Issue - July/August 2021


Automation for a
Seamless Experience

By Anu Dattani, Vice President, Universal Relocations

We at Universal Relocations have always been technologically driven and have always sought to use advanced software to meet the demands of the industry.

Implementing state-of-the-art digital processes to amplify the efficiency of our work has always been a vital tool in ensuring a seamless experience for our clients. Thus, the obligation of automating communication online during the pandemic was no obstacle as our team at Universal were well equipped to work from home. We were able to effortlessly adapt to online alternatives for tasks that weren’t normally done virtually. We took advantage of Ring central video calls and required our team to be active in the conference during their regular eight-hour working time period in order to replicate real-time team coordination at home. Moreover, in order to replace at-home pre-move surveys, we implemented the Shyft virtual survey tool to protect both our team and our clients from unnecessary exposure.

To prevent unnecessary employee layoffs when business was initially slower than expected at the beginning of the lockdown, we optimized our time implementing training programs to hone our employees’ skills. Here at Universal, we are driven less by profit than by our passion for the work that we do. Thus, when India was gravely affected by soaring COVID-19 cases and was facing a dire shortage of oxygen concentrators, we directed our resources to aid the crisis. We organized oxygen concentrators and other donations of COVID-19 relief materials to be shipped to India from the U.S. via air, free of cost. Our calls for donations on our social media platforms exceeded our expected engagement and our sales teams were occupied with thousands of phone calls and messages from all over the country. We were able to successfully ship between 2,500 and 3,000 units of oxygen concentrators to India. Hence, fortunately, there was no shortage of work at Universal as both our teams in the U.S. and India were thoroughly dedicated to delivering relief aid to those in need.

The corporate culture within the company has changed drastically due to the aforementioned incorporation of online tools—which substantially eased initial anxiety about poor job performance. Our employees were quick to adapt to working completely online and grew increasingly comfortable working from their homes. Surprisingly, this has also significantly increased work efficiency. Therefore, even now that lockdown restrictions have been lifted across most of the U.S., we permit our non-essential workers to continue working from home, even if vaccinated. As for our team in India, we made it mandatory for all employees to receive vaccinations, even though the government of India has not made it imperative. We reimbursed the vaccination charges for all our 150 employees and additionally granted a seven-day paid vacation period as an incentive to encourage them to get vaccinated. At this point, we can assure that our employees in both countries are 100% vaccinated.

With regards to the government regulations in both countries—India and the U.S.—inland charges have significantly increased along with packing material costs. Although financial aid from the American government such as the PPP and SBA disaster loans served as a temporary lifeline during these catastrophic times, generating regular sales during the interval of low economic activity with seaports shut was a huge threat to the livelihoods of people in the mobility industry. Yet, in order to persevere our enthusiasm for our profession, we continue to operate on minimum profit margins.