After nearly 60 years, Cartus has stayed successful by maintaining an intense focus on client and customer needs in the delivery of its global relocation services, says Pat DeDonato, vice president of Real Estate Services and Supply Chain Management. “We focus on what we know is important both for relocating employees and our clients’ relocation programs,” she says. “Our services cover every phase of the relocation process – from selling a home and shipping household goods to settling into new communities around the world.”
This hard work has paid off for the Danbury, Conn.-based company, which has enjoyed a 98 percent customer satisfaction rate and a 98 percent client retention rate over the past five years, DeDonato says. “We add value to our clients’ mobility programs.”
Cartus started operations in 1955, and since then, the company has grown to employ a staff of more than 3,000, serving corporate, government and membership organizations worldwide. Last year, Cartus managed nearly 160,000 moves, and has moved employees into more than 165 different countries, DeDonato says.
She adds that Cartus aims to be its clients’ trusted provider. “Our mission is to help our clients and their employees succeed,” she states. “That’s vital for us to maintain our leadership.”
In her 25 years with Cartus, DeDonato held many positions prior to her current role in Supply Chain Management, developing expertise in customer service as well as in every aspect of the relocation business. “Overall, Cartus employee tenure is extremely long ... that’s not only because of the company itself but also because the relocation industry is constantly evolving. There are always new solutions that we are exploring on behalf of our clients and customers,” she says.
For instance, when the U.S. real estate market experienced a downturn a few years ago, Cartus stayed strong by focusing on other opportunities for growth, such as its international business. “We know real estate is not only local, but cyclical; we’ve been there before,” she asserts.
In fact, Cartus was so resilient that it was able to acquire Primacy Relocation, a Memphis, Tenn.-based relocation and global assignment management services firm, in the middle of the downturn. “That demonstrated a belief in our company and our industry,” she says.
One of the most critical elements in the delivery of Cartus’ global relocation services is its extensive supply chain. “First of all, we carefully consider the suppliers that we assign to each transaction,” DeDonato says. “Second, our suppliers are held to very specific performance standards. They know their next opportunity will only come to them if their results are high.”
“In addition, we put an unwavering focus on sourcing and the requirements for inclusion in our global network. Our dedicated procurement team has implemented best practices for selecting the industry’s most qualified suppliers,” DeDonato says.
Cartus regularly surveys its transferring employees on supplier performance. “A trend of negative reviews may well land a supplier on Cartus’ service watch program,” she advises. “If you want to continue getting our business, you’ll take steps [to improve].
“The road to improvement isn’t all one way, however,” DeDonato stresses. “We use a Six Sigma approach to assist our suppliers to identify and resolve any customer defects that may arise.”
“We believe that if our suppliers are successful, we’ll be successful. We take great pride in partnering with our supply chain and helping them succeed.”
Cartus also takes great pride in honoring its suppliers for their service achievements. Each year, the company holds a global network conference where it gives suppliers awards for meeting and exceeding Cartus standards.
“Our goal is to make sure that our suppliers are fully in tune with our mission of helping our clients and customers succeed,” DeDonato says. “We see a direct correlation between supplier service and customer satisfaction.”
Technology also plays a part in Cartus’ supply chain. DeDonato highlights its Acadia eProcurement platform, which is an online bidding system where suppliers can submit bids for segments of business for which they would like to be considered. “[It] allows our suppliers to see all the moves we have available,” she says, noting that it has resulted in significant savings for its client base.
Another of the company’s innovations is its CartusMobile℠ app, which provides clients and customers with direct access to the information they need to manage their moves via their smart phones.
According to Cartus’ President and CEO, Kevin J. Kelleher, the product reflects how Cartus continues to look for ways to improve its tools and services. “With CartusMobile, we’ve taken things to a whole new level by adding a number of advanced features for mobile devices that improve the relocation experience for transferring employees and their companies,” he said.
Cartus’ supply chain management plays a key role in finding solutions for clients. For example, when many of the company’s clients began expanding to new and emerging markets, Cartus hired three emerging market managers to expand its supply chain there.
The result is additional in-depth information on issues and challenges in these new areas. For example, “We videotaped our suppliers in those countries and created ‘Market Watch’ videos that we have made available to clients and relocating employees,” she says. “This gives them a taste of what it would be like to relocate to each of these emerging market countries before actually traveling there.
“When the world changes, we are not simply in lock step with our clients and suppliers; we are actually a step ahead. Cartus will continue to meet our clients’ relocation needs,” she says. “Cartus has the supply chain and resources in place to help our clients manage their programs and relocate their employees wherever in the world they may go!”