I have been in the moving industry now since 1998 and we have had some significant changes.
I remember when I first started learning to estimate household goods moves. My instructor would say that the labor it takes to load 12,000 pounds today is the same as it was 50 years ago, no make that 100 years ago. That logic is pretty hard to argue with. The household goods side of our industry does stay fairly static and I think that might be why I have focused my career on the commercial side of our business.
The commercial side is different. We don’t have pricing tariffs or care how much weight the total shipment is; we get to deal with constant change and that is what makes it challenging. Otherwise I probably would have found something else to do long ago.
In the commercial or office and warehouse moving side of the business I have the ability to be the general contractor of a move. I work with clients, building managers, multiple vendors that deal with a variety of services but what I have been focused on lately is what might be on the horizon and I would suggest that maybe a few of you have as well.
What will the future of office moving look like? Will companies maintain the same amount of office space and then therefore one could ask if they will maintain the same amount of furniture. Will companies continue to increase the virtual work space or will they find that efficiency and water cooler talk are too important to maintaining company culture.
What technology is going to impact our industry? I don’t think that someone is going to invent the flying moving truck in my lifetime but crates have certainly changed our industry. Mobile technology is changing the way we do proposals and I would think that there will be an iPad application in the next year that will make pricing a move easier and faster. I would also foresee an iPad application that the crew will take as the bill of lading that they can have the customer sign, and of course that will automatically generate an email to the client with that document. What about radio frequency technology? Will RFI allow us to track all furniture moved, keep up with our equipment, and help control cost or will we waste labor hours learning how to use a cumbersome system for what are predecessors would have used pen and paper and done just fine.
Our raw materials are our personnel. How we shape, mold and manage our raw materials determines how viable we will be in the market.
To me it is always fun to take a step back and imagine what will be and then push to make it happen.