Selecting LTL Freight Carriers: What You Should Know

Many companies today turn to LTL freight carriers to help streamline operations and reduce shipping costs. But unless you go through a freight broker, how do you know how to select the best LTL carrier for your shipping needs?

Virtually anyone with a truck and trailer can transport freight, but choosing a cheap, unauthorized carrier without proper insurance could result in costly expenses including damaged or lost/stolen shipments, late or non-delivery, and/or overcharges. Therefore, you need to do a little research. The time you spend checking out carriers will be minimal, and afterward you can feel confident the one you select is more likely to provide the cost-effective, professional shipping services you need when you need them.

What You Want From an LTL Carrier

When selecting an LTL freight carrier, you want a company you can rely on to pick up and delivery your shipments on time, in full, with no shortages or damages. You want professional customer service and competitive pricing. When selecting the right carrier, you can expect it.

Below are a few things to consider that will help you select the right freight carrier for your shipping needs.

Verify LTL Freight Carriers are FMCSA Compliant

The first thing you will want to do before contracting with an LTL freight carrier is verify legal compliance. Authorization by the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) is required before freight carriers can transport goods for hire. The USDOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ensures carriers meet regulatory standards and carry the minimum amount of insurance required.  The carrier should have a USDOT and an MC number (operating authority).

You can verify a freight carrier’s compliance through the FMCSA’s Safety and Fitness Electronic Records (SAFER) System online. Simply enter the carrier’s USDOT, MC/MX number or company name in the box provided and click ‘Search.” If a record is available, it should show the company is authorized for hire, the type of cargo the carrier can transport, whether transportation is permitted interstate or intrastate, plus inspection and crash data. If your shipment includes hazardous materials (HM), verify the carrier is authorized to transport it.  After reviewing the data, click at the top right under “Other Information for this Carrier” to see licensing and insurance information.

A licensed and insured LTL carrier in compliance with FMCSA regulations indicates the carrier is professional and reliable. If the carrier is not, look for a different one.

Rely on Companies with Industry Experience

Companies in business for a long period of time have learned through the years how to transport shipments safely and efficiently. They consistently meet deadlines and are experts at cost-effective transportation. They know how to train their staff, and have the equipment and resources to do a job right as quickly as possible. They provide quality services with professional customer service. Otherwise, they would not last in the business.

When choosing an LTL freight carrier, consider the company’s history as well as their other clients. You can also ask for references.

Can You Track Your Shipments?

The LTL freight carrier you select should be able to keep you informed on where your freight is at all times. Ask about shipping status updates and online tracking.

Do You Need Warehousing & other Logistics Services?

Your company may need an LTL freight carrier to pick up shipments, a warehouse to store goods and merchandise after pickup, a crew to pick and pack, and then a carrier to provide final delivery services as scheduled. Some LTL freight carriers such as Chipman Relocations can provide all of these logistics services and manage them efficiently.

Whether you ship regionally or across the country, Chipman can provide the quality logistics services your company needs at a competitive price. Contact us today to learn more.

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FF&E Logistics for Successful Hotel Renovation Projects

When planning a hotel renovation, the company you select to provide FF&E logistics services will play a key role in operational efficiency and a successful renovation project. From service reliability and attention to detail to project management with time sensitivity, the right hotel logistics services help ensure your renovation project remains within its budget and timeline with minimal disruption.

Begin your search for a logistics solutions provider during the early planning phase of your hotel renovation project. Ideally, the company you hire can properly handle the full logistical needs of your project, from packing and storage of current furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) to freight management, delivery and installation of any new FF&E merchandise.

FF&E Packing & Storage

Before work can begin, the rooms and public spaces scheduled for renovation should be stripped. You will need a professional crew to pack and store all of the furniture, fixtures and equipment. A delay in removal delays construction work, putting the renovation project behind before work even begins.

The hotel logistics provider you select should be able to take care of the FF&E packing and storage for you in a timely manner.

Managing FF&E Logistics

Ideally, you will have the FF&E scheduled for removal fully inventoried and procurement of new merchandise handled well in advance. With a boom in hotel renovations, lead times for FF&E products are longer than usual, so strategic planning is necessary to ensure timely and cost-effective delivery of new merchandise.

The hotel logistics provider you select should be capable of properly handling many of the details for you, from strategic planning to inbound freight management, warehousing, delivery and installation. The company should make it possible for you access inventory and tracking data, which can be helpful in making scheduling and construction-related decisions, and assist in coordination of any necessary scheduling changes.

