It is no secret that recent years have been particularly challenging for the international subsidiaries of Atlas® World Group. It also comes as no surprise that thanks to the strategic leadership and teamwork at both Atlas® World Group International and Champion International Moving, Ltd., each have handled the choppy waters with skill.
And while new obstacles may be clouding the horizon, a sunnier outlook for what lies ahead is finally in the forecast. “There will always be challenges we will need to address in this industry, but when it comes to previous supply chain issues and major delays in shipping, thankfully, we have seen a great amount of relief,” says Rudy Planavsky, President and COO of Champion International Moving.
Release from the supply-chain quagmire that has plagued international relocation is a major positive. Still, current volatility revolving around the housing market and economic stability pose new obstacles to overcome. But this time, leadership is prepared with knowledge and experience.
“There is a lot of appreciation for the easing of the supply chain, but now that has been supplanted with a combination of rising home prices and interest rates,” says Nathan Zyduck, Atlas World Groupʼs newly minted Chief Strategy and Development Officer and SVP for Atlasʼ International. Another issue? Generational trends in moving habits.
Both Planavsky and Zyduck agree they have witnessed younger consumers embrace a less-is-more mentality around their belongings in contrast to older generations who carried their belongings with them over decades. “That shift has changed buying patterns substantially and reduced the volume and weights of shipments, which translates to smaller shipments for us and impacts our business overall,” says Zyduck.
So, what do our international leaders do? Sit back and wait to see how the scenario plays out? Hardly. “We want our organization to have a better time in 2024 than what they have seen through the pandemic,” says Planavsky. “Last year was good. This year will be good. With a steadying housing market and current predictions of lowered interest rates in the future, we have things to be excited about. Now, we are looking at ways to increase our efficiencies and steer ourselves where we need and want to go.”
To meet the demands of modern digital-first consumers, Planavsky and Zyduck are both focusing on one key element to help them meet their strategic goals—artificial intelligence (AI). Champion fields a plethora of questions regarding the minutiae of international relocation, and the company is testing ways to use AI to help provide those clients with the details, paperwork, and resources they need without the necessary manpower, allowing its teams to focus on other facets of developing business.
Planavsky says Champion is hoping to start the process on the private client side to allow those clients to engage as much or as little as they prefer with digital customer service and then assess the success of that experience as it progresses. PHIL WAHL President & COO Atlas Logistics® International subsidiaries can finally hit the gas. Making Moves in Global Mobility At Atlas International, Zyduck and the IT team are examining how to collaborate with software partners to leverage technology in ways that can augment their people—not replace them.
Says Zyduck, “It is a myth in the market that we are going to replace everyone with AI. For me, it is a way to enhance our people to become more efficient in their service and gives them a competitive advantage against our competitors in terms of pricing, the quoting process, or planning shipment timelines. Technology is a tool for our people to leverage and create better outcomes for our customers.”
Atlas International is also evaluating how it can broaden its service offerings from the traditional relocation logistics of moving household goods and determine if there are new prospects to move other types of goods. “We continue to look for other opportunities in the marketplace that might provide additional revenue streams for us, whether that be commodities or specialty products,” says Zyduck.
Looking ahead, both gentlemen share an optimistic perspective for their respective subsidiaries and the entire enterprise. “We need to weather this economic funk we are in and see some light at the end of the tunnel, but I think we are beginning to see that,” says Planavsky. “Eventually these recession fears will recede into memory, and we will get to a point in 2024 where things start to feel like they are back to normal—whatever normal looks like. My hope is that with all the exciting new ways we are adapting our business models, we will help shape that new normal for our organization and industry.”