U.S. DAB Digest May 2024

May 15, 2024

In this Issue:

Transform Your Business with Innovative Practices

May 2024 IAM U.S. DAB Digest

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The DAB Digest is IAM’s monthly newsletter with an exclusive focus on news for U.S. asset-based movers, including independents and van line agents.

Welcome to the May 2024 edition of the DAB Digest! This month, we’re all about innovation and have four outstanding submissions highlighting best practices in this area. We hope these ideas get you thinking of new and better ways to do things that can save money, time, and breathe new life into your business.

Next month’s DAB Digest theme is, “Integrity” and we’re accepting submissions from DAB members and Allies on the impact integrity has on your business. How do you define it? What does it mean to you and your business practices? How does it guide your day-to-day decisions? What challenges or opportunities have you faced? What are some ways you demonstrate integrity in your professional life? How do you communicate your values to your teams and staff? Does your company have a publicly facing mission or vision statement that includes it? Tell us all about it! The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, May 29, 2024.

Innovate Like a Leader

These days, staying ahead means embracing innovation at every turn. And in the moving business, where every box counts and every mile matters, innovation isn't just a buzzword – it's our ticket to making every customer’s move smoother, smarter, and more cost-efficient for them and us.

From high-tech solutions like predictive analytics to ensure items arrive on time, to providing non-traditional moving and storage services, here are some ways we can take the industry to the next level:

Utilize predictive analytics and machine learning algorithms to predict customer demand, optimize truck routing for efficiency, and anticipate potential challenges or bottlenecks in the moving process.

Install portal and dock door scanning devices which are used to track property with RFID tags. One significant advantage of these devices is their ability to bulk scan shipments, minimizing the need for warehouse personnel to be involved in the process. Loading and unloading a truck becomes simpler and the devices significantly reduce errors in data tracking and processing.

Expand beyond standard services by offering your customers non-traditional moving and storage options, like rental or loaner furniture, maid services, carpet and floor cleaning, painting or pressure washing pre- or post-move, and landscaping assistance.

If your company manages a lot of commercial relocations, consider adding lease satisfaction services for commercial customers, including:

  • Office relocation planning
  • Packing and unpacking services
  • Furniture disassembly and assembly
  • Specialty item handling
  • IT infrastructure relocation
  • Storage solutions
  • Providing post-move support

Commit to carbon neutrality by investing in renewable energy sources, carbon offset projects, and sustainable practices throughout the moving process.

Offer clients the choice of reusable plastic totes and other sturdy packing options. Utilize virtual surveys to limit Co2, save on vehicle wear and tear, and fuel costs. Save money on printing by using electronic billing which appeals to environmentally conscious customers and reduces your company's carbon footprint.

Employ innovative sales tactics. They don’t have to be expensive to be effective! Things like dropping off a free moving box when you see a new, “For Sale” sign go up, offering interactive quizzes or calculators on your website to help customers plan their move, and video testimonials from satisfied customers are great ways to market your business without breaking the bank.

In addition, community involvement and sponsorships go a long way towards brand recognition and are excellent ways to build your reputation as a business that cares. For example, hosting a drive for a local non-profit for back-to-school items, winter clothing, non-perishable foods, or developing a hands-on volunteer day helps the community and builds team rapport.

Leverage blockchain technology to securely store and share sensitive information such as personally identifiable information (PII), inventory lists, contracts, and payment transactions, ensuring transparency and reducing the risk of fraud or disputes.

Implement Virtual Reality (VR) simulations for employee training and skill development, allowing crews to practice handling various scenarios in a safe and controlled environment before encountering them in real-life situations.

When we approach business pain points creatively and challenge ourselves to find new and better ways to do things, we thrive. Working together to find innovative solutions, we can propel the industry forward like never before.

Innovating Inventory: Redefining Efficiency and Precision

In the realm of safeguarding against claims, the importance of a defensible inventory cannot be overstated. However, within this vital task lies a less recognized challenge: the risks associated with over-inventorying. Though precise documentation is essential, notating excessive conditions can undermine the integrity of the document. The key lies in finding the delicate equilibrium between being thorough and efficient.

Traditionally, the prevailing mindset among drivers is that there is no such thing as a perfect piece of furniture. Yet, the dawn of innovation calls for a paradigm shift – an embrace of the, "less is more" ethos. Rather than drowning in minutiae, a discerning approach prioritizes identifying significant damages and focusing on items of utmost importance to the customer.

