Portal Focus - May/June 2021

FOCUS ON TECHNOLOGY IN THE MOVING INDUSTRY

Adopting Innovation—When is it Right?

By John Krisch, Chief Revenue Officer, Trünk Moves

Technology Partnerships Improve Transparency and Workflow

These days, most businesspeople look up and see a storm coming. If that is true, there are two possible choices: batten down the hatches and ride it out, or set a course for open waters. Most of the time it is best to be conservative. However, if the conditions are right there is opportunity to do things in a new or different way; this is called innovation.


The critical first step is to see if there is a convergence of factors signaling a time for change. Here is what we see in the moving industry: regional public health regulations and restrictions, demand for sustainability in the supply chain from client customers, smaller-sized moves, the global pandemic, increased costs of sea and air freight costs (145-265%+), inventory imbalance of intermodal containers, delays in international shipping, increased cost of wood (160-180%+) and corrugated paper (30-40%+), capacity strains and more. Is the marketplace looking for change?


The next step is to determine how to approach the change. The natural thing is to bring in some outsiders and really shake things up. But Patricia Martin promotes “innovation building on history instead of overturning it.” This is renaissance innovation. In 1956, Malcom McLean launched intermodal shipping containers that quickly revolutionized transport and international trade. By 1967, the U.S. government invited McLean's company to open service to South Vietnam. The international moving industry followed quickly and adopted the change from breakbulk shipping to intermodal shipping containers to service their clients.


To provide a bit more history, there is clear evidence of continued innovation building on a history of containerized shipping and DIY solutions, including Liftgate / Tail Lift (1926), DIY moving truck rentals like U-Haul (1945), Type II / LiftVan (1962), Public self-storage (1964), Relos (mid 1980s), PODS (1998), and certainly more can be added to this list.


Trünk Moves is an example of renaissance innovation that is taking a significant leap in containerized shipping—creating a DIY utilizing the smallest shipping container. In 2015, John Krisch, Darryl Kelinske and Bill Porth were on parallel paths. Krisch was working on a simple ecommerce solution to ship personal effects via parcel. At the same time, Kelinske and Porth had developed a patented, award-winning container called Kübox that allows shipping big, heavy and fragile in the rugged parcel environment. In the midst of the global pandemic, the three founded Trünk Moves to offer a flat rate total shipping solution for people to safely and simply move their essentials where needed.


Despite the name, the founding team at Trünk Moves clearly underscore that they are not movers but do make their offering available to movers interested in adding something new to the toolbox. In a marketplace looking for sustainable solutions, the Kübox Trunk offers a bonus of being reusable.


Krisch shares a recent conversation with Terry Head, Compass Coaching & Consulting and President Emeritus of IAM. “Terry was kind of enough to confirm some historical points of industry adoption which were significant and provided background to the time in which they happened,” says Krisch. “I proposed to Terry while Trünk is a very different solution for small shipping, it clearly is renaissance innovation.”


According to Krisch, Terry confirmed that every technology or innovation was adopted for good and solid business reasons driven by the moving industry’s clientsbe they U.S. government or corporate or private customers. Terry said, “When I first began in the moving industry, the most fragile of items were packed in large wooden whiskey barrels. That’s the history of how fragile and special items were handled by movers. Your containers, in my opinion, harken back to the past, but modernized. I think some of the older movers will still refer to dish pack cartons as barrel cartons and would certainly recognize what you are doing.”


The international moving industry may or may not be slow to adopt what the team at Trünk Moves is offering, but like any other strong industry, they adapt to what their clients say they need. Could Trünk be perfect for military PCS or corporate lump sum or even a solution during this crisis of ocean and air freight and other cost increases in the supply chain?


Remember the critical first step above. If it is a time for change, Trünk Moves is an opportunity for the moving industry to adopt an innovation that builds on the history of the industry. People think that companies innovate to get ahead of the competition, when the reality is that most set a course for open waters simply to keep from falling behind.

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