Relo is moving into a paperless age. The question is, is it willingly, or is it kicking and screaming?
Amongst the industry, there is a split between those who are totally on board with the transition towards paperless as technology looms large, and those who are completely against it, those who don't see the point.
In between these two groups, obviously, there are undecideds. those who can see some pros, but are wary or still not fully convinced.
Big players such as Unigroup and Sirva are pushing to go completely paperless.
As the transition into a paperless age has sped up, an open market for paperless tech has developed.
This is both good and bad. On the plus side, competition has resulted in lower prices in some instances and a greater choice for the consumer.
The downside is that some tech partners are willing to exploit gaps in the knowledge of relo industry players to sell them products that may not be in their best interests.
A lot of the technology involved is unknown. That is to be expected given that relo, as an industry, generally has been a relatively late adopter of technology.
With that in mind, and as one of the partners in question, we thought we'd try to offer a little help.
Here's what you need to ask software companies to make sure you get a deal that gives you all the benefits of going paperless:
Realistically, if they have not included this in their initial sales pitch to you, that is a red flag. They should have testimonials or case studies from the industry, ideally from companies with a similar set of operations to your own.
If you hear tech sales people saying you will save tens of thousands of dollars every month, or several hundred dollars per move, question that. Do they have a case study from another client that supports their figures? A good general rule of thumb is that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Whatever the moving technology you’re integrating, whatever the software you’re going to be training your team on, there needs to be a very clear implementation schedule. This will include integrating the tech with your current CRM, adapting it to your processes and workflows and vice-versa, and getting your team fully trained on the new software.
If you’re uncomfortable with the schedule provided, either because it’s too long, or because it seems unrealistically short, raise your concerns. Again, the software company should have case studies or testimonials showing successful implementations, ideally from other relo companies.
If you’re happy with the answers you get to these three questions, you might be getting closer to your tech partner. If they have clients who are similar to you and who are happy with the service provided, that’s a very good sign.
If you have heard good things about them from your industry connections, that’s another good sign.
If they are transparent and open about their tech, their implementation, and they have a proven track record of saving companies time and money, that’s another good sign.
And the right moving tech can help your business in a number of ways. As well as faster inventories and video surveys, you can make your claims process digital, with electronic claim forms and more.
On top of that, the right tech can automatically update your entire supply chain every time you get a customer signature. Making sure everyone in the supply chain is on the same page, with the same information at the same time, can streamline your communications.
At this point, some of you will be asking the question, what about the customers? Will we still be able to provide our customers with the service they expect while we’re implementing new software? Will they benefit from moving technology?
From our perspective, getting the right moving technology to work with will enable you to provide customers with a more seamless experience.
Your customers are used to products like Uber, Airbnb, and GoogleMaps. Which is to say they’re used to instant service and instant results. Moving is no different.
Your customers now expect specific time frames and a short cycle for getting things done and being updated. They want to know where their possessions are every step of the way. Tracking them should no longer be an optional extra, it should be a standard service.
All this points to moving tech becoming a bigger and bigger part of the equation as the relocation industry moves towards a paperless future.
Eventually, there will be a tipping point, beyond which going paperless will no longer be an option, but more an obligation.
So now is a better time than ever to start thinking about the questions you need to ask potential tech partners and the answers you should be looking for.