How AI and machine learning are transforming the global moving industry

Aug 29 | 2018

Lucas F Thierfelder, a HR consultant and writer with a lifelong interest in automation and Artificial Intelligence, discusses how the moving industry could be set to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning.

By Lucas F Thierfelder

How AI and Machine Learning are Transforming the Global Moving IndustryAlthough companies are eager to gain a footing in international territories, global mobility programmes continue to be a pain point. There are numerous aspects to consider in employee relocation, such as immigration papers, employment law contracts, pensions, payroll, and much more. For the move to be successful, businesses should come up with a highly organised approach. Operational inefficiencies within the company can affect relocation, and can result in lost hours in terms of productivity and earnings.

Fortunately, the moving industry could be set to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning. AI is a hot topic right now for global mobility, given its contribution to the industry. But AI is also a popular topic in general, because this particular technology has already shown its potential in a variety of other sectors. Ayima points out just how prevalent AI technology has become, with tech giants like Google and Apple incorporating it into their services. Different sectors such as finance, agriculture, and the restaurant industry, are also benefitting from machine learning applications. Big enterprises are investing heavily in AI, and the technology is set to play a significant part in shaping the future. But where does AI enter in the global moving scene?

A common problem global mobility teams face is the limited access they have to data. It’s a rather tedious and time-consuming process for them to gather vital information on moving employees and storing this data all in one place. The HR Technologist sheds further light on how automation platforms can speed up this process. Automation applications work to collect all this valuable data from employees and make them readily available and searchable for global mobility professionals to check on. Now, one can efficiently find out the status of each employee move, evaluate budgets, and analyse the programme performance in a matter of seconds.

Furthermore, AI chat bots are now being developed to simulate human conversations for the purposes of helping employees with common concerns. Often, employees and their families experience anxiety over certain aspects of the move. This makes it quite common for them to bombard moving experts with questions to reassure them. It’s important to consider that these professionals usually have to deal with massive groups of relocating employees all day, every day. For them to spend most of their time answering all these queries is quite inefficient. With chat bot systems in place to deal with common questions and basic customer service, global mobility professionals are left with more time to cater to other important and pressing tasks.

Despite (and perhaps, because) of these developments in AI tech, there are widespread concerns over whether AI technology will replace some of the current jobs filled by humans. Naturally, the threat also concerns the global moving industry. But at this point in time, it’s more important to ask how AI can help humans, rather than the other way around. While the reality is that AI will make certain positions obsolete in the future, such as cashiers, data entry clerks, and customer service, an optimistic view of this posits that these situations will create new kinds of jobs. Jardine Motors Group HR Director Clare Martin states that a combination of both AI and human effort can deliver outstanding customer experiences. AI is currently being developed to complement employee skills, and not to take over their jobs entirely.

In conclusion, AI platforms will serve to streamline the moving process. Supervision from global mobility professionals is still important. The presence of automation solutions should not stop moving teams from going out of their way to guide employees with a smooth transition. In fact, teams may provide even better employee care now that they do not have to waste time on transactional tasks. And while the technology is still in its infancy, there is a lot to look forward to in terms of machine learning and its role in mobility. 

Lucas F Thierfelder

Lucas F Thierfelder is a Birmingham-based HR consultant and writer with a lifelong interest in automation and Artificial Intelligence. Of particular interest is how new and evolving technology is set to transform everyday lives and business processes.