The online news magazine of Atlas® World Group.
November 9, 2023

A Structure Built On Service

  • Amplifier

It is said that change is the only constant. But for Atlas® Van Lines, which has witnessed many changes within the household goods industry in recent years, change has never been a challenge to be wary of. As a strong company that makes it its business to stay ahead of the curve, Atlas® sees change as an opportunity to move with the times and excel.

“Atlas® learned to operate efficiently and fine-tuned our processes during the pandemic to add more value for our Agents and clients,” says Ryan McConnell, President and COO of Atlas Van Lines. “As things have evolved, we identified the need to align the structure of our company with the market direction to ensure we are supporting it—and our Agents—in the best way from a service perspective.”

Atlas leadership took an assessment of what was important to provide to the Agent network, so they can better serve our customers. That evaluation led to a reorganization initiative at the van line to set Atlas and its Agents up for a restructure for the future.

“If you have a culture of innovation like we do, it does not feel out of place when you go through a restructure. As our processes improve, our service levels improve, allowing for more productivity,” says McConnell. “And as the customer experience goes up, it adds value from beginning to end.” Atlas has already witnessed an increase in efficiencies in areas such as safety and compliance, invoicing, and transparency in how it manages revenue for our Agents, among others. This collaborative spirit gives Agents more time to be in front of our clients, working to gain business and managing our accounts in the way they need to be managed without operational hassle.

“We are very pleased with these changes,” says Terri Palmer, CEO of Palmer Moving Services. “They assist Agents by providing improved clarity and appropriate van line communication, especially as it relates to revenues and contract administration collaboration. Our management and support team in Evansville is key to our success, and the strongest driver of that success is the family culture and commitment to providing excellent service to our customers that permeates throughout our Agent network.”

Palmer is hardly alone in her optimism. Gregg Imlach, owner and CEO of Imlach Group, echoes her sentiments and says the flow of transparent knowledge between Atlas and its Agents is creating an even more robust company. “The restructuring of the departments and streamlining of processes is benefiting the Agent network by providing information more efficiently,” says Imlach. “By working together at the corporate and Agent levels, we are making our service level stronger. I believe the reason behind Atlas’ success is how it takes care of its customers and Agents and sets the highest standards for us all to be the best in the industry. This is beneficial for everyone and is much appreciated on our end.”

As with any strategic action, evaluation and measurement must be employed to ensure the viability of a restructuring effort. There are numerous touch points in place to assess the success of the structure or identify where it needs to be reinforced for optimal performance, including customer surveys and a 10-person Agent committee that provides direct feedback to Atlas leadership.

“You can never replace the data analytics component of what we do, but success takes good people working together in discovery of what is working and what is not,” says McConnell. Thinking again of those ever-changing times, a restructure works best in the era it was created for. But with the strong foundation of Pathways, Atlas’ Strategic Plan, Atlas will be ready to scale and catapult itself forward with talent and technology. “When you look at Atlas® Pathways as it takes shape as the next generation of our strategy planning, any plan we execute going forward must be aligned at the van-line level and with our Agents,” says McConnell.

“This restructuring is a big push for us into the future of our company and where it can grow. It is what will get all of us working together in unison and how we continue to not only succeed, but thrive.”

Vice President of Business Development, Atlas® Van Lines
“As the leader of a diverse range of teams within Atlas®—from Marketing and Communication and Product Management to Pricing and Analytics and Customer Revenue Management—connecting the pieces of the process through our reorganization helps us in a multitude of areas. With the restructuring, we immediately realized duplicate processes and found ways to institute change toward greater efficiency. Hearing firsthand from our Agents that they are benefiting from the improvements made with our service to them shows me this was a successful strategic decision.” 

Vice President of Information Technology, Atlas® Van Lines
“I am proud to lead our highly talented and customer-focused IT team as we provide infrastructure, applications, security, data, and service desk support to our organization and Agents. In 2024, our focus is to modernize our infrastructure and grow the Atlas® Digital Ecosystem with third-party technology partners, prioritize security and data solutions, and continue to invest in data warehouse initiatives through collaborations with our Agents—which we have made great strides in. Technology continues to change rapidly, and the needs and expectations of our customers change with it. Our team, along with our Agents, is ready to meet that challenge to serve our customers securely and efficiently.”

Director of Safety, Atlas® Van Lines
“Moving a Safety representative to the Senior Leadership Team gives Safety and Compliance greater visibility and moves safety from a project to a general course of business. Internally, 2024 will be a busy and exciting year with a Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) revamp and new regulations such as speed limiters and automatic emergency braking systems, plus the implementation of a new drug and alcohol vendor enabling 4,000 e-chain locations nationwide. Additionally, our Professional Van Operator (PVO) files will now be moved to Tenstreet, giving Agents full access to PVO qualification files and providing them a better way to send and communicate vital compliance documents and reminders.”

Sr. Director of Operations, Transportation Services, Atlas® Van Lines
“In my new role, I will be responsible for developing and implementing operational strategy for Atlas® Operations and Claims teams and will focus on finding ways to grow our capacity and deliver exceptional customer service. Operationally, we continue to support Agents in containerization initiatives and are working with IT to design and build tools to increase visibility of booked traffic and available resources. For Claims, we are improving technology to better assess liability, improve Agent and customer responsiveness, and reduce claim settlement timelines. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with my new team to leverage and empower their expertise in the development and implementation of new strategies.”

Sr. Director and General Manager, ATC™
“The van line restructuring has given us a better understanding of our organization’s capabilities and how all departments relate to each other—all ultimately to better serve our customers. As we dissect redundancies and act upon needed change, everyone becomes focused on their respective, consequential tasks that can drive efficiency. Already, value has been brought to the table through new ideas that empower our teams to make decisions based on their knowledge and experience. Everyone’s direct focus on helping others throughout our company, tied to an increased sense of communication, will drive us toward success we never knew could exist.”