Packing and relocation industry has undergone a major transformation in the way they used to function and much of this can be attributed to the technological evolution. From family run business models (with lot of micromanagement), like many other industries, this industry too has moved into a different competency level, to the extent that global corporations have started participating in this space, making it heavily dependent on technology and process.
The last decade has seen companies investing heavily in technology for a seamless flow and to improve customer experience. While both these aspects complement each other, the value add towards business process enhancement is different from the customer experience. I will try to breakdown the same and share the kind of technology that is being used in both these areas.
Technology used for business process enhancement includes customised CRM and ERP solutions that were very minimal for the packing and relocation industry, about a decade back. Most software available in the past was generic in nature and not customized for this industry. Today, there are more than 10 providers who have created solutions for packing and relocation companies to track information from an enquiry level to collections. Be it sales, marketing, key accounts, customer service, operations, HR or finance, all gets covered in a module which allows for a seamless flow, enabling each business function to review the information, as well as, for the management to take business decisions, all of which was previously either very cumbersome to collate or not available at all.
As far as use of technology for a better customer experience, the paper based pre- move surveys are now being done using survey app with the help of smart phones. This has helped in detailed survey reports, pictures, better volume estimate and quicker sharing of information to the user and office. These apps also have the ability for instant quotes giving a great customer experience.
Going a step further, there are also apps for video surveys, as an alternative to an on-site visit and enabling a surveyor to do the survey from any location. This is beneficial for both the surveyor and customer as it saves a lot of time, while ensuring that the survey content remains available for review at anytime, along with the discussion done during the video survey.
The packing list and labelling which used to be hand written (on paper) is now prepared on the handheld tablets and uploaded directly into the ERP software, along with images of any exception. The machine also generates barcode sticker for each package ensuring better tracking at the time of loading and unloading, thereby, reducing chances of any package going missing.
While basic level tracking of shipments has been always available, live tracking of shipments in the packing and relocation industry was not very prevalent. That is also being offered now, with enhanced features enabling the customers to know the live status of their shipments at any given point of time.
We can see some trace of AI in our business, which are being used in pricing and as a consolidation tool, though this is still in an infancy stage. IoT too, though not much in use now, but as this industry grows, it is expected that the technology companies will focus more on the packing and relocation industry.