Here’s how selecting just one contractor to organize PCS moves could help

Selecting one company to organize military moves worldwide will improve every part of the process for service members and their families, from planning the move to filing loss and damage claims, the company’s CEO says who just received the $6.2. billion dollar contract.

“We looked very carefully at the entire end-to-end process, time and time again, from a service member’s perspective,” HomeSafe Alliance CEO Alan Thompson said in an interview with Military Times. “We are making improvements at every link in this process. For example, technologies such as smartphone apps will allow the company to be more responsive, communicating with service members in “near real time,” he said.

This year, a number of service members have complained of not being able to plan their move, and those coming from overseas, in particular, have complained of delays in the delivery of their household goods, which has cost $10,000. money to families. Persistent capacity issues, including a shortage of truckers, have been exacerbated by the pandemic. There have been supply chain issues, labor shortages and other issues.

But the issues have plagued the movements of some service members for decades. Defense officials launched a “revamped” moving process in 2009, moving virtually all troops under the program by 2012. But seven years later, after a 2018 moving season heavy with casualties, damage and delays for service members and their families, US TRANSCOM announced plans for a global housewares contract.

As TRANSCOM officials have pointed out, this new contract will not affect household goods moves overnight. Moves under the new program will not take place until the end of 2022 at the earliest, given the nature of this contract, the likelihood of protests and the time required for a smooth transition. Until then, most service members will move under the current program, in which more than 900 trading companies move about 325,000 shipments a year at a cost of about $2.2 billion. Service members often have more than one shipment with their moves.

HomeSafe Alliance is a separate new company developed and designed by KBR and Tier One Relocation specifically to support this contract, but includes “significant contractors who are all leading players in the removals industry and moving technology. move,” Thompson said. He declined to name those companies because unsuccessful bidders can still file protests against the award. And while he couldn’t be specific about how many military moves these companies made, he said it was “substantial.”

He is limited in what he can say about the details of Homesafe Alliance’s internal business model, he said, because he does not want certain information made public during a time of protest.

Thompson, a retired vice admiral who was chief of the Navy Supply Corps, commander of Naval Supply Systems Command and director of the Defense Logistics Agency before retiring in 2012, was an executive at KBR before moving to HomeSafe. His second-in-command at HomeSafe is Matt Dolan, a retired Navy captain who spent 17 years in the moving industry and served as Tier One Relocation’s chief operating officer.

“I wouldn’t be involved if I didn’t firmly believe this will be a dramatic improvement in the traveling experience for members of the armed forces,” Thompson said.

“Our whole strategy is to reward the highest quality movers,” Thompson said. “They’re going to have a scorecard, and the ones that perform better, provide a better moving experience for the military service member, and meet the required pickup and delivery times, will get more work.”

The US Transportation Command will continue to conduct its independent customer satisfaction surveys.

More movers for military families?

A big issue at the heart of military moving issues has been capacity – the ability to have enough qualified packers and loaders, trucks and drivers to get the job done right and on time. Peak military moving season runs from May through August, and business plummets the rest of the year.

“To some extent, that’s not going to change,” Thompson said. “But we will encourage movers to have more trucks, drivers, packers. Quality is very, very important.

It is not specific about these incentives. HomeSafe has worked to encourage businesses to make military moves, he said, but those with the best quality will get the most business and they will ensure they can deliver the level of capability HomeSafe requires.

The volume of work will be more predictable for businesses, he said.

“The reality is, we need the entire moving industry,” Thompson said. “Many, if not all, of the competitors will continue to be part of it.”

More details are needed on how the contract will work, whether it will increase capacity, industry officials said.

“We hope that the quality capacity can develop under the [Global Household Goods Contract] concept,” said Dan Bradley, director of government and military relations for the International Association of Movers. “However, at this time, we have no clear idea of ​​the details of how the GHC will be executed or the specific plans that the winning GHC bidder will implement to increase capacity in the move market.

“We stand ready, like most moving companies, to learn more as these details become available.”

HomeSafe has a strategy for a “relentless ongoing campaign” to increase the number of companies in the military moving business, Thompson said. To some extent, with the new contract, HomeSafe will be able to make rule changes that will attract more companies into the military moving business, he said.

Another part of increasing capacity is making full use of current capacity with “load and route optimization,” Thompson said. “US TRANSCOM does not have the same technology as us. TRANSCOM moves the PCS on a case-by-case basis. No one organization manages the whole picture.

“Now there will be, and we have the information technology to do it.”

What does “optimization” mean for troops?

Thompson said many of the moving vans currently driving on highways across the country could be half full.

“With our ability to optimize loading and routes, we think we will fill more trucks, which is good for us because it gives us more capacity,” he said. “There is a lot of unused capacity today, so we will leverage more existing capacity. It’s also great for small local moving companies because instead of driving half-full trucks, we’ll be driving a lot more trucks with military moves that are full.

HomeSafe’s technology and visibility into all DoD movements around the world should bring benefits to many parts of the country, such as areas with high concentrations of military personnel. For example, a military family moving from Norfolk to San Diego in early June might fill half a truckload with their household items. Another family living 10 miles away, moving to San Diego at the same time, might also only need half a truck. The way the system currently works, these moves are awarded separately, often with separate companies. During a moving season like 2021, that second family might not be able to get a scheduled move for weeks due to truck shortages.

Under the new contract, a trucking company could be awarded both of these moves, which helps families as well as the trucker.

Under the contract, HomeSafe will deal directly with more than 2,000 individual companies doing the work — those with packers and loaders, trucks and drivers, and/or storage facilities, Thompson said. This is a change from the current system, where contracts are awarded individually to companies called transport service providers. TSPs may or may not have workers and equipment to actually do the work and essentially act as a middleman. Many of these companies that do the actual moving work are small businesses.

An industry source said all the bidders on the contract offered to only deal with companies that actually do the work.

“We’re confident that smaller movers in particular will be better off,” Thompson said. Additionally, HomeSafe intends to provide these businesses with information technology “that they can use to run their business more effectively and efficiently,” he said. In the moving industry, many small businesses cannot afford the technology provided by HomeSafe, he said.

The $6.2 billion contract spans over three years, with the transition and base period beginning December 1 and ending August 31, 2025.

This is the third time the global household equipment contract has been awarded. It was originally awarded to American Roll-On Roll-Off Carrier Group Inc. on April 30, 2020, at a cost of $7.2 billion for approximately the same base period, with a potential payout of nearly $20 billion. dollars over nine years.

Following protests from two unsuccessful bidders – including HomeSafe Alliance – the government took corrective action and then re-awarded the contract to ARC on June 29, 2020. This award was also contested by both bidders, and the Government Accountability Office spoke out in favor of the protesters. TRANSCOM issued a new solicitation in November 2020.

Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for over 30 years, and co-authored a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book “A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families”. She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Florida and Athens, Georgia.

Martin E. Berry