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Kirsten Wick29 January 2024

How AI is helping a local moving company focus on its customers

In the ever-evolving landscape of business technology, artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer a futuristic concept but a practical tool for organisations to enhance operational efficiency. AI technology can streamline processes, automate tasks, and provide valuable insights through data analysis. This can lead to increased efficiency, better customer experiences, and a competitive edge in a rapidly evolving market. But knowing how to best use it and where the opportunities are is key to getting the most out of this emerging technology. 

Brad Fraser, Director of Senior Move Managers – a specialist moving company for older adults – recently shared his experience of integrating AI into his Christchurch-based business.

Start small and scale
After initially struggling with capacity during Covid-19 lockdowns, Brad began looking into how AI tools could increase efficiency. His journey began with identifying areas within the business that could benefit from automation and enhanced data processing.

“The key is to start small and scale,” said Brad. “We looked at our most time-consuming tasks and asked, 'How can AI make this easier?'' 

The organisation started by evaluating their workflows to determine which processes could be automated. They then implemented AI in stages, beginning with pilot projects, allowing for manageable integration and assessment of results. Staff were trained to work alongside AI tools, and as confidence and competence with AI grew, so did the scale of its application within the business.

“Using AI, we can now schedule and route jobs automatically to optimise efficiency, manage logistics more effectively, and predict customer trends. By utilising the tools for route planning and vehicle selection, we have also reduced emissions and aligned our business practices with our broader environmental goals. These advancements have not only improved operational efficiency but also led to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty and supported us on our sustainability journey.”

Focus on the human aspect
Brad says one of the initial hurdles they faced in adopting AI was the organisational 'immune response' – the resistance to change due to a lack of understanding in how AI can help the team in their everyday tasks.  

“The key to AI integration lies in looking internally at your people and processes. We asked employees which tasks they dislike and then using AI to tackle these first. This not only improved efficiency but also morale and freed up the team to focus on more complex tasks.

“It's not about replacing jobs; it's about integrating it in a way that complements your human workforce and enhances your service offering. Focus on one aspect of your business where AI can have an immediate impact and build from there. By automating many of our processes, we can focus on the human aspect of our service, which is invaluable.”

AI at every level
The organisation has ChatGPTs for each vertical of their business that does a specific task. With an ethical framework embedded into their AI tools, Senior Move Managers are making sure sensitive information is siloed and used securely and ethically.

They also have an “autonomous cognitive entity” – an AI avatar that embodies the company's mission, values, and outputs.

“It's actually more like a business mentor to consider the purpose of our business. What's our unique selling point? We’ve found it's a good way to bounce ideas, particularly for leadership when navigating uncertainty. The board uses the tool as an objective guide to work out, for example, what the worst-case scenario might be, then come up with some different strategies or solutions, based on different requirements. This helps to provide a different perspective of a situation that may not have been considered.”

Business insights gained from the AI tool have improved business management, with reporting from the tool highlighting common customer issues that need attention or a new approach from managers.  

The experience of Senior Move Managers highlights the transformative potential of AI for businesses of all sizes, without a huge cost. Brad’s advice for other organisations is clear: “Embrace change, invest in training for your team, and don't be afraid to seek expert advice. The investment in AI can redefine your business and its future.”  

That’s where Business Canterbury can help. Register now for our digital planning workshops in February, and also watch out for our upcoming Digital Economy event series kicking off with Smarter Businesses in March.  


Kirsten Wick

As a Communications and Media Specialist at Business Canterbury, I believe that championing our local business community has never been so important. Is your business doing something new, innovative, award-winning? Email me so I can help to share your story.