You will want a trained white-glove crew to ensure timely installation of your FF&E in flawless condition without damage to your facilities. The right FF&E logistics company will provide one.

Chipman the Preferred Provider of FF&E Logistics Services

Chipman Relocations, a trusted industry leader in business for 75 years, is ready to serve as your preferred provider of FF&E logistics services. Offering detailed project coordination, quality transportation, short and long term warehousing, and streamlined installations, Chipman can provide the comprehensive and cost-effective FF&E logistics services your hotel renovation needs. Contact Chipman for additional information and to discuss your logistical needs.

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Top 5 Mobile Apps for Warehousing and Logistics and Trucking Professionals

Top 5 Mobile Apps for Warehousing and Logistics and Trucking Professionals

The right mobile application can make a world of difference for warehousing and logistics professionals who rely on smartphones or tablets to help them do their jobs.

Whether it’s your phone’s GPS that safely guides you to an unfamiliar location, or a well-integrated note-taking app that keeps all your spare thoughts conveniently in one spot, there’s an app to help get you through even the toughest of daily tasks.

Here’s out top 5 mobile apps for making your warehousing and logistics or trucking job more organized, efficient, and convenient.

1. Logistics

If you’re looking for a free app to manage all of your warehousing and logistic needs, look no further than the simply named Logistics.

Track drivers, vehicles, shipments, and clients in this all-in-one app. (Have we mentioned it’s free?) If you need help juggling your warehousing and logistics operation, this tool can connect all the links in the supply chain.

2. Scandit

Turn any phone into barcode scanner with Scandit. Don’t rely on older, cumbersome scanners for another minute. Scandit’s capabilities far outpace anything we’ve ever seen.

No need to focus the camera, Scandit will grab a QR or barcode almost immediately from any angle. Low light? No problem. Curved labels? Done.

Seriously, this thing can handle whatever you throw at it. Scandit also has cross-platform scaling functionality so the data can be accessed by anyone with a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

3. Evernote

While not specifically designed for the warehousing and logistics field, Evernote is a regular atop many best app lists. It’s free, simple, and there’s no productivity app that comes close to its utility.

Evernote is on every mobile platform and is fully integrated into all major web browsers. Use this virtual notebook to take notes and create to-do lists or use its voice recording technology to dictate ideas on the fly.

4. CoPilot Truck

Every captain needs a co-pilot. For a professional truck driver, CoPilot Truck is an easy to use app that offers vital turn-by-turn navigation.

Unlike standard car navigation tools, CoPilot Truck creates efficient routes based off of dynamic information: routing parameters, load type (including hazardous materials), and truck height and weight. CoPilot Truck definitely helps you get from Point A to Point B in a connected world.

5. GasBuddy

When you’re driving a semi 1,000 miles, you burn a lot of diesel. Saving a few cents per gallon goes a long way to minimizing costs.

The free GasBuddy app makes refueling a pain free experience by directing you to the cheapest gas station in the area. The app compiles information from a large user base to accurately track gas prices at thousands of stations across Canada and the United States.

Is there another vital app or program that you depend on for warehousing and logistics or trucking? Feel free to weigh in on the comments below.

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The Award for Distinguished Woman in Logistics Goes To…

Women Recognized in Professional Logistics Services

The Women in Trucking (WIT) association in April announced the creation of a new award designed to highlight the growing influence of women in the field of professional logistics services.

The Distinguished Woman in Logistics award was officially launched during the Transportation Intermediaries Association’s inaugural Great Ideas Conference & Exposition held from April 9–12 in Tucson, Arizona.

The award, announced during the conference’s Women in Logistics session, is a reflection of the growing gender equality in professional logistics services, which includes third-party logistics, supply chain management, warehousing, and shipping.

The Distinguished Woman in Logistics award is just one of many industry honors now given women in the field of professional logistics services.

The WIT also recognizes women in logistics with the Influential Woman in Trucking Award, launched in 2010. The award recognizes the long term achievement of “women who make or influence key decisions in a corporate, manufacturing, supplier, owner-operator, sales, or dealership setting.” The honoree “must have a proven record of responsibility and have mentored or served as a role model to other women in the industry.”

Organizations like Achieving Women’s Excellence in Supply Chain Operations, Management, and Education (AWESOME) and Women in Logistics UK also seek to reward excellence and acknowledge the dedication and impact of women in this traditionally male-dominated industry.

