And through our free webinar series, we share tips and best practices to propel your mobility program. Our next webinar, on Thursday, October 19 at 1:00pm ET, will focus on household goods (HHG) shipping, truly a topic that can confound even the most seasoned mobility professional.
In anticipation of the big event, we chatted with Kyriako Bouris, VP of Global Transportation here at Weichert Workforce Mobility. Our savvy HHG expert gave us a sneak peek of what he’ll be exploring in the upcoming webinar–from the biggest trends shaping the HHG industry to the make-it-or-break-it factor when choosing a HHG provider. Let’s go!
What’s the number one trend that will have the biggest impact on company HHG programs in 2018?
Kyriako Bouris: The capacity of drivers. In the old days you could get shipments moved. Now you have a limited number of drivers, limited availability, and everyone wants to move the same two and a half months out of the year. It’s very difficult.
Why is there a dearth of HHG drivers?
KB: The American Moving and Storage Association did a study and the average age of a HHG driver is 55. And that was five to six years ago. They haven’t updated that, but it’s definitely older than that. No one wants to be a HHG driver. If you do want to drive, you could get a job with a freight company and you don’t have to deal with customers and you’re home on the weekends and can spend time with your family.
Then you have regulations that are coming into the trucking industry that limit the hours of service. In the old days a driver could spend the day packing and loading his trailer, jump in and drive. Now drivers have to time out. A study found that’s costing an average of two weeks of time a year.
If a shrinking pool of drivers is the big issue, do you envision self-driving trucks will soon be moving HHG?
KB: No. The industry is looking at container programs. It’s similar to international where you pack and load a shipment, put it in a container, and in the States and Canada you have a freight driver move it. The industry is moving in that direction because of the lack of drivers.
Let’s switch gears and talk self-moves. You may be able to save a little but a lot can go south. What’s the biggest self-move tip to keep in mind?
KB: Don’t just focus on cost. And unfortunately that’s why we’re in the mess we’re in. For years on national accounts the focus has always been cheaper is better. You truly get what you pay for. Cutting costs sacrifices quality.
There are a number of HHG providers out there. What’s the golden rule when choosing the right HHG provider for you?
KB: It’s more important now than ever to look at the quality of the provider, and tying into that – the provider’s financial stability. There’s been a lot of consolidation in the industry over the last few years. We’ve seen individual agencies file for bankruptcy and others get acquired overnight. On paper you may think you’re getting a deal but you’ve got to look at the quality of the provider and the total cost.
What’s one thing (or many things!) that differentiates Weichert Move Network from the pack?
KB: We spend a lot of time upfront selecting our supplier partners. We’re not the cheapest and we don’t hide that. We don’t want to be the cheapest. We’re the best quality. In HHG you want to look at how happy the customer is. Do we pick up and deliver on time? Do we have a low claims ratio? Do we have service resolution when there is an issue? With HHG there are always potential issues but we fix them or work to prevent them entirely.
We also treat our supplier partners like true partners. We don’t treat them like vendors. So when there is a service issue they feel obligated to help instead of just wanting it to go away.