Blue Whale Moving Company, Inc was cofounded by Blake Miller and Brad Armstrong in the year 1988. It is headquartered in Austin, Texas, United States. It is Austins leading moving company. It is involved in both short-haul moves within the same city or within the same state and also long-haul moves from state to state. Blake Miller as one of the co founders is responsible for the operations of the business and Brad Armstrong as the other co founder is responsible for the strategic initiatives of the company. Jim Traynor, Vice-president is in-charge of the day to day operations. B. Bernard is the operations manager who manages movers, job schedules and moving equipment. Mr. John McCarthy is the present President of the company.
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Blue Whale Moving Company has grown steadily since it was established in 1988 with a two member moving crew. Its revenues had increased to $ 1.7 million by the year 1993. It expanded its business continuously and in a short span of twelve years it had established moving and storage locations in 100 cities worldwide by 31st December, 2000. The company has received a number of awards and honors for its excellence in business from leading magazines since its inception. The success of the company is the result of a very clear vision statement that is adhered to by all its employees. The company has moved away from the traditional way of doing moving business and strategically positioned itself on superior customer service.
Its strengths are its full-time, experienced and professional move specialists who ensure worry free move for its customers, excellent customer service and feedback and very satisfied customers who are a cost effective means of word of mouth advertising. Its weakness is its inability to cope with the changes associated with its rapid expansion. The threats facing the company are fierce rivalry, cut-throat pricing, high employee turnover and negative customer perception in the moving industry. The major opportunity for Bluewhale is the highly mobile US society with 42 million Americans (20% of the population) moving every year
The company should formulate suitable strategies to utilize the opportunity by leveraging its strengths. It should sustain its competitive advantage of having highly satisfied customers by providing value added services like safe storage of customers belongings and cleaning services. It should evolve effective pricing processes to make it transparent to customers.
Basic Concerns / Key Issues of the Company:
With the growth of the company from its two movers team to its present status the business had become more complicated. To maintain the excellent customer satisfaction level and grow further the company needs to address a number of key issues.
Blue Whale Moving Company faced a number of control issues with the movers who were termed as associates in the company brochure. Unlike the industry practice the company movers where employees of the company and their pay represented 45% of the revenues in terms of commission. Any damages that occurred during the moving operations were deducted from their commission which was a contentious issue. Most of the movers were not highly educated and some of them were ex-convicts and motivating and controlling such employees was a challenging issue.
The other issue facing the company concerned the method of sale. The main objective of the sales team was to bag maximum moving orders and many times they had to drastically reduce the price to get an order. This created conflict with the movers as the movers pay was a percentage of the value of the move wherelse the sales people earned a small commission of 3-5% on each order. The financial function in the company was also be inadequate with the increased revenue growth expected. Presently a single unqualified clerk was carrying out the function with the help of the weekly visit of a professional CPA which will not be very effective in the future.
With the company set on a growth path the control of the business and its employees had become much more difficult. The existing organization structure seemed inadequate to meet the future needs of expansion and growth and at the same time maintaining and enhancing the satisfaction level of their customers.
Strategic recommendations for the future
Blue Whale Moving Company needs to formulate effective long-term and short-term strategies and implement them efficiently to maintain and enhance their position as a leading moving company. A number of strategic recommendations for the company are discussed. The satisfaction level of the customers should be enhanced by providing value added services like cost effective storage facilities for their belongings to have their moves scheduled more conveniently. They should make their moving experience more stress free by offering them cleaning and painting facilities before moving into the new premise.
As potential customers move a number of times in their life, loyal customers should be offered discounts and communication maintained to retain them. As word of mouth advertising is a very cost effective method of advertising for any company the company should encourage the same by rewarding referrals by the existing customers. As movers are the backbone of the company pricing should be made very transparent and the additional commission of the sales people should be linked to the total revenue earned by the company rather than the number of orders to avoid conflict with the movers.
Another key strategic requirement is that the company should reorganize on geographic basis with each geographic region acting as a profit center with authority and responsibility for its own bottomline. The centralized control should be restricted only to policy decisions involving major investments and senior recruitments. This will improve the management of the company as it grows globally. The active participation of all the employees is very critical for the successful implementation of the strategies.
- Carpenter and Sanders. Ed “Blue Whale Moving Company, Inc.” Concepts and Cases, Strategic
- Management: A Dynamic Perspective.., Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007. pp. 605-614.