New York City
Ace World Wide Moving & Storage (0032), Sacramento
California Moving Systems (0533), Indianapolis
Guardian Relocation (1032), St. Louis
Guardian Relocation (0020) St. Petersburg/Tampa
Spirit Movers (1818), Kansas City
Daniels Moving & Storage (1380) and Phoenix
Daniels Moving & Storage (0875), New Castle
, DE Hopkins and Sons (1102).
“We are thrilled to grow our structure and overall business with the help of our agents,” says Jim Gaw
, President & COO of AWGI. “Together, we’re able to provide the highest quality of international relocation services to clients and customers worldwide. Our goal is to secure 30 agent partners by the end of 2025 to create a robust and industry-leading international moving program.”
With the strategic plan in mind, AWGI has also reengineered its global network and received certification from the prestigious FIDI Global Alliance. As a FIDI Accredited International Mover (FAIM), AWGI has gained access to the organization’s meaningful training resources and approximately 600 affiliate companies to ensure new levels of value-added service. New efficiencies have also been realized following AWGI’s adoption of Moveware
. The platform’s all-in-one-solution brings together every aspect of the international relocation business for AWGI—lead management, supplier management, pricing, finance, claims and operations.
portals put the right tools in the hands of all users—agents, clients and customers alike. Each party can see virtually any piece of the relocation they need to see in real time,” says Gaw.
As AWGI looks to the future and Vision 2025 priorities, continued growth and support of the Agent Partner Program remains front and center. “We are honored to have great agent partners in place with many more on the horizon,” says Gaw.
ATLAS® INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Technology is one of, if not the most, integral components in ensuring Atlas® has the comprehensive software platforms needed to execute strategic priorities while assessing accountability and performance. The Atlas IT approach to strategic priorities has enabled streamlined decision making and prioritization.
In addition to providing the IT infrastructure needed for the launch of Reset
, Atlas IT has committed years of focus to the modernization of AtlasNet®
. As the beginning-to-end move management platform for both Atlas Agents and customers, AtlasNet now proudly boasts two-way texting, video survey and electronic inventory features. “We are committed to presenting a powerful yet uniform front that makes doing business with Atlas convenient and worthwhile. As we know, the more transferees can do digitally is in line with shifting consumer preferences,” says J.J. Mohr
, Senior Director of Information Technology for Atlas Van Lines. “There’s still progress to be made on AtlasNet, but we have exponentially increased our usability to benefit everyone throughout an Atlas move.”
The buildout of Atlas® Customer Portal
, the web-based platform where customers can access Atlas systems all in one place, has been a driving force behind Atlas IT’s strategic momentum. Available to all customers and private clients, users can track orders, pay invoices by credit card (and eCheck for private clients), submit and monitor claims, and view shipment documents within the portal. The increased digital footprint and advancements have allowed for added digital touch points with customers resulting in heightened moving experiences.
“In support of Vision 2025
, our IT plan revolves around the improvement of digital interactions in support of better agent and customer experiences, whether it deals with applications, data flows, customer portal or APIs,” says Schultheis.
CORNERSTONE RELOCATION GROUP®
Cornerstone Relocation Group®’s strategic vision anticipated a marketplace that would increasingly require seamless, consistent worldwide performance. Since the conception of the strategic plan, Cornerstone has built persuasive capabilities as an "anywhere" mobility services partner for agents and clients.
“Over these years, we have taken a phased approach to expanding our contemporary international services without diluting our standards and traditions,'' says Janelle Piatkowski
, CEO of Cornerstone Relocation Group.
“We gained credentials by adding major international clients, and we are now leveraging those accomplishments and high performance by marketing Cornerstone as a distinctive full-service alternative choice.”
CEO of Cornerstone Relocation Group
Just as "a rising tide lifts all boats," Cornerstone’s commitment to global expansion has benefited the entire Atlas® family, especially the team’s employees. “Our strategic growth and diversification has generated advancement opportunities, attractive compensation and desirable career tracks,” says Piatkowski. Atlas Agents rely on Cornerstone for a competitive product array and team of tenured experts.
Looking ahead, Cornerstone is poised to take on broader, deeper engagements and rapid organic growth as scalability potential increases through technology enhancements, global supply chain buildout, and highly
targeted corporate sales.
“As the pace of change accelerates, we realize our vision and strategies cannot be static,” says Piatkowski. “The key to our success will be our ‘on-thefly’ agility at a tactical level as well as creative collaborations with Atlas. We look forward to impressive near-term opportunities arising from ownership and leadership changes at major competitors.”
STRATEGIZING TODAY FOR A BETTER TOMORROW
“We’re grateful for everyone’s relentless focus and flawless execution in support of our shared vision,” says Griffin. “What we have achieved together has undoubtedly inspired the next generation of Atlas leaders and shined a bright light on the entrepreneurial spirit that resides within our organization.”
Many pages could be filled with discussion of momentous progress and achievements in support of Vision 2020
. As Atlas® doubles down on strategic planning and enacts Vision 2025
, one overarching theme remains: What can be done today to ensure a stronger position for all stakeholders tomorrow?