Movers' Edge, December, 2001


Toronto, November 19–20, 2001

It’s over and it was a success. In spite of this fall’s norm, which finds fewer people travelling and attending conferences, more than 80 members attended the conference and, judging by the ratings that were submitted at its end, attendees enjoyed the conference and got value from the speakers, the exhibits and the networking opportunities.


    A new feature of the conference was the Awards Dinner, at which CAM’s two new awards were presented. The Founder’s Award was presented to Chuck Martin, former President of United Van Lines (Canada) Ltd., and the Distinguished Service Award was presented to Tim Moore, former President of AMJ Campbell Van Lines.

    Larry Rosenberg, President of Bekins Moving and Storage (Canada) Ltd. in Richmond, BC, presented the Founder’s Award to Mr. Martin. In an entertaining speech, Mr. Rosenberg recounted Mr. Martin’s long career with United Van Lines and his legacy to Canadian movers, the van line and the industry.

    Mr. Martin accepted the award with a speech that highlighted the many achievements and challenges of his 37 years with United Van Lines. He recalled how much he enjoyed his relationships with peers, competitors and government.

    Denis Frappier, Executive Vice-President of AMJ Campbell Corporate in Mississauga, Ont., presented the Distinguished Service Award to Tim Moore. Mr. Frappier reviewed Mr. Moore’s career, his entrepreneurial spirit and the major effect he has had on the moving business in Canada.

    In accepting the award, Mr. Moore described how he got started in the moving business and a few of his early experiences as a mover. He went on to talk about his business philosophy and how it defined his relationships with the members of his management team, future partners and franchisees. He thanked the groups and individuals who contributed to his outstanding success.

    At the end of the evening, the consensus among the 150 attendees was that these awards had gone to two deserving pioneers in the moving industry, and that they should be an ongoing tradition for the industry and Canadian Association of Movers.


      The conference showcased a broad range of speakers, who came from both inside and outside the industry.

        Van Line Presidents

        The four van-line presidents, Doug Auld from Atlas, David Fennell from Allied, Anne Martin from United and newcomer Gerry Puckrin from North American, each presented a view of the conference theme of profitability. All highlighted the importance of quality in all phases of the business:

        • Quality is the most important key to profitability;
        • Measurement and tracking of key performance indicators (KPIs) are vital to knowing the quality of specific activities;
        • Technology can provide accuracy and drive out costs;
        • Improvements in customer service are driven by human resource improvements and management practices;
        • Target what you want to improve and measure it;
        • Leadership is the key to profitability;
        • The character of a moving company reflects the leadership of the owner;
        • Process evaluation is important in choosing the right customers and ensuring that marketing efforts reach them;
        • In measuring performance, choose your key performance indicators (KPI) carefully and use these to drive improvement;
        • People are a company’s greatest asset, and ensuring that each employee supports the company’s objectives is an owner’s primary activity.

        Joe Sullivan

        Joe Sullivan of Tompkins Associates provided a view of the ten top warehousing challenges. He outlined the methods by which a modern general-merchandise warehouse operates and some of the methods by which it can be made efficient and effective. Many of the principles, techniques and technologies that Joe described apply only to those movers who consider their distribution and logistics businesses to be an integral part of their businesses.

          Chris Steer

          Chris Steer addressed movers’ concerns about the current trend in the insurance industry to increase premiums and to cut back on coverages. He discussed some of the driving forces in the insurance industry that are causing insurance companies to increase prices and limit coverage. He gave some helpful advice on how to deal with insurance companies and how best to insure fleets and other assets.

            Peter Drake

            Peter Drake of the TD Bank Financial Group put the North American and global economic situation in focus for attendees. He reviewed some of the key factors that affect the economy, including the impact of September 11 and the trends to recession that preceded and followed it. He described some of the uncertainty in the economy and discussed some of the indicators that will show the direction for the economy in the near future.

              David Boyle

              David Boyle of HR-on-Demand focused on a mover’s most important asset, personnel. While it had been highlighted by the van-line presidents, David expanded upon the costs and benefits of certain human resource policies and relations.

                Ken Janes and Jill Parkinson

                The moving contract with the Government of Canada is always an area of interest for movers. The government implemented its price increases last April and service measurement this summer, and is currently evaluating alternatives to scaling. Each has an impact on the way in which movers do business with the government, and movers are interested to see the reallotment of business based on service levels and what effects the alternatives to scaling will have on operations.

                  Jim Larsen

                  Jim Larsen’s seminar, titled "Be a ProfitMover," was a great hit with members. It received very high ratings from all attendees. In a session that lasted from 8:00 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. (with breaks, of course), Mr. Larsen took attendees through the many and varied aspects of improving profitability in the moving business. He dealt with organization of the business, personnel issues, costs and costing, prices and pricing, claims, productivity, customer relations, profit analysis, order management, cash flow management, and finally, goal setting.

                  In a short presentation following "Be a ProfitMover," Mr. Larsen offered CAM members an opportunity to participate in an executive forum in which a dozen movers would get together for a two-day seminar three times a year to discuss their operations and exchange ideas and expertise. Watch for further details on this.

                    Annual General Meeting

                    The Canadian Association of Movers’ Annual General Meeting was held from 2:30 to 3:15 p.m., following the 2001 Annual Conference. A few highlights included:

                    • There was incremental growth of 6% in membership in 2001;
                    • CAM has become a clearinghouse for consumer complaints, the vast majority of which are against non-members;
                    • The financial report for 2000 indicated a close-to-break-even performance;
                    • Officers and directors will remain in place for another year, with the possibility of adding more directors, as permitted by the bylaws;
                    • The new bylaws, which were approved at the Annual General Meeting in 2000, were distributed.
                    • The compensation survey will be conducted shortly. It will provide members with information on levels of compensation paid for various positions within a moving company. Results will be correlated to company size, geography and other parameters, which will allow movers to determine applicable compensation rates.

                      Bylaws and minutes of the AGM can be found at