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How Movers And Packers Modus Operandi Evolved During Pandemic
The major players in the movers & packers segment also replaced at-home surveys with virtual surveys to give the price estimate for the movement of goods.
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The lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi following the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic dealt a major blow to businesses across industries. According to some estimates, as many as 10 million trucks came to a screeching halt. This included the trucks carrying commodities of essential nature, and hence citizens across the country were left scrambling for essentials. Another segment that was severely impacted by this was that of movers & packers. As a matter of fact, during the first few months of the lockdown, the activities in the sector almost came to a grinding halt, only to bounce back in the later months starting August.
As the pandemic-induced lockdown started showing its impact on the ground, there were many who either lost their jobs or were compelled to work on a reduced salary. Millions of people who were staying in rented accommodations found it wise to move their base back to their hometowns, and this could not have been possible sans the players in the movers & packers segment, which continues to be one of the most scattered and unorganized industries. Experts also believe that the relocation business was driven during this period majorly by the ‘Work from Home’ phenomena.
The challenge here was for the relocation entities to redesign their modus operandi in accordance with the need of the hour, and playing a major role here was technology. Siddhartha Chaturvedi, a 30-year-old IT professional in Delhi who moved to his hometown in Jharkhand during this period said, “The fear of the pandemic was such that my family did not allow me to even visit the offices of different movers & packers so that I could bag the best deal. The clear instruction was – do everything you can without going out, even if it entails paying more.”
“However, the situation was not at all conducive for me to pay an exorbitant amount and also it was hard to trust anyone for the purpose because eventually I would be handing over all my movable assets to whoever I choose,” he added. After deliberating over the same for a few weeks, Siddhartha discovered a few movers & packers had ventured online and he could get the desired services at a competitive price with the click of a mouse by some of the most established players in the otherwise scattered sector.
This development entailed that the players in the segment had to brace themselves with the latest technology and integrate mechanisms that would let the consumers trust them.
Shift Freight, an innovative movers & packers aggregator launched right before the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, was among the few early starters in this regard. Talking about the challenges they faced and how they turned them into an opportunity, Shift Freight co-founder Avinash Raghav said, “The Covid-19 pandemic adversely impacted majority of industries, including the logistics industry. Owing to the lockdown and panic there was a huge labour vacuum in this industry. The shortage of labour shot the price of moving significantly and consumers as well as service providers were affected due to this.”
“However, just like other industries we too fought back and restructured our way of working. Evolving as one of the fastest growing marketplace, we have witnessed the pain of movers and packers. We were among the first to introduce complete PPE kit to our shift partners free of cost. They were encouraged to sanitise the vehicles before and after the move. Such steps by us and others gave confidence to consumers. Now contact less or minimal contact movement is on demand and technology is playing a vital role,” he further said.
The major players in the movers & packers segment also replaced at-home surveys with virtual surveys to give the price estimate for the movement of goods. Those who adhered to protocols such as social distancing and sanitization were able to gain the trust of the consumers while others languished in this regard. Sanitization of trucks and other equipments, staff members wearing masks and gloves and not using recycled moving boxes were some of the basic changes that the movers & packers adhered to in the changed circumstances. And to top it all, they had to bear an added expense of warehouse facility where the goods could be stored safely if the consignment stuck somewhere due to unforeseen lockdown or curfew like situation.