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North American Van Lines

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Re: North American Van Lines

Postby ophelia11 » Fri Aug 12, 2005 3:43 pm

Well, you made me laugh out loud Diane; I appreciate the literary humor:)
I was not trying to be deceiving and pretend like it was another person complaining about NAVL. I just figured that my last message which was so long -- was probably the most pertinent to readers, but it would take the patience to read 3 pages to get to that last one. That's why I wasn't so cryptic about my name and the text of the message -- the site wouldn't let me pick ophelia12.
And it has been extended one more time to 8-19 (22 days) according to the online site. Another day down, another day added.
I don't know how many people on this site are having this problem with NAVL, but the supervisor at the local office told me this has been a significant problem with several customers this year. He is dealing with a lot of complaints about significant delivery delays. And I know that you, my dear readers of this thread, will find it hard to believe -- but, he said that I was actually one of the more polite and calm people he has had to deal with. And this is because I finally understood that it is not the local agent's fault. It is the problem of the upper management not running a company well.
Okay, I'm taking another few days vacation from this website, but will post another update in a few days. Hopefully, I will still have my sanity:)
ophelia11
 

Re: North American Van Lines

Postby Fred0844 » Fri Aug 12, 2005 5:10 pm

Well if NAVL has all those people waiting for their goods they are in real trouble, major service failure. I hope they do not all post. Thank goodness I work for the competition.
All joking aside, this is a service failure gone really bad. It is too bad in a situation like this that there is no co-operation between carriers. How many UVL trucks might have passed by with space and could have helped but because of corporate agendas there is no communication.
Fred0844
 

Re: North American Van Lines

Postby Nancy » Fri Aug 12, 2005 5:20 pm

Fred, Does UVL ever have shipments deliver a week late? I thought everyone had such problems this summer. I seriously doubt many UVL trucks are cruising around Massachusetts with empty space!
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Re: North American Van Lines

Postby Fred0844 » Fri Aug 12, 2005 5:40 pm

First if all, I am sure that there are service failures in the system. I believe that it is the way the system in the U.S. is set up. Most agents seem to dispatch their own fleets on their own shipments and then fill with whatever they can find in "open tonnage".

Here is a theoretical. Her shipment is sitting in city A destined for city B. My truck is in A but I have a corporate move going to B. What do you think goes on that truck first. Also do you think I might wait till morning because the warehouse is closed if it might create problems for my other orders on the van.

As a UVL/Mayflower Canadian agent, we work differently. I have 5 trucks on the cross border fleet. All my trucks are controlled by fleet dispatch. they decide which trucks load what. I can request self haul but they have the final say. For example, I have 12,000lbs to go to Trenton NJ. Another agent already has 10,000 load for Trenton. They would give hime my 12,000 and then assign shipments for let's say Boston to my truck. They prioritize the existing shipments for service. It doesn't always work but I believe it is a better system for utilization of resources. I always run loaded and have only been late once this summer (knock on wood).
Fred0844
 

Re: North American Van Lines

Postby firewalker » Fri Aug 12, 2005 10:52 pm

>>It is too bad in a situation like this that there is no co-operation between carriers. How many UVL trucks might have passed by with space and could have helped but because of corporate agendas there is no communication.<<

You know, Fred, you bring up an EXCELLENT point, and something to be considered in remaking the business model for household moving. Last time I traveled to Toronto, we had trouble on both ends of the flight-- going out, storms and weather fronts in the connecting city; coming back, some kind of mechanical problems with the equipment, which may have been code for "not enough paying bodies in seats to buy gas."

On the leg out, the airline strove with all its might to get us on a flight that would get us to Toronto on our scheduled day of arrival, including attempting to transfer us to competing airlines, but the weather being what it was just about everyone was paws-up for awhile. We ended up going the next morning. Coming back, we got to the airport to check in and they immediately re-booked us on a competitor to get us the best possible flight back since they couldn't honor our reservation.

In consequence, even though the plane part of the vacation was a fairly miserable experience, I will certainly book again with the same airline, even though they had problems both ways. They were communicative, courteous, and hard-working in attempting to remedy problems and honor their commitment to the customer, even though that flight must have cost them money both ways and/or contributed nothing to their bottom line.

If the moving industry business model could morph into something more like that, with a "customer service" end and a "process" end, the moving co.s could concentrate on the "customer service" end for marketing and profit margin, and share costs and get economies of scale by cooperating in the "process" end with a big continent-wide dispatch/haul/equipment co-op. It would save money and improve customer service, too.

It might take some time to build up the trust of customers, but if the network was properly set up, it could be plenty reliable.
Cecile
"Moving is like whacking your head against a stone wall-- it feels so good when you stop."
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Re: North American Van Lines

Postby Rick » Sat Aug 13, 2005 12:41 am

Firewalker,

The dinosaur called the moving industry is changing – but very slowly. Unigroup began the metamorphous when it purchased Mayflower. Interstate Van Lines acquired Global Van Lines at a fire sale. Stevens bought Burnham. Allied (SIRVA) followed suit a couple of years later with the acquisition of North American and then took Global off Interstate’s hands.