The contributions of women in logistics were also recognized at the fifth annual Salute to Women Behind the Wheel event honoring female professional drivers. The event took place during the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, KY and was open to female professional drivers and their immediate families.

Every award and event honoring women represents a steady drum beat of change in professional logistics services.

If you want to recognize a female leader in logistics, the nomination process for next year’s Distinguished Woman in Logistics award is open until October 31, 2014. Guidelines and nomination procedures can be found at: www.tmwsystems.com/LogisticsWomanAward.

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A Glimpse into the Future of Logistics and Warehousing

The Future of Logistics and Warehousing

Every industry vertical has adopted computing and communication advances to create a more streamlined, efficient system including logistics and warehousing. While some fields have been quick to adopt global communication and processing technologies, logistics and warehousing has seen a slower adoption rate.

Successful logistics and warehousing operations must run like clockwork in order to be reliable and profitable. However, we now live in a world in which clockwork is no longer the standard. By connecting trucks, warehouses, and offices with cutting edge technology, we can be smarter and more efficient.

Sometimes the best way to identify future trends is to look at the priorities of industry leaders. In logistics and warehousing, FedEx is leading the way in innovation and implementation.

A Glimpse into the Future of Logistics and Warehousing

That’s why the industry took notice when they dedicated over 50 employees and 2 years to develop their new Equipment Detection, Event Notification (EDEN) system.

This dynamic, automated system integrates information from trucks, warehouses, and offices so that all links in the supply chain have accurate information. FedEx expects EDEN to increase efficiency across their fleet, saving more than $9 million annually.

By installing GPS and on-board computers to their fleet of ships, the EDEN system automates dock and warehouse management based on up to the second information. When trucks arrive to a warehouse, the EDEN system knows which docks are occupied and can send it to the right door.

Meanwhile, dock workers will know where the truck is coming and exactly how much freight is on the truck. Simultaneously, supply chain managers can access this information, track trends, and implement improvements based on a comprehensive analysis of information provided by the EDEN system.

The Modern Warehouse

The future of logistics and warehousing is finally being realized. Tight integration between all elements of the supply chain can provide insights that will make the entire process more efficient.

The modern warehouse relies on highly evolved automation technologies, integrated communication platforms, and a hyper efficient supply chain. At Chipman Relocations, we are building toward the future, which is why we work closely with our business partners to understand their logistics and warehousing needs.

Contact Chipman for an estimate or call us at (866) 513-3359 to learn what we can do for your business.

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Moving a Server Room During Business Relocation: Expert Interview With Mark Leary

When you’re moving a business, it’s important not to overlook your digital infrastructure. If something goes wrong when moving servers to a new location, delays or damage could sideline your company.

Earlier this week we sat down with IT guru Mark Henderson Leary, vice president of Aldridge, a Houston-based managed IT services company, to discuss the unique challenges with moving a server room.

Companies looking to relocate are often faced with specific concerns when it comes to moving servers to a new location. What’s the first step?

Mark: Moving servers to a new location is a very a complex procedure because moving a company and its digital infrastructure poses a unique set of obstacles. The way I see it, there’s really two facets to the move: the physical move and the information move.

I really can’t underscore enough that you need to have a plan. With so many moving pieces, something will invariably not work as it should and when that happens, you need to know what you’re going to do in order to minimize down time.

With that in mind, the first question that needs to be asked is “How much down time can you afford?” If your business is able to shut down the servers on Friday afternoon and be offline until Monday morning, that’s ideal. With a full weekend, you should have sufficient time to move anything that doesn’t require a large amount of time to set up or install. That way you have the luxury of being able to reuse all major pieces of equipment.

However, for those companies that can’t afford to be offline for an extended length of time, the question shifts to “How much infrastructure am I willing to duplicate in the name of a smooth transition?”

Some systems can’t be moved because that means they’re off and if they’re off, the company isn’t doing business and that might not be an option.

Would you recommend companies use this transition to move their infrastructure to the cloud?

Mark: When you talk about the cloud, things can get tricky, because what does that even mean? There are several different levels of cloud dependency. Does that mean you have your email in the cloud? Does it mean you have your entire infrastructure in the cloud? Does it mean that you have your phone system in the cloud, in addition to your files, applications, emails, and everything else?

Answering these questions is critical because even if you’re 100 percent in the cloud, there’s still physical stuff in your office. There’s a computer and phone on your desk and some hardware in a wiring closet. That stuff has to be addressed, but it’s really simple. If you’re down to the bare necessities and the rest of your infrastructure is in the cloud, then you’re probably pretty close to being ready to go. You’d be able to set up the equipment in the new office and have it waiting for you when you get there. Everybody could literally walk in and plug in their laptop and phone and it’s off to the races.

