I remember it like it was yesterday – slugging boxes into a fifty-foot trailer in the middle of January – Holy Hell, was it ever cold. The year was 2006 and I was twenty years old – three years into my job at Purolator.
Somewhere between dodging boxes coming down the conveyer belt and stuffing my gloves full of Hot Paws, I noticed the volume of freight had reduced from when I started. It wasn’t a drastic decrease, but enough that I had a little more energy at the end of my shift. It was pretty clear to me at the time (though, now my recollection of my early-twenties is hazy) that this was most likely because my fellow Canadians were sending less mail and boxes. Even though grandma still sent parcels of cookies and always kept the dangerous-goods rack full, email was killing snail mail.
I really was starting to get concerned for my fellow hard-working colleagues. Will technology significantly reduce the amount of freight? Will people be out of work? Will there be fewer cube trucks jamming up the roads, racing for that 9 AM delivery? The answer was yes, some hours were reduced, and delivery routes combined. However, there was a consensus around the warehouse/office that the ship would right its course.
I left Purolator shortly after to focus on my studies, but rejoined the Material Handling space one year ago as an Account Executive with IMI A Global People Company. Might I say the ship is sailing at a rapid pace! Thanks to companies such as Amazon, people are shopping online in record numbers. I myself just ordered all my Christmas gifts from various vendors and they arrived at my door within two days! No trips to the mall, no wasted gas money, and in my case, zero loss of patience.
Thanks to automation, the rate in which new distribution warehouses are popping up in North America is borderline absurd! But it’s all representative of how the consumer is changing. No longer do we rely as much on the traditional retail environment to make our purchases. Just point, click, and in certain scenarios, a drone will drop a box at your front door in a couple days. Thanks to increased delivery speeds and simplified return policies, more and more people are gravitating towards online shopping – especially during the Christmas season. Now if we can just curtail human stampeding on Black Friday we’d be laughing!
What does this all mean? It means that the Material Handling Industry is the largest growing space in the world. At IMI, we are having trouble keeping up with the demand for skilled laborers, mechanical conveyer installers, millwrights, electricians and the list goes on. We have dozens of experienced recruiters ready to take your call and find you work immediately. I can say without a doubt that IMI is a fantastic company to work for and we are looking to add to the team. Happy Holidays and happy shipping!