Although considered to be the foundational relocation benefit, included in even the most basic policies, household goods shipping and storage (HHG) costs are perpetually under the microscope. Companies understand how critical these services are to their mobile employees — let’s face it, the safe passage of your stuff is paramount in any move — but they’re also forever seeking ways to lower their spend, from do-it-yourself moves with a household goods allowance to reduced shipments with furnishings allowances.
The pandemic hasn’t exactly made the situation any easier. In fact, it’s brought on more challenges:
Of course, these issues are of little importance to an employee asked to relocate; he or she wants everything delivered in a safe and timely manner and a successful employee experience depends on it. For mobility managers, this only adds to internal pressures to contain spend. So where do you start?
Consider the Hidden Costs
Remember that providers are typically asked to quote on costs, not transit times. A less expensive ocean freight rate may come with a significantly longer sailing period, and the household goods arriving at the new home several weeks after the employee. This could lead to an additional month in temporary accommodation, and the unplanned costs that come with it.
Another misunderstood cost is related to “small shipments.” For example, HHG sent via sea in “Less than Container Load” (LCL) shipments consolidate your employees’ goods with other peoples’ LCL shipments in one container. The cost can be lower, but LCLs can slow down the process with delays while waiting for other peoples’ content to fill the container, and a potentially longer inspection at customs as goods are sorted by customer. It’s advantageous to work with a provider who is able to combine shipments within the same container, which results in a lower freight charge and an expedited transit schedule.
Cost Reduction Strategies
With the encouragement and assistance of their employer, relocating employees can reduce the size of their shipments in a way that will contain costs without compromising expectations for a positive experience:
Remember that planning and communication are vital to managing expectations. After all, you may be moving employees who are willing to wait longer for their belongings in order to keep costs low. Offering these employees options like pre-approval for extra baggage while they wait for their shipments can go a long way toward keeping tem happy and productive. It’s a small price to pay now for a better return on your investment later!