On job sites, where time is a precious commodity, the driver's role in inventory management becomes pivotal. Instead of squandering valuable minutes scrutinizing every item, strategic prioritization is key. By swiftly identifying evident damages and attending to customer-centric concerns, the driver optimizes efficiency without compromising accuracy.

It’s important to understand that the inventory process is the creation of a binding agreement between the driver and the customer, signifying the acceptance of items and their conditions into the driver's custody. Contra proferentem is a legal doctrine that states that ambiguous agreement terms should be interpreted against the party who drafted it. To mitigate risks, utilize multiple location codes (but avoid contradicting locations written in succession) for damage sites and avoid vague descriptors like "SO" (soiled) which contain far too much variance therefore not defensible.

As peak season approaches, the imperative is clear: to innovate traditional practices of inventory management. This entails crafting inventories that are not only fair and accurate but also easily comprehensible to all stakeholders. By leveraging innovation to streamline processes and enhance clarity, we navigate the complexities of inventory management with newfound efficiency and precision.

Seven[teen] Words You Can Never Say (if you want to INNOVATE)

- Sandra Clary, Senior Director of Business Development, Enterprise Data Corporation (EDC)

“Business as usual.”

“It’s always been done that way.”

“I guess we’ll have to live with it.”

With a nod to George Carlin (only in the title!), these seven[teen] words can never be said at Enterprise Database Corporation (EDC) since we’re innovators by design and DNA.

“Business as usual” is never our usual. Innovation here begins in the ideation, design, and development of all our solutions. We invite anyone to suggest an idea for a new product or for additional features within an existing product, such as when movers came to us asking for an easy way to rate against partner tariffs; or those who were concerned about a program requirement for digital inventories; or when the industry requested a better way to interact with the government’s mandated software for their DPS DOD move program; to name a few examples. We also include one-click suggestion forms within our variety of software solutions to make it one-click easy for customers and users to suggest and collaborate.

In addition to gathering broad industry expertise for anything we do, EVERY person on our internal team, regardless of role or tenure, has a voice in features, user experience, applications, etc. We include team members in our regular product review and development conversations, to invite observations and suggestions. We’ve found that innovating by including insights from not only developers and designers, but also bookkeepers, marketers, administrative assistants, salespeople, etc. provides outside-of-the-box ideas and observations that make everything we do better.

“It’s always been done that way” never constrains our EDC team or the tech/software solutions we provide. When we know there should be a better way, when we see more that can be done, when we know “how it’s always been done” is not best, we innovate in going our own way to do and provide better. A great example of this is in our most recent considerations about AI use and integration. You’ve likely heard the chatter surrounding the use of AI within the industry (uploading financials, regulations, employee info, policies and procedures, etc.). We observed that most AIs require that you send private company and client data to a third party to process, which not only puts your data security and privacy at risk, endangering you and your business channels, but also provides your private insights to that third party to learn from and apply to recommendations to other companies who may inquire on similar topics.

We knew there needed to be a better way, so we challenged the, “usual” and, “always” and innovated to design and build a new solution that provides AI, development, and integrated tools for our customers, but doesn’t require that data be sent to third parties, keeps those insights entirely private, and personalizes the experience to the specific customer’s use only. To quote Ol’ Blue Eyes, “We did it our way!” regardless of how others had been doing it.

“I guess we’ll have to live with it” is a surefire challenge to birth amazing innovations. We work hard at EDC to create a culture where employees refuse to accept, “can’t be done” or settle for, “good enough” and that sums up our commitment to the industries and customers we serve. We love to build new and better solutions and to know that we’re making a positive impact for hardworking DABs and those you serve. Here’s to continued partnership as we innovate through avoiding The Seven[teen] Words We Can Never Say!

If you’re looking for innovative products and services, we invite you to check out EDC at edcus.com. Our products include: EasyTariff, which helps movers rate against other carriers’ tariffs; EasyDPS for DOD moves; our newest offering, MERCED, which provides AI, development, and other integrated tools; as well as EDC-MoveStar and more. We’d love to chat about how we can innovate for your business. Please contact Sandra Clary, IAM Premier Member & DAB Ally, at: sclary@edcus.com.

The Power of Telematics: Curbing Rising Insurance Premiums for Commercial Vehicles

- Brandon Laam, Vice President, MOVER’S CHOICE Insurance Program

The Driving Forces Behind Increasing Insurance Premiums

Worsening traffic congestion, the prevalence of distracted driving, and inexperienced drivers due to the labor shortage continue to elevate the risk level for collisions, leading insurers to raise premiums to align with the heightened risk. Compounding that are increasing costs of claims due to inflation, nuclear verdicts, higher vehicle repair costs and medical expenses.

