What will artificial intelligence mean for the moving industry and for the next generations of movers? 

June 3, 2024

Following a keynote by Stijn Baert, professor of labour economics at Ghent University, on trends in our labour market and the implications of the rise of artificial intelligence, I asked myself how the moving sector views AI. Does the moving sector see AI as an opportunity or a threat? 

The following are some highlights from Professor Stijn Baert’s keynote (https://www.linkedin.com/in/stijn-baert/) , which I have transposed for the removal sector and for which I hope they will be an incentive to start thinking about it. It would be even better if they give rise to common action, the results of which will ensure the promotion of our members’ future. 

Will AI technology decline jobs in relocation sector ? 

Frankly, I don’t think in reality the relocation sector should fear job destruction by AI technology. You will now ask why? AI is not a technology that can provide service automation in the removal industry. It can, however, provide new tasks that most moving firms may not currently be thinking about, such as moving and maintenance of technology systems. 

AI may even be good news for our sector.  

Current jobs will get an additional fill-in, giving more opportunities to workers who retrain. As a moving company, this will give you the opportunity to attract young people and offer them advancement opportunities. As a result, moving tasks will become more than lugging boxes and household goods, entitling them to a higher pay. 

Which jobs in the moving industry have the highest chance of survival? According to US research, the ones with tasks that require the following: (1) complex actions and judgements, (2) creative intelligence and (3) social intelligence. 

These survey results show that the moving industry urgently needs to start thinking about upgrading current positions and ensuring that workers are retrained in a timely manner to respond to this upcoming market demand. 

The new revenue model offers opportunities for the moving industry to finally relax from competition by moving firms that profile themselves at the lower end of the market and are only interested in the lowest price. 

Finally, AI offers high potential for automation of a number of time-consuming administrative processes that mainly smaller moving companies are currently struggling with. This is something that stuck with me after the presentation by guest speaker Kristians Licis (https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristians-licis/) at the FEDEMAC general meeting in Malaga , entitled: “Strengthening the power of AI in the preparation, organisation and follow-up of removals”. 

From exercises based on examples he presented during his talk, it can be seen that thanks to AI, a lot of administrative work that is done now can be done by AI in seconds. 

Moreover, AI not only greatly improved customer service, it also made the monitoring of the entire relocation process more transparent, thus avoiding recurring errors and useless wasted time. 

Knowing that the cost of administration must also be earned, you can imagine how much profit a moving firm can make if these costs are kept to a minimum. As a result, it also improves the competitive position of the mover in question, making it more likely to be selected in tenders. 

Isn’t it time, then, for the moving industry to consider the opportunities that AI offers to take the industry and its employees to the next level? 

All the sector needs for this is its own creative intelligence, because AI simply does not programme itself. 😅 If we work on this together at EU level, the work will advance faster and the costs will remain feasible and affordable. 

What are we waiting for to take matters into our own hands as an industry, crawl out from behind our computers and TVs and shape the future of the moving industry together? 

A wise president, with whom I had the pleasure of working with in the past, once told me, ” If you are not engaged in your business (enterprise) every day, others will do so in your place, but to your detriment!” 

The right choice lies in your hands, especially the hands of the young movers.