Schmidt looks out for opportunities

A changing landscape is bringing an increased emphasis on digital service and a heightened focus on certified quality for the Netherlands’ moving industry. René Suurland, Operations Manager at new Affiliate Schmidt Global Relocations, says the company is well placed and looking forward to capitalising on the new openings

FIDI Focus: What are the characteristics of the moving market in the Netherlands?

René Suurland: We always find solutions if the market is changing. We Dutch are very innovative.

FF: How has the Dutch moving industry evolved over the past 10 years?

RS: The seasons in the moving industry were very steady, with peak season in July-September, and the rest of the year calmer.

However, slowly, this has changed into a lot more last-minute moves and, these past two years, a longer peak season, too. As the capacity of actual movers also went down during this time, it was a challenge to adapt and change the old way of working.

Besides this, everything is becoming digital, and clients are looking for more digital innovations to make things easier for them. We are always searching for the best solutions for our clients.

FF: What impact has COVID-19 had on moving?

RS: It had a huge impact on our company as we were just beginning to change our way of working and about to go for FIDI membership. We had already begun to digitise the company, and this was ready just before lockdown. It was a huge achievement for all our staff to make this happen within such a short timeframe.

The first months were pretty uncertain because nobody knew how long the situation would continue and what would happen. Luckily, we were still allowed to carry out moves throughout Europe, so our operations didn’t stop.

The greatest impact it had was the extension of peak season until December.

FF: Where do you see the biggest opportunities for growth in your market?

RS: We are a European groupage specialist, and this market is growing because of Brexit. This is one of the fields where we are expanding, as well as for import and export containers.

We see a lot of opportunities in this market and also the potential to innovate further technically. With FIDI certification, we now have the possibility of servicing more accounts, so this opens up huge opportunities, too.

FF: How would you describe your business ethos?

RS: We are a family company that has a very flexible way of thinking. We always try to find a solution if our agents or clients have a problem and because of our large network, most of the time, we find a solution.

FF: What are your main strengths as a company?

RS: Our flexibility and care for our clients. We keep on learning from our clients and partners, plus our mentality and the fact that we remain an independent family business.

FF: Why did you decide to join FIDI?

RS: We wanted to assure the quality of our company. As a part of FIDI, we have a perfect way to provide services of the highest level and demonstrate this to our clients. It also gives us a great way to meet new partners with whom we can start future relationships.

FF: How did you find the FAIM process?

RS: We enjoyed the process and, as a company, learnt a lot from it. Even before the process began, we had already started working towards FAIM standards.

FF: Are you looking forward to playing an active role in the FIDI association?

RS: We are very eager to meet our FIDI family and see which role we can play in the organisation. We are planning to take part in training courses and to being active on the FIDI networking platforms. Of course, we are really looking forward to meeting everybody
in Cannes.

FF: What are the future challenges?

RS: To innovate in our IT, so we can service our clients even better, and to keep on finding solutions for the capacity of actual movers.  

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