If you’re a company that’s planning a move and considering upgrading your infrastructure to be more cloud based, that’s a great idea, but that conversation needs to start anywhere from three to six months out. Three months is about as tight as I would want that.

However, you can get cloud backup running in 30 days. Cloud email is a similar deal, but if they’re talking about the core of their infrastructure to the cloud then we need to have that conversation three to six months in advance and talk about what that plan looks like. Ultimately, the cloud dramatically simplifies a move.

Turning back to the physical move now, do you have any advice for businesses that are looking to move physical servers?

Mark: The simplest advice is often the best: only move stuff that has to be moved. It’s a cost-benefit analysis; if it didn’t cost anything you could just set up everything brand new, test it in advance, and then just flip a switch during the move.

Unfortunately, most of us don’t have unlimited funds at our disposal, so we have to move really valuable equipment. This is why it’s important to pick the right movers. As you’re planning for the move, you want to make sure things are on schedule and on budget, with minimal downtime.

The main thing is experience in moving a server room or moving high-value infrastructure. You can’t simply unplug servers, throw them in the back of a truck and reconnect them in a new location. You need to make sure you work with somebody who understands the ramification of moving such sensitive equipment, someone who is bonded and insured properly for that type of stuff.

These sound like obvious points, but I’ve seen what happened when an off-brand moving company moved a company’s servers and over $350,000 worth of equipment literally fell off the back of the truck. It was a disaster.

What do you look for in a company for this sort of move?

Mark: Proper transportation, knowledge, and skill are key. Certain precautions should be taken to transport electronics like special packing and a controlled transit to keep the equipment safe. But it’s a sliding scale. I would say that if you’re a small business you do what you can afford. If you’re a big business you better have somebody with some credentials who can demonstrate they’re good at moving servers to a new location.

Do you have any experience with a move that’s gone wrong?

Mark: Yes. In fact, here’s a nightmare story. We had a client who didn’t have any organization on their side of the move. They had an office administrator in charge of moving their equipment and they were moving their entire office across town. For some reason they thought it made sense to move over the course of a week. Everything was done piecemeal, which is pretty abnormal.

They hired some moving company that misunderstood every direction possible. We had labeled the equipment and told them not to take anything out of these racks because everything that needs to be removed has been removed. When we got to the new site everything had been taken out of the racks and stacked all around the room. Nothing was in the spot where it was supposed to be. We had to spend four or five days trying to get it back up. They were down for almost a week, not doing business, and paying us the full billable rate while we pieced it back together. They ended up with more than $14,000 in overage bills and this was a very small company.

It just goes to show that if someone on the client side doesn’t know exactly what they’re looking at and can’t manage the relocation of a box from one site to another, or tell the movers exactly where things need to go, there will be trouble. There needs to be someone that can step in and do that. It could be a vendor of some kind, as long as it’s someone who understands the ramifications and can really project manage that move down to the last cable.

How do companies that are moving a server room avoid such a disastrous experience?

Mark: It’s a common scenario to shut a server down with no issues, put it in a car, gently drive across town, put it back in the rack, and it just won’t come on. That happens.

I would say the majority of the moves I’ve been a part of have gone fine, but in that same majority there’s always one little thing that is unexpected; one hard drive didn’t want to spin up and one network card died, whatever the case may be. What’s important is being ready for that inevitability and making sure there’s a contingency plan built into the move.

If you sit down with the moving company and they can’t explain to you what their process is, or if they don’t have a technical team that understands, that’s a big red flag. Your IT folks need to feel very comfortable with what they’re being told, and what the timing is going to be like. There should be some specific requirements. If you’re a moving company and you tell me that you’re going to savvy enough to move 20 different servers, I expect you to ask me some questions that I might not be able to answer at first. That’s important.

So when something goes wrong, if you lose a server, now what? How do I get it back? Say the server stays offline and it’s dead and it’s not coming back. I’ve got that backup, but what do I do with it? Do we need to test it? Do we need to be sure I can restore that data? How many hours will it take to restore that data? If the server dies Sunday night when we’re putting it online and Monday morning we’re supposed to do X, but it’s going to take two to three days to restore that server, what’s that going to mean?

To have a clean move, you have to know the answer to these questions before anything gets moved.

