Technology has always been the catalyst for improving productivity and profitability in businesses all over the globe. It is seen as a purveyor of beneficial changes that often leads to revolutionizing the whole field it is applied to and transforming operations to an altogether new level of unparalleled efficiency. However, in the past couple of years, advancements in technology has brought with it a sense of fear and anxiety. This time, businesses might not end up using the technological advancements for their own good, but rather the technology will replace the company altogether. The pace at which automation has progressed in recent times has made the scenario of humans being replaced by intelligent machines a possibility that could be realized within the next two decades. Unprecedented progress in the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning has brought forth inventions that were previously restricted to Hollywood sci-fi movies. Even a decade ago, no one could have thought that a truck could drive a consignment of 50,000 cans of beer on the interstate highway all by itself, without the need for human intervention. However, Uber’s self-driving firm, Otto’s indigenously developed self-driving truck achieved precisely that feat and that too, a good year ago.
Such a phenomenal achievement has started to feel like old news. Yes, this is the incredible pace at which automation is progressing in different spheres of operations. And this breakneck speed of automation has caught many businesses by surprise, especially those who are in the immediate vulnerability of being either first in the line of victims or first to learn and adapt on how to ride this never-before-seen wave through to the next level.
The most significant effect that automation will have is on businesses involved in the transportation business in one way or another. However, these firms, contrary to expectations, have not lost their footing in the face of the unprecedented wave. Instead, they have started to find pragmatic ways to tackle the automation storm. The moving business has probably been present in one way or the other since humans first started to move from one city to the other in search of more peaceful surroundings or better work opportunities. This business has always been handled in a very traditional and conventional manner irrespective of the size or scale of intended operations. But, as the automation storm progresses fast towards its shores, even this conventional moving business, which generally had very little complexity, needs to react quickly and change or risk losing it all off in the next few years.
The trends in moving are at a record low in the US market with just 11.2% of the population moving their abodes in between 2015-2016. And on top of that, according to research, just 22% of families or people planning a move, hire a professional moving service. The rest do it themselves because moving firms getting involved seems to people like they would have to incur unnecessary expenses. A big turn off indeed. The industry needs to push its costs down, and that might happen if the automation storm is weathered through sheer pragmatism and innovation of the moving industry. They also need to offer some perks in order to attract potential clients and moving coupons and deals would be good nut to crack.
For moving businesses, automation has somewhat been a Godsend. The industry undoubtedly has faced numerous challenges when it comes to adaptability, but these problems have given the ‘moving industry’ room to expand and grow farther out, something which was not possible up till now. Moving businesses have firstly, started to deploy cloud-based management platforms that help them in fleet management, route planning, charting out better delivery plans, reducing time inefficiencies and above all, reducing mistakes down to considerable levels. This has allowed businesses to grow in a domain. Most of the moving companies remain incredibly small in size, with just around 8.5% of total companies managing more than a 100 employees. These work operation tools could help lower the price of moving down to considerable levels as businesses grow and start enjoying economies of scale, which in turn will drive more business and increase profitability. The consumer would also definitely benefit from it, and this phenomenon is coinciding with the increase in the number of people looking to move from their cities and states to other areas. Business could boom for moving businesses in the next few years if they are able to harness the improvements brought forth by automation.
The millennial generation now constitutes the largest agglomeration of people in the US, but they have been quite reluctant regarding moving as compared to previous generations. Just 20% millennials moved out in the last year, and the trend seems to be dying down. Partly to blame is the cumbersome nature of moving which the easy-going millennials don’t particularly enjoy. Nearly two-thirds of employees in 2017 had refused when they were offered a chance to relocate. Two-thirds say a lot when it comes to singling out preferences when it comes to considering moving or staying put. They would rather stay put than incur extra costs on moving or doing this task by themselves.
If the moving companies utilize automation, i.e., employ driverless trucks in their fleets in the future or deploy better and more efficiency inducing methods of cutting costs like proper fleet management and booking platforms, fuss-free load planning, and route management, maybe the millennials would get prompted to move more than they currently are. Otherwise, the trend seems to be dying down. The moving industry can learn a good lesson from the trucking industry which has dramatically validated itself as the core transportation line of the country by deploying automation to great use and making things easy to get integrated within its performance chain.
Customers, bookers, truckers, trucking companies have all become interconnected, and the trucking services have gone to become more facilitative than they ever were before. The moving industry can definitely find the same route for itself and rescue itself out of the spiral before the trucking industry places the moving industry within its helm and forces professional movers out of business for good in the not so distant future.
About the author:
Rachael Everly loves to write on the topics related to business leadership, finance, technology and education. Her passion and flare for writing got her to write for topics that interest her such as recent technological trends and how they shape the business world. Her thought-provoking writing style has made her work to be recognized on well-known websites. She has been featured on some of the top blogs such as Inman, Forbes, Escape Artist and many others currently associated with Equip Sells It, a heavy machinery and equipment dealer in Sanford, Florida for their blogging operations. Follow her on Twitter @RachaelEverly, become friends on Facebook and connect with her on Linkedin for further updates.