EXPRESSVAULT

DESIGNING A NEW WAY TO MOVE

INERTIA PARTICIPATING AS A CO-INVESTOR IN ADDITION TO PROVIDING TURN-KEY DESIGN AND MANUFACTURING SERVICES

EXPRESSVAULT PILOT PROJECT HAS ACHIEVED MAJOR EFFICIENCIES IN DELIVERY TIMES, TRANSPORTATION AND LABOUR COSTS

SCALING PRODUCTION TO MEET HEAVY DEMAND. UP NEXT: RAPID EXPANSION, FRANCHISING & IofT INNOVATIONS

A THREAT BECOMES AN OPPORTUNITY

Bruce Bowser is the CEO and president of AMJ Campbell Van Lines, the largest coast-to-coast moving company in Canada. In 2013, after seeing what Uber had done to disrupt the taxi business, Bruce was acutely aware that disruption in the moving business wasn’t far behind. Instead of being in a position where AMJ was going to have to react to the disruption, Bruce wanted to put his company in a position to lead it.

The question Bruce kept asking himself was “What do I need to do now to ensure we’ll be in business in 100 years.”

After assembling a group of 15 bright minds from his company for a weekend brainstorming session, the answer to his question came back loud and clear. The future of moving was rooted in evolving both how customers goods were stored and moved. Instead of using cardboard boxes or wooden crates as storage, customers goods would be packed in secure, modular steel cubes. Instead of custom moving trailers, these cubes could be transported in any standard freight truck or by rail.

A BUSINESS MODEL RIPE FOR DISRUPTION

For long-distance moves, customers often can’t fill an entire large moving truck. For a moving company, this means the customer’s contents get unloaded and stored temporarily in a warehouse until they can add another client’s contents to fill up the truck.

To add to the inefficiencies, the contents of the partially loaded truck need to be unloaded and then reloaded when there is enough cargo to fill the truck. This ends up making the whole moving process slower and more expensive (for both the customer and the moving company) It also makes the cargo more vulnerable to damage and loss.

At the heart of Bowsers concept for using modular storage cubes, was the fact that they could be shipped like a parcel on any freight truck or a train, instead of relying on filling a custom built moving trailer. This innovation alone could reduce the time it takes to move a client by up to 75%. In addition, giving the customer sole access to lock and unlock the cubes would prevent loss and vastly reduce the chance of cargo getting damage.

BEST LAID PLANS & NEW BEGINNINGS

The initial design for the crates didn’t exactly go as planned. They were too heavy and too large. Also, there was no reliable, affordable and scalable system for loading the cubes into trailers .

Other companies had tried their hand at similar ventures but created containers that were way too complicated and expensive and still didn’t offer the benefits Bruce had identified.

Not easily deterred, Bruce went looking for a partner to help him address these challenges. In 2014, he was introduced to Ray (founder of Inertia) through a mutual work colleague. Equipped with hard earned knowledge and experience from his first attempt at designing the crates, Bruce quickly realized that Inertia was the design and manufacturing partner he needed to bring his vision to market.

stacked crates_preview

INERTIA BECOMES A CO-INVESTOR

The timing was also good for Inertia. Ray was was looking to shift Inertia’s focus from being strictly an outsourced provider of product design services – to creating joint ventures with selected clients whose businesses showed substantial promise. For Ray, this meant that the stakes were now higher. Inertia would not only take on the challenge of getting the cubes designed and manufactured – but also contribute as a business partner and co-investor with skin in the game.

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Building on the key learnings from the first generation designs, Inertia set out to design a crate that addressed the initial shortcomings. From improved function to light-weighting, to cost reduction, the Inertia team worked closely with a container manufacturer to design a container that would simultaneously serve the moving and self-storage industry. “When you look at this container it may seem like such a pedestrian product – and it is. What you don’t see are all the small details that have been prototyped, testing, redesigned, and retested – all of which contributes to its wide range of use and ease of adoption, both of which delivers a competition crushing value proposition and business case.” says Minato.

A NEW WAY TO STORE AND MOVE YOUR STUFF

  • Primarily made of steel
  • Shipped to customer locations across country in dry freight trailers or in ISO containers by rail
  • Empty Weight: 1,500lb
  • Cargo Weight Capacity: 2,000lb
  • Dimensions: 88”L x 92”W x 100”H
  • Patent pending double door system allows for walk through loading between multiple containers
expressvault3_preview

WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW?

After 2 years of pilot testing inside AMJ’s internal moving business, ExpressVaults was launched in 2017 and has over 600 containers currently in circulation. Over the next two years, it is expected that over 10,000 containers will be manufactured and deployed.

Plans are underway to franchise the business in Canada and then the US. Beyond ramping up production to meet growing demand, Inertia is also currently working on phase 2 of the project which involves adding B2C delivery solutions as well as IoT tracking and locking feature for the containers.

The technology will allow customers to track the location of their container(s) in real time as well as monitor and control the IoT lock from an app on their mobile phone. Customers will get location updates as their possessions are moving across the country and have 100% visibility on there whereabouts, which is a level of transparency not found in that industry. IoT enabled locks will also enable access control through smart-phones as well as remote unlocking capabilities.

To learn more about investment opportunities with Inertia’s early stage hardware projects, get in touch with us.

What our clients are saying
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