About Mark Henderson Leary

Mark is vice president of Aldridge, which specializes in providing managed IT and cloud computing solutions for small to midsize businesses. Founded in Houston in 1984, Aldridge provides a broad range of outsourced custom IT services for clients across the nation.

 

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Moving a Business: When Is the Best Time to Relocate?

Commercial moving can be a stressful event, especially if there’s undue interruption to your business. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are a few pointers for scheduling your office move during the times of year that affect your business the least.

Moving a Business: The Best Time of Year

The best time of year for moving a business depends on a couple of factors, namely what sort of business considerations you’re facing and what the weather might be like.

Business Considerations, Part 1

Simple business considerations may have more to do with determining when to move your business than anything else. After all, if you’re in the hospitality industry, and summer and spring break vacationers represent your highest sales volume, then you probably want to avoid moving during those seasons. In such cases, moving a business during the fall or winter instead would almost certainly make more sense.

On the other hand, if you’re in the retail industry, and the holiday season between November and January is your busiest time of year, you’d obviously be better off moving during a period of lower sales volume.

And, if you’re a project-based company, like an engineering firm or a company that requires industrial moving, you’ll want to schedule your move far in advance and do your best to schedule your move around expected start and finish dates of major projects.

Any company considering relocation should consult key stakeholders for important sales volume and workload issues that need to be taken into account.

What’s the Weather Like?

Believe it or not, weather also plays a crucial role in determining when you should move your business. Inclement weather can cause unforeseen and unavoidable delays in packing, transporting, and unpacking. For example, ice or snow — in your departing city, en route, or in your destination city — can cause road closures, accidents, severe traffic, or slow driving conditions. Any one of those issues by itself could cause delays that ultimately affect the operation and performance of your business.

For best results, schedule your move based on what part of the country your business is located and where you’re moving. For example, if your business is in the Northeast, Northwest, or Midwest, you may want to try and avoid the snowy winter months and perhaps even early spring. Or, if you’re along the Gulf Coast or Atlantic Coast, avoid scheduling a move during hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30.

Moving a Business: The Best Days of the Week

Just like choosing the best time of year for moving your business, the key to determining the best days of the week for relocations requires you to take into account some basic business considerations.

Business Considerations, Part 2

For some companies, considering sales volumes when moving a business means more than choosing a season, it means drilling down to specific days of the week. For example, a retail business that records most of its register transactions on Saturday and Sunday will likely want to schedule a move between Monday and Thursday during a slow month.

For other companies not open or conducting major business on Saturday and Sunday, a weekend move might make a lot more sense.

Again, you’ll want to reach out to key stakeholders in your business for specific information to nail down specific days of the week for moving your business.

Whatever You Do, Plan Ahead With Your Commercial Mover

If you’re moving a business, we’re pretty sure you’re not shooting from the hip at the last minute. In fact, the companies that pull off the smoothest and least stressful moves are the ones that develop a detailed plan with their commercial movers far in advance of their expected move date.

If you don’t plan far enough ahead, you may have to settle for a part of the year or time of the week that isn’t ideal. That’s not the end of the world, of course. Successful office moving takes place throughout the year, regardless of the season or the weather. That said, when it comes to moving a business, the early bird gets the worm.

 

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Moving an Office – Disposing of Old Office Furniture and Computers, Part 2: Computers

When it’s time to move office locations, finding smart ways to dispose of old office furniture, computers, and other office electronics can prove to be a logistical mess. This can be especially true if you don’t want to pay to have your old stuff packed up and moved or you plan on getting new computer equipment and new furniture delivery and installation at your new office.

However, if you do it right, disposing of old office furniture and computers can end up being a stress-free experience. For part two, we talk about the four steps involved in properly disposing of old office computers and electronics. Make sure you backtrack to part one for tips on disposing of old office furniture.

Step 1: Make a Complete Inventory of Your Company’s Computers and Electronics

Similar to the process for disposing of old office furniture, the first step in properly ridding your company of old computers and electronics prior to a commercial move is to make a comprehensive inventory of what you’ve got, what you’re taking with you, and what you’d like to dump.

Your list should include everything:

  • Computers
  • Computer cables, wires, and other connections
  • Cell phones
  • Landline phones
  • Copiers and printers
  • Fax machines
  • TVs and DVRs
  • Stereos

Just like with office furniture disposal, assign one person to create and record the inventory. For larger companies, use one person per floor to collect the information and another person to combine it all in a spreadsheet or database.

Once you have a complete inventory of all the computers and electronics that you want to get rid of, you’re ready take the next step.

