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Making a move is made easier.

Less is more! When in doubt, throw it out! Turn a nightmare into a dream?

No, these are not flimsy words of fashion advice. Nor are they quotes from some new self-help business guide. Instead, they are a few of the basic maxims upon which MCB/-Relocation Management Corporation of America, was built in just over eight years.

The firm provides project consulting and development, move management, furniture installation management, surplus furniture disposition, relocation communications to employees, file systems conversions, and a host of other consulting services that both simplify and tighten the relocation process.

Whether your company is down-sizing, right-sizing or expanding, a corporate move will mean facing one of the toughest jobs your firm will ever encounter. The ultimate goal is to stay in business until the last possible minute before the move, then start up again as quickly as possible, explains Les Cheikin, principal partner and co-founder of MCB. That is what he calls a "home run." But when you do it within a budget that everyone agrees upon, he says, "that's a grand slam."

Since opening shop in 1987, Cheikin, along with his partners Mal Levy and James Barnes, have hit "grand slams" for such corporate giants as Automatic Data Processing, Bear Stearns & Company, Inc., Blue Cross Blue Shield of NY, Citicorp, Home Box Office, Inc., MacMillan/McGraw-Hill, Omnicom Group, Salomon Brothers, and Siemens Corporation.

MCB is not a moving company, but the 22-employee firm is intimately aware of each concern a mover - and a client - will face. This awareness is due, in large part, to the fact that Cheikin is at MCB's helm. By his own admission, he began his career as "a mover" for a moving company and later as a long-haul driver to help pay for his college education.

During his climb up the move-management ladder, Cheikin learned that "there's a lot that can go wrong, and it usually will." MCB understands the possible pitfalls financially, legally, time-wise, etc. - and the firm's focus is to help a company avoid unnecessary hassles... and costs.

Of course, some moves are more of a challenge than others. Recently, for instance, MCB moved the American Cancer Society to Atlanta to occupy 80,000 square feet of space in two separate buildings, spread out on a total of 11 floors. But that was just temporary. A year later, the entire operation had to be relocated to its new headquarters.

Then there was Heidelberg USA, which moved eight miles of steel shelving, 35,000 pieces of inventory and 37 trailer loads of furniture and equipment - all within a 20-day period... or the May Department Stores, which had to move 88 trailer loads of furniture, computers and other essentials within 11 calendar days. MCB had the May Department Stores settled and ready to go without missing one hour's work.

Expert Advice

While every relocation is unique, Cheikin does offer a few words of basic advice for anyone about to make a move... and hire a mover. "Avoid low-ball bidding," he says. "It's tempting, but it may wind up costing you more once you add on the 'extras' as well as the damages for a dropped computer, legs knocked off desks, soiled carpeting, or holes gauged in the walls." Also, Cheikin advises against basing one's budget on someone else's move; there are too many company-specific variables to consider.

"Be sure to check your mover's references," he adds. "And remember to purge dead files (less is more)... Otherwise you'll wind up paying $30 a box to pack, tag and unpack dead records."

Packing and Boxing

As a matter of fact, the issue of packing and boxing files (and other employee possessions) had become such a central issues for MCB's clients - how much boxes would cost, where to get them, how to keep them ' from being tampered with, disposal of boxes, etc. - that this year MCB introduced it's very own solution, the Mov-n-Box, a rentable, plastic, crushproof box that holds up to 1,000 lbs. of weight when stacked.

The Mov-n-Box division of MCB is headed by partner Mal Levy, who, when he introduced Mov-n-Box just last year, was touted by The Wall Street Journal for helping turn "the movers and shakers" into "renters" when it comes to relocation.

"Mov-n-Box requires no assembly and companies don't have to worry about disposal labor and expense, since they're dropped off and picked up after the move," says Levy. Originally, Levy sought out the product in response to his own clients' concerns, and now, having purchased distribution rights from the manufacturer, plans to make Mov-n-Box available across the nation.

"One of the additional benefits about these boxes," Levy explains, "is that since they're plastic and completely reusable, they are a sound choice for companies concerned with protecting the environment. When a company moves, every corrugated cardboard box it uses will represent one Christmas tree. Why not save the tree for the holidays?"

Best of all, Mov-n-Box allows corporations to save money. In a direct comparison with corrugated cardboard boxes (the kind most companies use in a move), Mov-n-Box saves companies $10.50 per each five-drawer lateral filing cabinet. In a major relocation, this can mean savings in the of thousands of dollars.

Corporations that have recently used Mov-n-Box include Amalgamated Life Insurance Company, CIGNA Companies, Coopers & Lybrand, LLP, Cushman & Wakefield, Inc., and Societe Generale.


Another major concern voiced by MCB clients was the difficulty in figuring out just what furniture and equipment they had on hand, what was worth moving, etc. In short, it was hard to begin planning a move - even with the help of a top-notch consultant - without knowing exactly what had to be moved.

Enter Asset Inventories, another MCB division headed by Levy. "Again, the division was founded in response to clients questions," says Levy. "Questions like how many green swivel chairs are on the third floor? Are the extra credenzas still in the basement? Which five offices need new lateral file cabinets, and do we have them in stock?"

Asset Inventories answers all these questions and more by providing companies with bar-coded, computer-based inventories of all office furniture and equipment.

By using its unique Bar/Scan Asset Management System, Asset Inventories offers facilities managers a clearly organized, comprehensive picture of their physical assets - complete with photos, serial numbers, and detailed information about the make, model, color, size, and condition of each item. A facilities manager need only flip through his/her catalogue to see exactly what furniture and equipment is on hand, and where it is located (or supposed to be located), down to the floor number and individual office.

Such information is vital for insurance and security purposes, and extremely helpful when it comes time to determine What new purchases are required - say, for expansion, relocation, or mere upgrading of equipment. Also, the ultra-accurate catalogues provided by Asset Inventories make it easy for a facilities manager to charge back depreciation and maintain a single data source for budgeting purposes.

The Big Picture

"All in all," concludes James Barnes, MCB principal, "MCB and it's various divisions have one goal: to keep the full-time job of relocating in our hands, so our clients can focus on their own." Understanding the needs and options early in the planning stages of a move enables a company to make informed decisions. "When all goes according to plans - well thought-out plans, that is - the employees will find that on Monday morning in the new location, it's back to business as usual."
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Copyright 1995, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Profile of the Week; MCB Relocation Management Corporation of America
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:Mar 15, 1995
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