Today, a significant number of the big 5 van line agents routinely “cross represent” their competitor. Drive down the street and you see more and more mixed units – United tractor, Mayflower trailer. Allied unit is parked at a North American facility but is being loaded/unloaded by a Global crew. Unfortunately, this doesn’t add capacity, just swings market share. The back office consolidations and the economy of scale have produced some dispatch efficiencies but not enough to cope with the loss of drivers since 9/11.

Your suggestions that the moving industry “could concentrate on the "customer service" end for marketing and profit margin, and share costs and get economies of scale by cooperating in the "process" end with a big continent-wide dispatch/haul/equipment co-op” isn’t that implausible.

Look at Transplace.com. Three of the largest, national truckload carriers – Schneider, J. B. Hunt and Werner - decided to pool their financial resources, technology and customer relationships to create an online community of 2400 customers and service providers designed to identify transportation synergies that reduces cost and improves service.

Some van lines do service other carrier tonnage thru tonnage interchange, or 409 agreements. This began in the ‘70s as a “Round Table” agreement where a group of smaller, primarily military carriers decided to interchange DOD traffic to improve their efficiency. Recently the idea has grown with the expanded use of commercial tonnage interchange agreements. Most of the companies that participate are still smaller van lines. North American and Mayflower used to be part of the group until they were acquired by their respective parent companies and were instructed to withdraw. With today’s technology, most of these companies post and update their giveaway lists online at their website.

About the same time that Transplace got started, Stevens Van Lines, a mid-sized Michigan based household carrier, began hosting a “Tonnage Browse” site for the moving and storage industry that allows any mover wishing to post their distressed shipments online in one place for easy access. Using their search tools, users can browse by location, size, direction, date, type of move, state to state, zone to zone, zone to state etc. To exchange traffic, each company must ensure that they have an interchange agreement in place with the participating carriers. Stevens doesn’t administer any of the agreements or ensure compliance. It just hosts the site.

The population of orders is updated as frequently as each participating company downloads their latest list. Even though this free resource has improved the efficiency of a lot of drivers and fleet owners and rescued many customers from potential service failures, it’s effectiveness is compromised because the Big 5 refuse to do business with the smaller, less known carriers.

Most customers don't care what color the box is. They simply want their belongings picked up on time, delivered on time and have little, if any, damage. The moving industry won't be able to develop many synergies until they abandon their quest for market share and accept this simple expectation.
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Re: North American Van Lines

Postby Fred0844 » Sat Aug 13, 2005 4:54 am

I believe the driver's in any of the van lines are probalby the most customer orientated people out there in any industry. The general public, doesn't realize the extent these people will go to get the shipments on time. When the 5 0'clock bell goes off, no matter what the weather, he will keep loading, or driving to try to keep commitments made to the shipper. What is more important, the carrier's DOT safety record or customer satisfaction. All depends on which perspective you have.
Fred0844
 

Re: North American Van Lines

Postby Fred0844 » Sat Aug 13, 2005 5:10 am

Some van lines do service other carrier tonnage thru tonnage interchange, or 409 agreements

Is this not akin to "brokering" or "sub-contracting"? That is something opposed by this board.
Fred0844
 

Re: North American Van Lines

Postby Rick » Sat Aug 13, 2005 9:10 am

It’s a variation on a theme. But no, it’s not the same as brokering.

In a brokerage arrangement, the broker is only required to obtain a Surety bond for $10,000 to allow them to operate with FMCSA approval and obtain a motor carrier identification number. No cargo or auto liability insurance is required. You won’t find brokers listed on the carrier section at SaferSys. You have to search in the License and Insurance section of the website.

An interchange or 409 transportation agreement requires that each of the participating carriers have inter- or intrastate motor carrier operating authority, meet a minimum amount ($100,000 per shipment or load) of auto liability and cargo insurance coverage, show that they operate within the DOT safety guidelines, and have an acceptable SAFER rating. Today most carriers have an umbrella policy of $1,000,000 of insurance coverage.

Most interchange agreements outline standard compensation arrangements, and have strict legal requirements designed to protect the cargo of the customer being transported. The interchange transportation agreement basically allows carrier to exchange tonnage (freight) obtain under their MC operating authority with another carrier that possesses the same authority. The order(s) move under the bill of lading and company insurance of the carrier that it was originally tendered to, not the company providing the transportation.

Yes, it is “sub-contracting” but these agreements meet all Federal, and State DOT requirements for motor carrier operations.

