Office Movers Now Come Strapped With Tracking Technologies
Moving is among the most stressful of life events, and that goes double for moving offices. In a survey, more than three-quarters of leaders of small and midsized businesses said they found the idea of moving offices so stressful that they have been delaying the process, 78% of managers said they prefer staying in a cramped space to avoid the hassle.
Jim Durfee knows that many people believe that the office moving process is invasive, disruptive and time-consuming, but he also believes he has a solution: technology.
“One of the greatest fears in life is the fear of the unknown, and that is especially true during moves,” said Durfee, who is vice president and general manager at Office Movers Express, styled as OMX. “We’re using newly developed technology to stay connected to our clients and remove that fear, they always know where we are, what we’re doing and where their items are at all times."
Durfee and his team at OMX have been using technologies like tablets, GPS and tracking software to make the moving process more efficient and give clients peace of mind. Bisnow recently sat down with him to learn more about how OMX plans to take the stress out of one of the most infamously stressful parts of life.
Bisnow: How have office moves changed?
Jim Durfee: Office moves used to be a big deal in terms of volume, furniture and general 'stuff.' To move an office was a huge undertaking requiring vast resources of labor and time. But that world has changed, and the modern office is more efficient. The main focus is on technology and keeping it safe, both the equipment and the information stored inside of it.
Bisnow: How are you using technology to change how you move offices?
Durfee: In both small and large ways. Take note-taking, for example. A mover 10 years ago might have just written down that one conference room had five tables, but we have higher-touch service. We record it on our tablets and take pictures to corroborate the number and keep track of the conditions of the tables.
We also track everything on tablets on the day of the move, from when the crew arrives, to when they left, to what they charged, so everything remains transparent and at the client’s fingertips.
Bisnow: How do you use technology to keep clients' items safe throughout the move?
Durfee: The first step is taking an inventory using a portable, handheld device, which is faster and more accurate than previous methods. We are able to capture images, assess volume and organize the process in a manner that helps develop a sensible and logical move plan. When the move actually occurs, additional technology allows us to identify and tag key items and assure they receive special attention or priority status. We can include critical information to identify information such as value, function, departmental assignment and final placement.
For highly sensitive items, we have access to digital locators that allow us to track them from origin to destination. A client could be sitting on the beach viewing the item on their cellphone as it exits its current space and arrives in the new office. All of this helps us maintain the chain of custody, tightly control the relocation process and assure a positive experience.
Bisnow: What are the benefits of working with a mover who only handles commercial moves?
Durfee: It all comes down to business continuity. When you’re moving a household, you usually have a large window of time to complete the move. Office moves need to happen as seamlessly as possible so that a business only experiences minimal downtime.
Another major difference is the handling of technology. While a household may have a few laptops and one computer, offices have whole server rooms that need to be handled carefully. Office movers are specifically trained to handle the types of materials you only find in a business environment, like large pieces of technology that carry sensitive information.
Bisnow: What are some preparations you wish more company owners would make before a move?
Durfee: I wish they would do a little extra homework to find out what they can expect. People can contact us in advance and we can offer them a budget figure and tips for how to go about preparing for the day. Company owners should also contact building management to learn what they can do to help, and also ask their movers if they have any experience with their new building and can offer any strategic moving advice ahead of time.
As it gets closer to the moving day, things tend to change. Often, these changes are not communicated to movers until the day arrives, which can lead to delays, so I always recommend that people err on the side of over-communicating with their movers and providing them with every last detail.
This feature was produced in collaboration between the Bisnow Branded Content Studio and Office Movers Express. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.