Step 2: Identify Everything on Your Inventory List That Is Hazardous or Data Sensitive

Now that you have your completed inventory, you need to go through it and determine which items are hazardous and which are data sensitive.

We’ll make that first part easy: everything that we outlined on our list in Step 1 contains some amount of toxic materials. Under no circumstances should you throw any of it in the dumpster. Instead, make sure you follow our instructions in Step 4 for responsible disposal.

The second part’s not as easy. Since many of your old computers and electronics contain sensitive business information – especially computer hard drives – you’ll want to wipe your data clean before proceeding to Step 4.

Step 3: Nuke All Your Sensitive Data

Follow these instructions for nuking all the sensitive business data that’s on the computers and electronics you plan on chunking before moving your office:

Computers

While you can purchase some fairly inexpensive software that will clean your hard drive, you’re better off not relying on software like this for your data security. After all, a determined bad guy might know ways to get past the basic surface wipe and access remnants of your data that are buried a little deeper.

For the best, most secure destruction of business information, including extremely sensitive data like bank records and passwords, we recommend that you actually take the hard drives out of your computer and physically destroy them before selling, recycling, or donating the rest of the machine.

Printers and Copiers

The guts of printers and copy machines have hard drives that store digital copies of the documents they print. It would be best if all that data were wiped before you dispose of the machines.

While user manuals might have an entry on wiping hard drives and third-party software can be installed that promises to do the same, as with computers you’re better off removing the hard drive and completely destroying it. Unless you’re leasing the machine, of course. In that case, talk to the company you lease from about how your data will be erased.

Cell Phones

To wipe a cell phone, consult the owner’s manual or search online for memory-wiping instructions. Then remove the SIM card and destroy it.

Step 4: Responsibly Resell, Return, Recycle, or Donate

Now that all your information is secure, you’re ready to responsibly dispose of your old office computers and electronics by reselling, returning to the manufacturer, recycling, or donating to a charitable organization.

Note: Unlike furniture, computers and electronics don’t hold their value, especially if they become obsolete. In most cases, trying to make money off old office computers and electronics prior to your office move won’t yield the same payday as it might with furniture.

Resell

Auction services, auction websites, online classifieds, and resale stores might make sense for disposing of your old computers and electronics. The financial benefit can be high, but there’s usually a higher level of effort required to pull it off successfully.

Return

Some computer and electronics manufacturers and retailers, such as Apple and Best Buy, have programs that take back equipment and recycle it safely. Major cell phone carriers also have similar programs, which either dispose of your phone properly or donate it to charity for you.

For more information on take back programs, visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s website at http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/materials/ecycling/donate.htm.

Recycle

Electronics recycling, or e-cycling, has come into its own. There are a lot of companies across the nation that recycle old computers and other electronics for free. Pick-up and drop-off arrangements might be a little tricky, but there are usually plenty of drop-off locations around major cities and you might even be able to schedule a pick up for heavy items.

For more information on e-cycling companies, check out the Better Business Bureau’s website at http://www.bbb.org/us/bbb-accredited-businesses.

For more information on state e-cycling programs, visit the EPA’s website at http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/materials/ecycling/live.htm.

Donate

You can always skip these other methods and simply donate all your old computers and electronics to a worthy cause. Schools, charities, and community organizations can almost always use your gifts, especially computers, phones, and printers, even if they are a little outdated. Just make sure they’re in working condition when you donate them. And talk to your company’s accounting department, as donations are tax-deductible.

As you can see, there several ways to properly and securely dispose of old office computers and electronics. If you haven’t read it yet, circle back to part one to get some good, and profitable, ideas for disposing of old office furniture.

If you have any advice to add, or stories about how your company handled computer and electronics disposal prior to a move, feel free to let us know.

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Moving an Office – Disposing of Old Office Furniture and Computers, Part 1: Furniture

When it comes time to move office locations one of the biggest logistical headaches can often be what to do with your old office furniture and computers. That can be especially true if you don’t want to pay to have your old stuff moved or are going to be getting new furniture delivery and installation at your new location.

Thankfully, finding a good way to dispose of old office furniture and computers doesn’t have to be such a headache. In fact, there are some pretty good ways to make disposal work to your advantage.

For part one, we delve into specific information for making the best out of old office furniture disposal. Come back and check out part two for tips on disposing of old computers.

