America’s moving and storage industry is one of the most complex and diverse collections of businesses in the country. Despite its multi-million dollar companies and multi-thousand dollar ones; from large corporations to “mom-and-pop” operations, the moving industry faces its fair share of challenges.
For example, when it comes to staffing, becoming a truck driver used to be a respected career. However, it may come as no surprise that, driving a big rig isn’t what it used to be. Transportation and logistics companies employ some of the most industrious laborers in the nation. However, they are rarely recognized for providing the country with 70% of domestic freight transportation or operating 365 days a year.
America has a massive shortage of truck drivers, according to The Washington Post. “The driver shortage is already leading to delayed deliveries and higher prices for goods that Americans buy. The ATA predicts that it’s likely to get worse in the coming years.”
With the advent of new technology spurring alternative career paths and shying away from the rough lifestyle associated with the industry, millennials often have no interest in driving trucks for a living. All of this leaves the moving industry in a tight spot.
As a result, companies like International Van Lines and Mayflower are offering more incentives to recruit drivers, including paying for their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and offering higher wages. But it’s been challenging.
Technology plays a major role in the evolution and attractiveness of many industries, and the moving business has started to catch on.
Self-Driving Trucks Are The Future
For example, Tesla’s trucks focus on autopilot self-driving software similar to their cars. Tesla’s autopilot is a semi-autonomous system where the acceleration, braking, and steering is controlled by a computer, with a human still at the wheel at all times. While Embark is focused on automating the on-highway driving process, where most of the time is spent, and letting a driver take over when they get off an exit.
Self-driving trucks may have seemed like a plot twist from a futuristic film, but today they’re becoming a reality. The most common question is “are they safe.”
A better way to comprehend the safety to self-driving trucks is to consider the alternative, which is humans driving vehicles. There’s an average of 4,000 deaths each year in the U.S. from truck-related crashes, and 90% are from human error.
Although autonomous trucks haven’t been perfected, they are, in most cases, less flawed and thus can be safer than human drivers. Companies in the transportation and logistics industry that plan to adopt automated vehicle technology will inevitably lower and mitigate risk and are at the forefront of future innovations.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) In The Moving Industry
It used to be commonplace for moving companies to send a sales rep to your home for a moving estimate. He or she would spend 45 minutes walking through your home with a pen and pad to create an inventory list. In some cases, you’d get lucky with an accurate estimate. What a hassle, right?!
As it turns out, there’s a better way – thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence (AI). For example, companies like Yembo created AI that will automatically calculate the volume and weight of your household goods with a smartphone camera.
Movers send customers a Yembo link (no app download required). The customer can then use their phone’s camera to scan each room — it’s as easy as shooting a video. Yembo’s software uses AI to identify items in the room and creates an inventory list that is sent to the moving company. In turn, customers receive a much more realistic quote (within 10 percent). International Van Lines has been using their technology for six months and noticed major improvements with inventory accuracy and fewer complaints.
Portable Moving Containers Find Their Niche
You pack it, and they ship it! Portable moving containers are often a cost-effective moving option for many consumers who want more flexibility with their moving timeline.
Companies like U-Pack and SmartBox will drop a container at your door for you to pack and load-and they offer transparent terms. With the scams and lack of trust that plagues the moving industry, it’s a great way to have peace of mind.
Many people automatically assume they’ll save money by hiring a container company. However, depending on your moving needs, they can be more expensive than hiring a professional mover. The cost associated with operating a POD company is extremely high, so conduct a price comparison before you make your decision.
Tackling Top Moving Complaints
International Van Lines handles over 15,000 moves annually which are made up of long-distance and international moves. Approximately 8 percent of those moves turn into complaints. The main complaints received are damages and delays.
Unlike FedEx or UPS, long-distance moving doesn’t have routes. Routes are created based on how many moves we have in a specific area. So, when planning your next move, if you request a specific delivery date, we can only offer a window, unless you have an exclusive truck.
Moving is handled by humans, which means there will always be a margin of human error. However, we’re always trying to come up with new ways to minimize the occurrence of damage and delays.
Joshua Morales is the president and founder of International Van Lines, Inc. IVL is one of the largest private long-distance and international moving companies in the nation. If you have questions about moving or would like to receive a free moving quote please feel free to contact us at any time.