Earlier this year, the Rams – the NFL football team – announced their decision to move from their long-time home in St. Louis to Los Angeles, just in time for the 2016 NFL season. The news received a great deal of national attention as fans and sports pundits alike either rejoiced or lamented the move. What few have done is take a look beyond the hype around loyalties and star players, and understand just how much it took to make the move a reality.
Moving an entire NFL franchise is a massive undertaking, and the logistics that go into moving equipment, facilities, IT infrastructures, coaches, players and families takes a careful and experienced company to handle such responsibility. As the Rams readied for the historic move, they chose a partner with extensive moving and relocation experience to handle the task.
Graebel Van Lines, a household goods company, and Optim Workspace, their commercial moving division, were selected to handle the big move. Below are the three key takeaways learned from coordinating this high-profile project.
Be ready to move fast, while staying efficient, professional and committed.
This move happened quickly. Large and complex moves are not uncommon in the corporate relocation and commercial moving world, but this particular project included some interesting challenges, including a tightly compressed timeframe. With the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine and other key season milestones fast approaching, the Rams needed to work quickly to make sure they stayed on schedule. Having a moving partner that was able to mobilize quickly was essential, and the moving crew was onsite taking inventory within days of the contract getting finalized. First to get packed up was the football operations, and then the Rams business side shut down to get shipped. The first stage of the move, which included the journey from St. Louis to the team’s temporary training site in Oxnard, Calif., came together in less than 60 days.
And this was just the beginning of the moving process for the Rams. From Oxnard, the team was already planning their move to their next temporary location at Cal Irvine for training camp this summer. From there, the Rams will move again to Cal Lutheran, before making their way to their final home at the future new stadium. With completion of the Rams’ new stadium expected to take nearly three years, the team needed a partner that was in it for the long haul, and the Graebel Van Lines and Optim Workspace teams will continue to partner with the franchise from move-to-move around California until they reach their final destination.
Understand how both your commercial and household capabilities can benefit the client.
When handling the move of the team’s business operations, having a highly qualified and specific workspace division was essential to a seamless experience for players, coaches and staff. The move plan involved a customized process with tailored logistics, consolidation and shipment of goods to meet requirements. Capabilities included equipment inventory services, with secure short- or long-term storage options, and industry leading move-add-change (MAC) technology and furniture, fixtures & equipment (FF&E) services.
The original assignment from the Rams involved only the relocation of their commercial items, such as the team’s equipment, business resources and property, but it quickly expanded to include household moving services for the players, coaches and staff. They needed a company to work hand-in-hand with the franchise to ensure a successful move for every player, coach, administrative staffer and family member, along with all their personal belongings.
Conducting move seminars at training camps in St. Louis for players, coaches, staff and management proved helpful in making the process as smooth as possible for all involved. The team got valuable information on how to prepare for the journey, identified which specific valuable items needed extra care, and even received advice for living in Los Angeles. These sessions laid the foundation for a trusting relationship at the outset of the move process.
There’s an advantage to being equipped with innovative technology.
Using technology that benefits both customers and employees provides a high quality move experience. For the corporate side of the LA Rams move, the team utilized an asset management inventory solution, allowing for real time visibility in the supply chain and inventory of all items at each stage of the move process. Real time inventory changes were also able to be quickly executed, such as moving an item from short-term shortage to the facility.
This technology was key to ensuring an efficient and secure move, which involved properly packaging, storing and moving every piece of the Rams operations in St. Louis, including essential training equipment and valuable business assets such as IT servers. The move also included items of sentimental value, such as priceless memorabilia like the team’s Lombardi trophy, a taxidermy stuffed ram named Cliff, win jerseys, and historically significant Cleveland Rams branding.
In total, thirty-two 18-wheelers were used to move the football operations alone. One truck in particular was carrying a majority of the team’s IT equipment, with cargo valued at over $10 million dollars. With such high-value items making the trip, having an advanced tracking system in place maintained efficiencies and gave the Rams peace of mind that their essential assets were secure.
Overall, moving an NFL franchise is not a small feat, and a prepared system needs to be in place.
Moving an NFL franchise halfway across the country with hard deadlines is a long-term endeavor that requires constant teamwork and communication. Having the right expertise and technologies, coupled with the ability to stay nimble and customer-centric at all times, can significantly improve the experience for the team and their families, and build a long-lasting relationship for the moving company.
Jack Donnell is Chief Commercial Officer of Graebel Van Lines and Optim Workspace, a wholly owned and operated leader in moving and workspace solutions, serving the corporate, residential, workspace and international market segments for more than 65 years. Graebel Van Lines received Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) certification from the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, affirming its status as a women-owned, operated and controlled business.