In our last blog, we talked about the size and scope of global supply chains and how Dwellworks has been successfully managing through pandemic challenges. We’re continuing the conversation with a discussion about supply chain experience/depth as a value differentiator. Let’s pick up the interview with Jeff Wynes, VP, Supply Chain, Global Destination Services and Debbie Woodley, VP, Supply Chain, Temporary Living.
What’s the unique Dwellworks value proposition for global mobility and business travel?
Debbie. Our job is to deliver an answer to client needs, and foremost among those needs in temporary housing are choice, price, and service. It’s hard to lead with choice when your business model is asset management, and your business priority is managing occupancy. And it’s hard to commit to complex service management if your business model is a click-fee tech platform and you are looking to maximize your margins with as little service overhead cost as possible. All models have their value, of course. Ours is, uniquely, solutions and service. We do not champion any particular property and we do not simply connect buyer and seller in a marketplace, because the client's expectation is for much more.
To provide solutions and service, at competitive costs and without bias, you have to have a great supply chain and a very reliable system for communicating with supplier partners. And having a competitive edge helps, our edge is Destination Services and the globally local experts that Jeff and his team manage. I’ve got a great global team and partner network, what makes it extraordinary is access to 1500 local experts in our DS network who speak the local language, can negotiate with the local landlords, and understand the housing expectations of a corporate traveler.
We’ve used our Destination Service partners to source housing for automobile manufacturers in Mexico, to house biotech trainees in a resort town in the Black Forest, to onboard trainees and new hires in Guangzhou, and find the perfect ‘off market’ options for film and media executives in Brooklyn. We deliver access to unique options, on top of a great global supply chain. It took years to build and committed, ongoing investment in technology and talent to offer our clients the deepest and most reliable solutions in the industry.
Jeff: Our unique value in Destination Services is global ubiquity and local expertise. As Debbie said, basically, we’re everywhere. Clients could choose to manage dozens of different providers in multiple countries, but we’re here to make that choice simpler and less expensive, without sacrificing the wisdom of local resources and the empathy of a person who’s lived your experience. Our team is really local: people who live in the same city, commute on the same transportation systems, send kids to the local schools, eat and shop at local services and have been through the transition stage of ‘Will I like it here? How do I get connected? Who are my local resources?” Every experience really is diverse and unique and we’ve built our network by design to be aware, supportive and inclusive of the full range of the global workforce we work with every day. Not bragging, but we have won every major service recognition in our field…highest-rated, supplier of the year, platinum service, circle of excellence, and our favorite, ‘’best partner to the global mobility client.”
Let’s wrap up with retention and development. What makes a good network thrive?
Jeff: At Dwellworks, we’re unapologetically customer- and client-centric. Our business model is built around identifying unsolved needs, providing solutions, and continuously improving. We think of our suppliers as peers in the service ecosystem. We don’t ‘hand off’ to them, we don’t pass blame onto them, and we definitely do not pressure them financially. We treat them as equal contributors to the shared success of our client service
A quick comment, by the way, on using independent consultants versus FTEs. That’s intentional. We’re committed to coverage, and clients move more people to Seattle than they do to Yakima; to Toronto than to Yellowknife, to London than Leeds. To meet the on-demand, personalized service requirements of variable destinations and volume, we need a variable and diverse workforce; that’s why we recruit Consultants who are independent by choice. We could deliver service with full-time employees, but our range would be smaller, our diversity would be less, our fixed costs would be higher, and our clients would be obligated to add more suppliers and more administrative burden to their program management.
Our Consultants are our window to customer needs and expectations. We value their local expertise, and they value our ability to bring them opportunities through our service framework. We understand and expect variability; some Consultants have worked with us for 20 years while others are more recently onboarded and thriving. We provide the tools and support, they deliver the results; so far, it’s been a very workable design and one that’s allowed both our local experts and our customers to thrive.
Debbie: This is such an important aspect of the supply chain. Our partners are not the ‘last in line’, they are truly part of a virtuous circle. We ask ourselves every day: ‘What can we at Dwellworks Living do to make working with us a preferred choice of our suppliers? “ For starters a sourcing and selection system they trust because we have no property-ownership or inventory bias. We also ensure that our partners can work efficiently in our system, providing fast, compliant responses to customer requests for housing. We take the time to train them and provide tools to make their interaction with our technology as easy as possible.
They obviously get access to volume and opportunity. And they get the opportunity to exceed expectations. If a supplier wants to earn that consumer-grade business, appealing to that mindset, then they need to go the extra distance. We are happy to promote the features, benefits and services each partner invests in differentiating their properties and units.
What else? Compliance and Sustainability. We’re a source of information and facts. We clearly communicate our duty of care, HSSE, data privacy, and financial stability requirements and more. We guide on sustainability practice and certification. And we’re open in our feedback. Suppliers around the world know the Dwellworks Living supply chain team. Our brand starts with integrity, and I have never, ever heard a supplier or client challenge us on that ground.
And that means a lot because suppliers get asked to be in a lot of supply chains, and it’s hard work to perform at a high level for the high expectations of global business travelers, relocating executives and their employers. Suppliers would rather work with partners who aggregate more opportunity and simplify their lives.
The temporary housing sourcing process is not improved by multiple bids all sent to the same local supplier. The best option is a core solutions manager who presents all appropriate supplier choices and doesn’t ask inventory providers to also function as supply-chain managers. It’s added work with a low likelihood of creating more competitive pricing and 100% likelihood of adding cost. Clients and suppliers like our candor. They know we will use facts and data to tell our story, and we’ll always do that in a people-first, respectful way.
To learn more about our supply chain difference and read our Case Studies in Destination Services and Temporary Housing, contact us here!