Portal Focus - May/June 2021
FOCUS ON TECHNOLOGY IN THE MOVING INDUSTRY
We’ve Come a Long Way—Moving Tech Through the Years
By Sandra Clary, Director of Business Development, Enterprise Database Corporation (EDC)
Enhancing Connections and Communications
Many of us remember when business was done with pen and paper, a landline phone, typewriter and carbon paper (with no ability to edit), snail-mail, depositing payments during “banker’s hours” only, and searching for information in rows of file cabinets.
If a truck was en route and plans changed, you had to wait until the driver called in from a pay phone to communicate the change. Payments and forms received at the curb couldn’t be processed until the driver returned. When rates, policies, or tools changed, communicating and enforcing compliance with team members across locations, offices, and schedules was challenging. And, the amount of time spent doing repetitive and sometimes duplicate tasks kept teams buried in paperwork rather than being free for higher-value connections with prospects, customers, and partners.
With no cell phone, GPS, or office computers, operations could be disconnected, mired in inefficiencies, difficult to scale, manual, and only in cartoons such as The Jetsons could work proceed automatically while we slept. As business moved forward, visionaries saw the opportunity and the need to leverage technology to execute more consistently with greater scalability, increased customer satisfaction, better cost containment, and fewer breaks in compliance.
Even then, most companies had multiple systems and devices that were cumbersome and didn’t interconnect, including huge “mobile” phones, a separate camera for surveys (and going to the photo shop to get photos developed), pagers, day planners, maps, calculators, clipboards, measuring tape, Rolodexes, account ledgers, reminder notes, and more. In the office, one function might be viewed in an Access database; another in Excel; another on paper lists punctuated by sticky notes and lots of folders, and all viewable only when at your desk, with no syncing internally or externally. There had to be a better way!
This is where our EDC technology story intersected with the moving industry. When Chuck Bailey asked us to develop a system that could unify processes, connect people, manage shipments, and communicate across companies and borders, Richard and Diana Corona, EDC’s CEO and President respectively, took up the challenge and developed what became EDC-MoveStar®, a move management and automation solution solving for these challenges.
Just as impactful for the industry is EDC’s GOgistiX network, which connects moving companies, agents, van lines, suppliers, crews, consumers, and third-party systems, establishing data standards and facilitating real-time, two-way communications that enable the integrated business flow, efficiencies, and shipment distribution that are foundational to the success of movers large and small, domestic and international.
“EDC has brought the industry together in so many ways, from sharing shipment data to claims history, and everything in between. It seems like you’re only one click away to staying in the know and adapting to the fast changes in this industry,” shared Christopher Lantz, Bekins.
EDC’s goal is to develop technology that enables movers to set rules for automated shipment distribution and acceptance, saving time and maximizing opportunity. Workflows can guide and automate best-practices and next steps so that movers and their customers benefit from a more consistent and compliant process, while still personalized. Mover tariffs enable movers to rate and quote directly from the same system and apps, saving time and keystrokes.
Move coordinators dispatch with one click or with automated rules. Job costing can be associated with specific services, providers, or locations, saving staff time and enforcing accuracy. Mobile apps empower flexibility with e-docs and e-signatures on-site, as well as electronic payments at the curb. Shipments can be tracked, leads converted, and performance reviewed. When you add contracts and document management and virtual surveys, this technology is clearly helping movers do more and do it more efficiently.
“The value in the tech is in the benefit that it brings movers, their customers, and clients. EDC’s collaborative ‘by movers for movers’ development process also brings industry benefit by including movers from the start,” said Diana Corona.
During this past year’s challenges, tech adoption was more conspicuous than ever. “With the onset of COVID-19,” shared Emily Kozubowski of Apple Moving, “our IT team lead by Kit Rash was able to swiftly execute a plan to get all ten of our locations working in remote environments without causing a disruption to our customers. The transition was seamless.”
Tech-enabled efficiencies and automations free staff for more strategic, high-value activities. Unified reporting and predictive analytics give leadership better insights. Time and money are saved and business is strengthened when communications flow securely and easily for all parties.
Working with the industry, EDC’s tech solutions continue to evolve as we develop for the moving industry’s tomorrows. Oded Carmi of DN Van Lines summed it up in this way: “We had a lot of different products that team members use, and we needed to figure out how to communicate with each other, and how to integrate. The fact that EDC can consolidate military, COD, commercial; etc. all in one tech solution—that’s what EDC’s GOgistiX does for us.”