It wasn’t many years ago that computerised management systems for removals companies was considered to be unachievable. There are just too many variables: customers, destinations, types of job, materials, staff. Today, however, there are lots of systems out there all, to a greater or lesser degree, have mastered the problem. The choice of system is largely down to price, usability and what the system will do.
One company, Moveware, though not new on the global scene, is currently making a big push in the UK and Europe. It’s USP? According to Jeff Mason, who has spent most of his working life in the moving industry and has recently defected to head up the company’s European marketing team, it’s flexibility. Making the system work as you work, not the other way around. Making it suit you.
The company was started in 2001 by Dean and Tony Kent from Kent International in Melbourne. They were unhappy with the system their company was using and wanted something better. The company quickly spread from its Australian roots and now has four operational centres: Melbourne, Bangkok, Toronto and London. Although it’s had a presence in London since 2007, now that Jeff has joined the marketing effort, business has begun hotting up.
“It’s a fully integrated system,” said Jeff. “It handles domestic or international moves from survey to file closed. For commercial customers or fine art shippers it supports bar code inventory to manage clients’ assets. It does everything a mover wants it to do, in the way they want it done.”
A perception with movers has always been that they have their own ways of doing things and don’t want to change to fit in with a new computer system. However, Jeff explained that there really is no need for them to worry. Today’s systems are designed to work for the users and their customers and don’t require anyone to ‘fit in’ with what the system requires.
“Flexibility is the key,” said Jeff. “Look at the systems of our existing users around the world and they appear quite different. That’s because the basic system has been customised to mirror the way the company operated anyway. Because we have done it many times before it’s possible that, during the implementation process, a customer will choose to adopt the way we do things because they can see it’s better than what they already have. But there really is no need to do that. We can make the system fit anyone.”
Moveware is, undoubtedly a complex product. Not only does it handle the move documentation it controls finances, vehicle servicing schedules, staffing, client management, customer satisfaction surveys and much more. It is equally suitable for single or multiple site operations. Moveclient is a web application that handles online enquiries and provides a separate sales analysis to help direct marketing spend. Movetransfer is a powerful system for transferring shipping documentation to users worldwide without the need for double entry. And new products and add-ons are being developed all the time to meet client demands.
“But you don’t have to have everything,” said Jeff. “Every function is on a separate tab on the system so you can just turn off the ones you don’t want. When needs change, you turn them back on again.”
As operational costs continue to rise and margins are constantly squeezed, it has become essential for companies to automate as much as possible. Just by automating monthly storage invoicing a company could save the cost of the computer system and get the rest of the benefits free. “I know some people who are still sending out paper performance reports,” said Jeff. “That should all be automated, especially for multi-branch operations where the quality control is handles centrally.”
Despite the benefits, many people are concerned about the set-up costs and the disruption to the business during the transition. The costs, of course, vary depending on the level of complexity and customisation involved but Jeff said that it would be impossible not to make enough savings to pay for the system. “All in it probably works out at about a week’s wages per operator, per year,” he said. “Every customer will save that in time saving alone.” Moveware makes every effort to avoid any business interruption during the changeover. Of course, the real benefit is the enhancement of the customer service which, now computerised management systems have become the norm, is essential if you are to keep up with the 21st century industry.
But Jeff has a word of caution for new adopters. “You’ve got to do the training,” he said. “There’s no point in having a system if you don’t know how to get the best from it.” He adds that there is no need to train staff on every aspect of the system right from the start. “Just make sure they know how to do the everyday things and then build up the training as they become more relaxed with the system or as the business needs change.”
Moveware has achieved much success worldwide in the last 15 years with large companies and small. In fact Jeff recently presented at the OMNI conference in Zambia and, as a result, received enquiries from more of the industry’s market leaders. But would it suit you? www.moveware.com.au to find out. Photo: The Moveware office. Click here to view the next Editor's pick.