Make a Complete Inventory of Furniture

The first step in disposing of old office furniture prior to a commercial move is making a comprehensive inventory of what you’ve got and what you don’t want to take with you. Include everything: desks, chairs, lamps, tables, cubicles, cabinets, and so on. The more accurate your inventory, the better you’ll do later on in the furniture disposal process.

To create and record the inventory, put one person in charge of collecting the information. For larger companies, put one person in charge for each floor in your building and have another person combine all of the lists together in a spreadsheet or database.

Once you have a complete inventory of furniture, you’re ready take the next step.

Sell to Your Employees First

Don’t overlook your employees when it comes to disposing your company’s old office furniture. Before you move your office, consider selling your old furniture to your employees at a discount. For example, some employees may like their office chairs and might pay $20 to take one home. Others could use a filing cabinet or a desk for a home office or study.

Offering to sell old office furniture to your employees at a discount is a win-win situation. Not only will it create an immediate revenue stream, it will demonstrate goodwill and ensure some of your furniture gets taken away for free.

Just make sure you update your inventory list during this stage so you can have accurate discussions with resellers, recyclers, and donation organizations as you continue your disposal process.

Sell to Used Furniture Shops Second

After you give your employees first crack at the furniture you want to dispose of, reach out to used furniture shops to sell the rest. At this point your inventory list should be updated so you’ll be able to have an accurate discussion with the reseller.

Not only will office furniture shops buy your old office furniture, many of them will also remove it for you, for a price. Normally a reseller will want to stop by your building and make their own inventory list, which you can compare to your own list during negotiations.

Try to negotiate a lump sum for everything you don’t want. That way you can sell all your furniture, and get all of it hauled away, instead of just certain pieces.

Recycle for Cash and Possible LEED Points

Recycling your old office furniture can be a worthwhile option if you’d rather not deal with a used furniture store. Since office furniture contains materials that may have value to a recycling center, including plastic, metal, wood, and cloth, you may be able to get cash for it.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering recycling office furniture:

  • As a rule, less than 1/10th of one percent of office furniture can’t be recycled, so you should be in good shape when negotiating
  • Make sure that the office furniture inventory you build at the beginning of this process records a list of materials your office furniture is made of; a recycling center will need that information to accurately estimate the value of your furniture
  • Be mindful that the recycling center’s fees for hauling your furniture don’t exceed the cost of the furniture itself

The LEED Value of Recycling Old Office Furniture

As an added benefit, you may be able to earn LEED points for recycling your old office furniture.

While recycling isn’t considered an Innovation in Design (ID) strategy, nor does it fall under MRc3: Material Reuse, it can end up earning you MRc2 Construction Waste Management points. You’ll need to document everything carefully, but since you already have a detailed list of furniture and materials, you should be good to go.

Consider Donating for Benevolence and Tax Write-Offs

Lastly, you can always donate your used office furniture to a charitable organization if you’re more interested in helping people and generating community goodwill than making a quick buck. Of course, when you donate furniture you’re eligible for a tax write-off so you can still end up with some financial gain in the end.

As you can see, there are lots of pretty good ways to dispose of old office furniture and still come out ahead. Now head on over to part two to take a gander at some good ideas for disposing of old computers.

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Business Relocation Letters: How to Effectively Plan, Write, and Deliver Them

One of the critical parts of a successful commercial move is the business relocation letter. The letter serves as official notice of the move for customers, vendors, business partners, and anyone else that interacts with your company. Effectively planning, writing, and delivering a business relocation letter can help everything from office moving to industrial moving go as smoothly as possible.

Develop a Plan Early

The first step to writing and delivering an effective business relocation letter is to develop a plan. You may not realize it at first, but even something that seems as simple as a business relocation letter is actually somewhat involved if you want to pull it off effectively.

Develop your plan at least six weeks prior to your move date. That should give you enough time to perform all of the following functions before you distribute your letter.

Deliver your business relocation letter three weeks prior to your move date. Three weeks’ notice should be plenty of time for customers, vendors, and other individuals and organizations that your share business relationships with to note the change of address and update their records.

Once you’ve figured out the calendar dates you can start building your mailing list.

Build Your Mailing List(s)

The first component of your plan should be to build your mailing list or lists. After all, you’re going to want to make sure everyone who needs to know about your commercial move is adequately informed. To do that, you’ll need to determine who to contact and how to contact them, whether through postal mail, email, or both.

Determine Who to Contact

Companies usually interact with several different kinds of individuals and organizations, including customers, vendors, and business partners. When you’re planning on moving your business you may want to consider crafting a business relocation letter for each target audience.