Another significant contributor to rising premiums is the evolving regulatory landscape governing commercial vehicles. With changes in legislation and safety regulations, such as Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandates and Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, movers are faced with additional compliance requirements. Non-compliance with these regulations can result in penalties and increased insurance premiums, as insurers perceive a higher risk associated with businesses that do not adhere to industry standards.

Taking the Wheel on Risk

With the advent of AI-powered telematics in fleet management, commercial vehicle operations and their insurers are among the first to benefit from this advanced technology. By collecting and analyzing real-time data on factors such as speed, braking, acceleration, and mileage, telematics devices provide fleet managers and insurers with a comprehensive understanding of how vehicles are being operated. Dash cams can provide crucial evidence to help determine responsibility for an accident, removing any uncertainty regarding fault and compliance.

Real-time data helps assess risk more accurately, enabling insurers to reward safe driving behavior with lower premiums. It can also be used as an opportunity for fleet managers to offer incentives to drivers who demonstrate safer driving practices. This not only contributes to a decrease in the number of accidents and claims, resulting in long-term cost savings, but also fosters a culture of safety. Business owners can proactively identify areas for improvement, develop targeted driver training, and optimize their operations to minimize risk.

Telematics Put Safety in the Driver’s Seat

The integration of telematics technology offers a compelling solution to the challenge of rising insurance premiums for movers and has already shown strong results in claims reduction for one MOVER’S CHOICE insured. Over a four-year period, Oz Moving & Storage reduced their claims frequency by 59%. “The AI component talks to drivers, identifies distracted driving in real time, and tells the driver to look at the road. If we had known how much of a big game changer this would be for our fleet, we would have absolutely invested in cameras on the trucks sooner,” notes Nancy Zafrani, general manager of Oz Moving & Storage.

As the moving and storage industry continues to adopt this transformative technology, the future looks promising for fewer accidents, reduced frequency and severity of claims, and stable insurance premiums.

MOVER'S CHOICE is an insurance program created exclusively for the moving and storage industry. For more information on our insurance coverages and loss control services, visit www.MoversChoiceIns.com or contact Brandon Laam.

Registration Now Open for FMCSA Online Modernization Stakeholder Day

As IAM previously spotlighted, the FMCSA will host an online Modernization Stakeholder Day on Wednesday, May 29th from 1 to 3 pm EDT. A range of related issues are expected to be outlined and discussed— read more on the IAM website.

Space is limited, so register now to secure your spot.

In Case You Missed it: Spring Clean Your Finances Webinar Available On-Demand

Enhancing your financial security and empowering your team to implement protective measures and negotiate advantageous contract terms can rapidly boost your cash flow. Gain valuable insights from experienced peers, auditors, and industry experts on strategies to take similar proactive steps.

Watch the recorded webinar on IAM Learning.

IAM Annual Meeting & Expo: Take a Sneak Peek at Las Vegas!

Get ready to go “All In” at this year’s IAM Annual Meeting & Expo! We’re bringing energy, networking, and learning to Las Vegas, and you won’t want to miss it. In this video, IAM President Brian Limperopulos shares his vision for the 2024 Annual Meeting.

For more information, register now for the U.S. and DAB / DAB Ally-specific webinar: All In On IAM: Your Annual Meeting Guide on Tuesday, May 28, 2024 at 11:00 a.m. EDT. Brian Limperopulos and Dan Bradley will go “All In” as they discuss what’s new and different for 2024.

News You May have Missed

IAM Training Courses and Free Webcasts

Between free webcasts and specialized courses, IAM Learning is here to help provide you with the knowledge and information to drive the growth of your company. Check out what webcasts and courses are available for you below (most are free):

Free Upcoming Webcasts

Expert Panel on US Clearance & Import Issues

IAM Trusted Community Forum - All In On IAM: Your Annual Meeting Guide

All In On IAM: Your Annual Meeting Guide (US & DAB/DAB Ally)

Globally Connected, Mindfully Stable: Achieving Work-Life Harmony in the World of Moving

Recent Webcasts

Spring Clean Your Finances: A Guide to Mastering Payment Terms and Contract Negotiation Best Practices

Exploring ONE Record: A Hands-On Workshop in Data Exchange

DAB Hour Discussion: Inclusion in the Logistics Community

DAB Hour Webcast: Enhancing Claims Prevention Through Furniture Repair Partnerships: Strategies for Moving Companies

Training Courses Available

Lithium Batteries Transportation Course

Financial Disciplines for Movers

Move Coordination (five courses)

Residential Sales (five courses)