Inbound Logistics | January 2024

WHITE GLOVE IN ACTION: No Room For Error Room, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based manufacturer of soundproof oce pods and phone booths, delivers its products to corporate workspaces, such as oce buildings and co-working spaces, and is seeing growth in non-traditional end users, such as universities and libraries. Each delivery is unique in terms of access, security requirements, municipal building codes, and many other factors. They all require a white-glove approach. Delivery success starts with the initial contact with Room’s customer, typically someone in the sales department. First, the Room team checks the dimensions to ensure the oce pod will physically t in the customer’s facility. Then, it develops a pre-delivery planning guide to capture details like utilities, local code compliance, loading dock and freight elevator use, and delivery requirements. “We try to make it as simple as possible for our customers, who might not be used to doing

ratings, which AIT then uses to guide the jobs the contractors receive. “That allows us to continuously improve because we put the bulk of our work with the contractors that perform the best,” Escobar says. Drivers for AIT use the next-stop feature in their mobile app, which alerts the customer when the truck is on the way to their location. Other milestones can trigger alerts as well. “In our reviews, customers note how great it is to see the truck roll up and the delivery is aligned with the arrival information on their app,” Escobar says. Drivers send proof-of-delivery photos through the app to verify they have completed an installation correctly and removed packaging material. The retailers AIT serves have access to the same photos for quality assurance. AIT eld personnel conduct random spot checks to ensure the photos are of actual completed services. A LITTLE HELP FROM TECH “Our technology plays a big role in enabling us to elevate that level of service for our customers,” adds Lamell. AIT also sends a customer survey 15 minutes after a delivery to quickly gauge the customer experience. A positive survey result is forwarded to the contractor as reinforcement. A negative result, or one where the customer indicates the experience wasn’t entirely satisfying, goes to district management for follow up. By contrast, as a freight forwarder, SEKO takes ownership and liability of shipments, so it relies on its own network of proven carriers. The company vets and approves carriers, with some focusing on specic verticals such as medical installations. With the many complexities

these large installs," says Sam Krotz, director of services. "We coach them on checking with their building management about requirements and then also making sure their space inside is prepared for the build.” . Customers selecting Room’s smaller, less complex booths can typically complete the install on their own. For larger, more elaborate installations that incorporate networking, cameras, and display technology, Room contracts with the Oce Moving Alliance, a consortium that manages installation specialists in markets across the country. Room provides these specialists with digital checklists, accessed via Room’s app, that require photo or video documentation to prove everything is working. The app is cloud-based, so anyone within the company can comment or provide troubleshooting information in real time. QR codes in assembly manuals direct installers to more detailed videos and instructions for each product. And for some customers, Room uses video call software to communicate with the on-site installation team. The Room team reviews and analyzes the documentation sent after each installation. A project can be ‘agged as “no follow-up is required” or “visit is required.” A re-visit could be due to a manufacturing issue, such as missing or broken parts, or an installation problem. The customer may ask for additional instructions on how to use the video conferencing software and hardware. “We ask our installers to ‘ag that for us so that we can proactively reach out to the customer with next steps if something goes wrong,” Krotz says. For Room, premier white-glove service is crucial to the success of the business, she adds.

surrounding white-glove delivery—and the likelihood the service will continue to grow in use cases—providers stay laser-focused on how they can deliver the best service to continue to meet customer demand. “Issues always arise," Bourke says. “The key is helping resolve them as positively as we can.”

The company has built a regional eld organization for its delivery and assembly services that can service every ZIP code in the country; 16 district managers vet and monitor contractors in their areas. The district teams benchmark contractor performance through a dashboard of compliance and deadlines.

In major markets, there may be some contractors that specialize in tness equipment while others focus on furniture assembly. In a smaller market, one contractor may do it all. AIT has travel teams ready to go to a customer site if a local contractor isn’t available. Customers assign contractors


134 Inbound Logistics • January 2024

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