For example, you may want to let your customers know why you’re moving your business. If you’re moving your business so you can have a bigger warehouse for inventory or a more central location for retail shoppers, your customers may benefit from knowing the details. This information can also be used to deliver a subtle brand message about improving your ability to serve them more quickly or conveniently.

Or you may want to let vendors and business partners know that you’re moving for positive reasons, to assuage any assumptions that you’re moving locations to save a buck because things are tight. “Business is so good that we’re expanding and moving our location to accommodate our growth” is a simple message that answers questions and delivers positive reinforcement.

Ultimately, whether you craft a separate message for each target audience, and what messaging you might want to include, boils down to several factors, including time and whether you think something like that is even necessary. Many companies simply craft one letter and mail it to everyone they need to contact. If that’s the best plan for you, do it.

Determine How to Contact Them

The next step is determining how you’re going to contact the individuals and organizations on your mailing list. The options for your business relocation letter are postal mail and email.

You’re also going to want to reach out to people on your website and through social media, depending on how you engage folks, but we’ll cross that bridge later.

Gather All Your Current and Future Contact Information

Grab a sheet of paper and write down all of your company’s current and future contact information:

  • Street address
  • Mailing address, if a PO Box or somehow different from street address
  • Phone number(s)
  • Fax number(s)
  • Email address(es)
  • Website URL
  • Social media accounts

Once you determine how you’re going to contact your mailing list(s) and gather all your company’s contact information, you’re ready to sit down and start writing your business relocation letter.

Start Writing Your Letter

When you write your business relocation letter, make sure you do two things:

  1. Include all your contact information, even if it’s not changing
  2. Keep it short

Contact information is valuable, so make sure those on your mailing list have all of it. Even if one or more pieces of your information won’t change, such as may be the case in an on-site campus move, you should still include it in your business relocation letter. That way folks on your mailing list can choose to update any holes they have regarding you contact information. And you may end up enabling someone to reach out to you in a way they hadn’t tried before, like through social media.

And make sure you’re concise. Your readers need to get the pertinent information, along with any messaging, quickly and clearly.

How to Construct Your Business Relocation Letter

When writing your letter, include the following items, in order:

  • Company name and current mailing information
  • Salutation
  • Introductory paragraph, including any downtime and closure/re-open dates due to moving
  • Follow-up paragraph, including any changes in service due to moving
  • New contact information that will take effect after the move
  • Current contact information that will not change
  • Closing paragraph
  • Signature

Deliver Your Business Relocation Letter

After you write your business relocation letter, make sure you mail or email it three weeks before your move date.

Some businesses have the capability to handle the production, postage, and mailing of the letters (or the email production and blast) themselves. If not, there are other companies that can handle the entire process for you.

Syndicate Your Business Relocation Letter

When you mail your business relocation letter, make sure to syndicate the information if doing so could be beneficial. Syndication means posting information from the letter on your website and using whatever social media channels you have to announce the move and start a conversation or drive traffic back to your website, where they can read about the move in more detail.

Syndicating your letter will maximize your chances of reaching customers or others that may not have been on your mailing list and maybe even generate some buzz or conversation about your business and its pending move. Just make sure that if you start a conversation about your move on your website or social media that you participate in the conversation.

Syndication is ideal for some companies and overkill for others. It depends on your business and how you engage customers, vendors, and business partners. If you don’t have the time, resources, or need, you can avoid this step entirely.

Sample Business Relocation Letter

Here’s a sample business relocation letter that takes into account everything we’ve talked about. It’s just an example, so feel free to use it as a template that you can customize for your own letter:

Company Name
[Current Street Address]
[Current City, Current State] [Current ZIP]

Dear [Firstname Lastname/Organization],

Business is so good that we’re expanding and moving our location to accommodate our growth. We will close our office Friday, April 4, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. to begin the moving process and will re-open at our new location Monday, April 7 at 8:30 a.m.

Our business, including website, email, and telephones, will be fully operational during the moving process and you will not experience any changes or delays in service, production, or shipping during that time.

Please update your records with our new contact information:

Company Name
[Street Address]
[City, State] [ZIP]
[Telephone]
[Fax]

Our other contact information will remain the same:

Website: [website URL]
Email: [email address]
Facebook: [Facebook page name]
LinkedIn: [LinkedIn page name]
Twitter: [Twitter handle]

As a valued [customer, vendor, business partner] we thank you for taking the time to update your records. Please feel free to contact us at [phone number] with any questions.

Sincerely,
[Signature]

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