Issue - July/August 2022

IAM-YP FOCUS: THE NEXT GENERATION OF LEADERS IS HERE

Moving to the Fore With 21st Century Relocations

Amit Thakker, Partner, 21st Century Relocations

Change is the only constant, rightly said the philosopher Heraclitus. Relocating is one of the most important forms of change that opens us up to new opportunities, lifestyles, and experiences. At 21st Century Relocations, we empower and help support this change through our competency and efficiency.


Since we got established in 1998, we have carried out thousands of home, office, art, automobile, pet, and other relocation tasks. Each time we have learned to improve, which now shows in our growth as an organization since we laid the first brick, over 20 years ago. I feel this is our strongest suit.


Forging Stronger Bonds with Our Employees


At 21st Century Relocations, my brother Nirav Thakker and I focus on communication, teamwork, and letting our employees learn from their mistakes as those provide the greatest learnings. Instead of penalizing our employees, we explain them to that it’s natural to make mistakes; but avoid repeating the same one. Thus, we create a work culture where there is learning and encouragement. This is because of two reasons: one, we understand that there is no standard operating procedure to follow as each project’s needs and challenges are different and often customized for our client’s needs; and two, we want our employees to have high work satisfaction and workplace happiness. ‘Training is the necessity of life’ and I believe it should be an ongoing process. I place highest significance on training and skill development and it keeps our teams substantially motivated to outmatch.


During the pandemic we provided insurance to our employees and their families to aid in case they had to incur expenses while battling COVID-19. We also made sure they were all regularly tested and felt they were taken care of. All our employees were assured home to work site pick up and drop facilities which gave assurance to our customers but most importantly, absolute safety to our employees and their families.


Technologically Wise


Also, during the pandemic, we introduced a virtual survey infrastructure to assess relocation requirements, ensuring the safety of our clients and our teams. This also helped us optimize our costs and increase productivity. We also use an enterprise resource planning tool to track our processes from lead generation to invoicing. I am currently looking to adopt different tools to strengthen our work processes further in India and across the globe. One of the initiatives I undertook was to engage in a virtual meeting every morning with team leaders. This custom has continued even in hybrid mode as I found it to be very constructive.


Leading, Supporting and Being Part of a Network of Business Owners


When I joined the company, I had no formal business training and learned everything on the job with the help of my brother Nirav, who had joined the business five years before I did. I understood that I wanted to be a democratic leader and guide my team instead of micro-managing, to ensure we met our goals seamlessly. I also kept an eye open and became a part of a large network of other business owners who helped me become better at what I do. 


Breaking Barriers


One of the biggest barriers we have had to navigate is changing age-old and time-consuming processes and helping our team pick up on the newer e-tools that were available for higher productivity. This required training them for the mindset change as well as helping them upskill. This by far has been the biggest challenge we have faced—to make our team understand the new way of doing things. We have come a long way now and intend to stay relevant.


The Path Ahead


During the pandemic, when international borders were closed, we strengthened our business in India and upped our domestic game. We opened a new domestic division and are looking to progressively expand in India. Apart from own operations in India and the United States, our target is setting up offices around the globe in this decade, and I believe this is just the beginning. 


I think the relocation industry plays a huge role in the world economy; we are responsible to get people and things moving. I hope to lead my organization into a tomorrow where we continue to affect change and grow multifold.