AmplifierHousehold Moving > A Tree Grows in Toronto

A Tree Grows in Toronto



Using a Balanced Scorecard, Atlas® Van Lines Canada pays attention in equal measure to four strategicimperatives: people, customers, financial measures, and internal business processes. To keep the indicators top of mind, placards display the goals for all to see. Managers report and review their progress in weekly meetings. Regular town hall gatherings bring all employees together for updates.  Everyone in the organization is accountable for, and a beneficiary of, the organization’s success.

Change Brings Good Fruit

Imagine an orchard. The trees look strong. All appears well until a storm sets in. Then a drought ensues. The harvest is decimated; workers are sent home.

Such were the conditions Atlas® Van Lines Canada faced three years ago. A sudden loss of the company’s biggest client wrecked market share. Employee ranks were trimmed and new leadership brought in. The first order of business: to create a roadmap for revitalization.

“We implemented a management system known as the Balanced Scorecard,” says Barry Schellenberg, President, Atlas® Van Lines Canada. “It brings the best from each person to the achievement of strategic goals. You might call it a ‘discipline for driving change.’” Developed by management gurus Kaplan and Norton, the system is well known in business circles and has helped organizations in many different industries.

“Our first year, 2015, was devoted mainly to developing the road map and planting seeds for success,” says Barry. “Early on, we saw that our sales competency needed a critical focus.”

An investment in training for sales staff and agency representatives took the company from “order taking” to “order making.” It’s paying off. The conversion rate for incoming sales leads has tripled over the last two years. This new vigor is complemented by a focus on the service experience for customers.   

“Operational excellence is critical for sales,” says Barry. “We had to remove some poor performing entities from our system. Customers have responded favorably, rewarding us with improved survey scores and additional business.”

The push for operational excellence is ongoing. The company is midway through a transition to the Windows-based business systems (AtlasNet®) shared by other Atlas® World Group companies. The changeover is scheduled for completion in 2019.  

Pipeline of Opportunities

To prevent the kind of exposure that hurt the company in 2014, a diversification strategy is bringing new opportunities to the network. The acquisition of Connect Logistics in 2017 complements and expands the company’s service offerings. At the same time, the market is sensing the transformation Atlas has undergone, attracting forward-thinking carriers. “We have a strong pipeline of potential new entities, filled with good prospects for agency affiliation as well as for attribution", says Barry.

“During 2016, you might say we watered and tended the shoots. In 2017, we began harvesting the fruit of our efforts.”

Barry Schellenberg, President, Atlas® Van Lines Canada

Atlas Canada’s strategic roadmap is paying off. Last year, the company grew in corporate and private client household goods moves despite a five percent market contraction.

“Our strategy has meant a cultural transformation for us, challenging but also exciting,” says Fred Haladay, Senior Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer, Atlas Van Lines Canada. “I’ve been with the company 28 years, and it’s refreshing to see the new life in this organization. Everyone likes to be associated with a winner.”

“We expect continuing good growth in 2018, but we’re not taking success for granted,” says Barry. “We’re staying focused on what’s important—and keeping it important.” He adds: “The sparkle had gone from our people’s eyes, but now it’s back. That’s especially rewarding to me.”  


Familiar Themes & Pricing Reset

Ryan McConnell, Vice President, Strategic Planning, and Jeff Schimmel, Vice President, Transportation Services, are key strategists in the effort to optimize sales and profitability for Atlas® Van Lines. In early September, Joe Stackhouse joined the team as the new President & COO. more

Driving Change

Today, the Atlas cooperative is made up of over 400 independently-owned and -operated moving companies throughout North America. Members still commit to one another for the common good. At a time when the industry wrestles with unprecedented challenges, that commitment has never been more vital. more

Agents Lend a Helping Truck

Atlas® Van Lines Agents think ‘the bigger the better’ when it comes to spreading awareness about food insecurity. In partnership with Move For Hunger,™ a nonprofit that encourages donating food instead of moving it, our moving and storage companies are sharing the message from the largest billboards they could find – their moving trucks. more


Atlas Awarded for Giving Spirit

Giving back to local communities is a priority that resonates throughout the Atlas network. At headquarters, the Atlas United Way committee looks for engaging ways to keep the charitable spirit alive among the Atlas employees all year long. more

Atlas Agents Help Students Move Out for Hunger

Atlas Agents are taking their trucks and charitable acts to a higher level – of education, that is. Move For Hunger Director, Adam Lowy, and team, coordinated the first ever Move Out for Hunger food drive, in partnership with Doorsteps and Food Recovery Network. more

Moving Up and Moving Forward

John Lance, NMS Moving Systems, Inc. (2015), was handed a huge honor at the 99th Annual California Moving and Storage Association Convention in Rancho Mirage, Calif., physically and figuratively speaking. more


Atlas is a Friend in Corporate Relocation at SHRM

In fact, the overarching message for Atlas at the SHRM show was to ease customers’ minds about the relocation process. To demonstrate how Atlas PVO’s and pack/load team members are friends that customers can trust with their household belongings, two life-size cardboard cutouts of crew members stood in the booth for photo opportunities, while attendees were encouraged to share their selfies with the hashtag #MyFriendsAtAtlas. more

Sharing the Many Ways to go new places at SHRM

A group of representatives from multiple Atlas Agencies and Atlas HQ trekked to Las Vegas in late June to set up shop at the annual Convention and Expo of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM). In total, more than 630 exhibiting companies filled over 30 aisles with human resource solutions at the Las Vegas Convention Center, making it the largest expo SHRM has ever held. more

Alexander's Celebrates a Big Year in Nashville

In 2015, Alexander's Mobility Services (0217) celebrated 20 years of service in the Nashville area, and they did it in a big way. As the largest multi-location agent in the Atlas family, Alexander's moved their Tennessee operations into a new location on the northwest side of the city. more