The packing and relocation industry has undergone a major transformation in the way it used to function and much of this can be attributed to the evolution of technology. From family-run business models, the industry has now moved to a different level of competency, with global corporations now participating in this space, making it heavily dependent on the use of technology and processes.
The last decade has seen companies investing heavily in technology for a seamless flow and to improve customer experience. Let’s look at some of the technologies currently in use in the sector.
For streamlining operations
Use of technology in business process enhancement including customised Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions, was very minimal about a decade back in the packing and relocation industry. Most software available in the past was generic in nature and were not customised for this industry. Today, there are more than ten 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, everything can be covered in a module. This allows for a seamless flow, enabling each business function to review the information and the management to take business decisions.
Be it sales, marketing, key accounts, customer service, operations, HR or finance, everything can be covered in a module. This allows for a seamless flow, enabling each business function to review the information and the management to take business decisions.
When it comes to better customer experience, the paper based pre-move surveys have been replaced by survey apps on the smart phones. This has helped in creating detailed survey reports, pictures, better volume estimate and quicker sharing of information. These apps also have the ability to offer instant quotes, giving a great customer experience.
Going a step further, there are also apps for video surveys, used often as an alternative to an on-site visit, enabling a surveyor to do the survey from any location.
The packing list and labelling, which earlier used to be hand written on paper is now prepared on handheld tablets. These can be uploaded directly into the ERP software, along with images of any exception. The machine also generates a barcode sticker for each package, ensuring better tracking at the time of loading and unloading, thereby reducing chances of a package going missing.
While the basic level of tracking of shipments has always been available, live tracking of shipments in the packing and relocation industry was not very prevalent. This facility is also being offered now with enhanced features enabling customers to know the live status of their shipments at any given point of time.
We can see traces of artificial intelligence in our business too. Though this is still in its infancy, innovations in AI are being used in pricing and as a consolidation tool. IoT too, though not much in use now, will gain traction as the industry grows.
— The writer is CEO, Interem, India and Middle East