Q&A with Graebel’s Kendra Carlmark
Transferees’ top of mind questions may include “Where will I live?” or “Where will my children go to school, or where will my spouse work?” But another practical and tactical consideration is: “How will we move our furniture and other household goods across the world?” It’s a detailed and potentially complex process that can be difficult to manoeuvre alone.
That’s why we asked Kendra Carlmark, Graebel’s new director of account management for the Global Account Management Team, to share insights about the company’s approach to forwarding and move management services. With over 13 years of corporate relocation experience and her own job-related cross-country and international moves, Kendra is the single point of care for clients needing forwarding services. She worked for Graebel in various roles for 10 years and recently returned to the company in her new role.
How do you describe Graebel’s forwarding services and goals?
Graebel’s global forwarding and move management services helps clients and their transferees ship or store household goods, depending on the assignment length and employee preference. Our goal is to ensure we provide exceptional forwarding services through our global support and the best service providers. We have service centres in every region and an extensive, vested supplier network that is certified through FIDI FAIM, TRACE, C-TPAT and other industry standards to ensure the highest quality service and security for our clients. Our tri-regional model allows us to offer 24/7 support and the highest level of service, regardless of origin of location and destination. In addition, we increase our purchasing power by leveraging our relationships through OMNI (Overseas Moving Network International) and other industry associations.
What’s unique about Graebel’s forwarding services approach?
Graebel truly values our partner relationships. Since we don’t own moving operations and storage centres, we are not confined to an in-house supply chain. Rather, we have the ability to select and partner with the best-of-the-best service providers around the world for each client. Our clients benefit from Graebel’s global resources and competitive pricing, and their employees receive the highest quality services.
What’s your focus in supporting Graebel’s forwarding services?
As account management director, I’m the single point of care for clients. This means I’m the one person who is 100 percent accountable for client satisfaction and programme success. In order to deliver on our promise of exceptional forwarding services, I partner with our operations team and problem-solve if any issues arise.
What mobility trends are impacting forwarding services?
Graebel is staying ahead of the curve of several mobility trends by finding and managing creative and innovation solutions for forwarding services, while still maintaining a very high level of quality for clients and their transferees.
One trend that more companies are considering is a flexible lump sum approach or Core-Flex policies with their mobility programmes. This allows transferees more flexibility in determining and personalising their relocation services while providing support and programme cost control. Companies are also moving toward Core-Flex policies that either limit the household goods allowance or offer a household goods benefit as one of the flex offerings. At the same time, donate and discard services help the assignee and family make smart decisions about what to ship, store, sell or donate, thereby shrinking the cost of the door-to-door service and permanent storage. One-way international transfers have increased, so while companies may allow for a sea/air shipment allowance, permanent storage is not offered, helping to reduce the overall household goods spend. Finally, virtual or video surveys are improving the overall moving experience and adding convenience for the assignee, while still delivering professional and reliable services.
When it comes to forwarding services, do you have any advice for companies using a lump sum programme?
Make sure your relocation service provider has competitive and high-quality options. While transferees may not use the full suite of forwarding-related services, you want to ensure they still receive the support of a dedicated coordinator. This is something Graebel is proud to provide as part of our duty of care.
Are there any Graebel customer/transferee experiences you’re particularly proud of?
At Graebel, we believe we are not just moving people’s stuff, we are moving people’s lives. This philosophy is apparent from our management team to the front line, whether moving people across the country or the world. One example is our onsite move manager (OSM) programme. We had a recent corporate assignee moving internationally with a 7-week-old baby, toddler and 5-year-old child. The assignee was very concerned about how she would be able to juggle taking care of children and movers. Our OSM met with her the Sunday night before the movers were scheduled to arrive and answered all her questions. This gave the assignee the confidence that when the movers arrived the next morning, her OSM would accommodate her need to care for her children and run errands. The assignee felt her OSM went above and beyond in various ways, such as engaging with the children, helping her to unpack, and even getting her Starbuck’s coffee each morning! The assignee told us: “Having Amy was more like having a good friend or relative assisting me. She was attentive, friendly, helpful and caring.”
What makes you excited to return to Graebel?
Coming back to Graebel is like coming home. I appreciate and missed the company culture which is centred on the values of truth, love and integrity. You can see these values displayed throughout the company. Our values allow Graebel team members the flexibility and support to service a client to the best of our abilities and act in their best interests. That’s a really empowering feeling. The culture at Graebel also explains why employees like me return.
About the Author
Kendra Carlmark re-joined Graebel in 2019 as Director of Account Management for the Global Account Management Team, responsible for client care and satisfaction with forwarding and move management services. Kendra brings over 13 years of international and domestic household goods moving and corporate relocation management experience, including serving in various roles at Graebel for 10 years. Most recently, Kendra was on an international assignment in Costa Rica, where she managed an international household goods moving and logistics team. She has personally relocated three times, both domestically and internationally. Her passion for customer service and leading teams produces exceptional experiences for clients.