You must be mistaken about this board opposing sub-contracting! There are 6764 posts extolling the virtues of using Broadway Express. Visit BE’s photo gallery and you find them proudly displaying a picture of a Golden Eagle truck in the third row to the far right. GE operates under different MC authority.

While some here find BE above reproach, they do subcontract. Not that this is wrong. Tony and Bobbi used to operate Griffith Trucking as a Bekin’s agency so they have a long history within the moving industry and many contacts nationwide. From time to time, when faced with a potential service failure, or because they don’t have the kind of equipment required to meet their customer’s needs, they have exchanged their tonnage with other carriers. They’ve transported the household goods of a number of van lines customers during this difficult moving season.

Broadway/Griffith has an excellent, experience staff and very good move management processes in place. But so do many other household goods transportation service providers.
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Re: North American Van Lines

Postby MusicMom » Sat Aug 13, 2005 9:45 am

Subcontracting is a necessary evil, but if the company is up-front about it. A customer hires United with the understanding that Mayflower employees may be involved. A customer who hires XYZ Moving, an independant, and gets delivered by ABC Moving with no license and no customer knowledge of the sub-contract, then it's not OK.
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Re: North American Van Lines

Postby Diane » Sat Aug 13, 2005 11:23 am

Rick wrote:Broadway/Griffith has an excellent, experience staff and very good move management processes in place. But so do many other household goods transportation service providers.

Rick, you seem to have a very broad and deep knowledge of the industry. I was wondering what other HHG transporters you would put in the same category as BE with regard to performance. If you would rather send me a PM about it, that would be great too.
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Re: North American Van Lines

Postby Ruges » Sat Aug 13, 2005 6:37 pm

Diane wrote: I was wondering what other HHG transporters you would put in the same category as BE with regard to performance.


I don't think you can acually catagorize any HHG transporter like this. As the best person from one company is not going tobe any better then the best person from anouther company. And the worst person from one company is not going to be any worse then a person from anouther company.

firewalker wrote:If the moving industry business model could morph into something more like that, with a "customer service" end and a "process" end, the moving co.s could concentrate on the "customer service" end for marketing and profit margin, and share costs and get economies of scale by cooperating in the "process" end with a big continent-wide dispatch/haul/equipment co-op. It would save money and improve customer service, too.


If each truck hualed 200 houses and went to the same destination then I am sure the moving industry would not puting 2 contracts on a competitors truck. Not to mention the fact that on airlines there is not a whole lot of difference in quality. You get a seat and maybe some peanuts. Probly would not be very good if the competiors plane they put you on was a cargo carrier.

Plus allot of the shipments that are not getting hualed are the ones that are not paying well. You might think that the $1800 to move your belongings across the US is allot of money. But after the company takes it's portion. The driver pays for his Labor, taxes fuel, parishable moving equipment (shrink wrap and floor wrap) truck, truck repairs, permits, food, and any misc charges. He is putting around $180 in is pocket. And if one thing gets damaged, then he risks taking money out of his pocket to move your stuff. So tell me do you think a competing company would help its competitor to make a risky $180?
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Re: North American Van Lines

Postby Bean » Mon Sep 05, 2005 6:49 pm

Ophelia, any update? Our story is following yours exactly, except we're a couple of weeks behind you.

We used Allen & Coles/NAVL out of Portland, Maine to move to Portland, Oregon. Our original delivery window is scheduled to end tomorrow 9/6, but we were given a new delivery date of 9/19 last week. I'm sure that will change again.

Meanwhile, the people at Allen & Coles are trying to help us out but, same as you, it's the corporate NAVL that's the trouble. Our stuff is still sitting in a warehouse in Maine. Like you, we are frustrated that they weren't upfront with us from the beginning. They knew when they picked up our stuff in Maine that they were already behind schedule, why wouldn't they tell us that so we could have stayed with family longer or made other plans? Now we're stuck in an empty apartment with a 2 year old trying to make things seem as normal as possible.

Ophelia, I'd be interested to know if you have your stuff yet so we can get a better idea of exactly how long this is going to take. Of course after seeing what's happened with Katrina, I'm just thankful we have a roof over our heads and that our stuff is safe somewhere.

Good Luck!
Bean
 

Re: North American Van Lines

Postby Nancy » Mon Sep 05, 2005 6:57 pm

Bean, Her shipment was delivered 6 days late. Since then, she has not given any updates, as often people are just happy to have the experience over with.

Have you inquired with NAVL customer service for a delay claim? You should be able to get them to reimburse a hotel stay or incidentals in your home to make the situation a little more comfortable. You qualify if your shipment weights over 3,500 Lbs. They are not open today, but you can contact them first thing tomorrow. Their number should be right on the top of your Order for Service.

Good luck!
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Re: North American Van Lines

Postby Diane » Mon Sep 05, 2005 7:16 pm

I think Ophelia was picked up on July 30 and she was delivered on August 16. Not too bad, actually, moving south from New England.
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