Portal Focus - May/June 2021
FOCUS ON TECHNOLOGY IN THE MOVING INDUSTRY
A European Marketplace—for Movers, by Movers
By Stefan Dimitrov, Vice President, FEDEMAC
Enhancing Connections and Communications
From Amazon to Uber, many traditional industries are reeling from external disruptors seizing a market opportunity and leaving just scraps on the table for the traditional industry players. With that in mind, the European trade association FEDEMAC has embarked on a technology initiative to create a comprehensive marketplace for moving companies in Europe where the benefits stay with the moving industry.
“As we looked at creating true value for members of FEDEMAC, we saw a number of gaps in the European moving market that have been or could be exploited by disruptors,” said Stefan Dimitrov of FEDEMAC. “The first was lead generation, where a number of external third-party companies already compete.” As a result, FEDEMAC made their website customer-facing so that consumers could enter their move details or locate FEDEMAC members in a directory.
The second and larger project was to improve the operational efficiency of the industry through technology. Traditionally, moving companies with trucks traveling in Europe seek backloads in an informal way by reaching out to partners or sending an email of their weekly truck locations. Sometimes this method is successful, but all too often moving companies would return empty with obvious consequences to the profitability of the trip and to the environment. “It is not unusual for a British mover to have a truck returning from France empty and then the following day to have French truck headed to the UK with a load,” said Stefan.
To provide a more structured solution, FEDEMAC continues to develop “FEDEMAC Exchange,” a technology platform that matches moving companies who have a shipment to a specific area with a moving company with a truck headed in the same direction. Within a few minutes, a moving company (known as the shipper) can enter the origin and destination details of a European move, and the platform will suggest a recommended match based upon details entered by the moving company organizing a European trip (known as the carrier). The shipper and carrier are then able to negotiate a rate for the service through the platform, creating a win-win for both.
“We are continuing to make FEDEMAC Exchange easier for moving companies to use,” said Stefan. “Our original test platform was probably too complex and put some moving companies off, but we are getting to a point where it is very easy and intuitive. We are seeing at least one large relocation management company expressing an interest in using the platform to move their shipments cost-effectively using quality moving companies.”
The platform also allows users to “black-list” or “white-list” moving companies that they choose to work with, providing a customized approach for some, or a wider network for others.
Another area set for growth is “FEDEMAC Market,” a site where moving companies can buy and sell anything from equipment to trucks and materials. In the near future, FEDEMAC plans to expand the Exchange to include international groupage shipments.
“Thankfully, although very relevant to moving companies in the United Kingdom and Europe, the specialized nature and limited market size of the European moving industry has not attracted the attention of any disruptors to date. With the commitment of FEDEMAC members and other moving companies in Europe to use the technology, we can keep the rewards from the efforts of previous generations of movers with the moving industry itself,” concluded Stefan.