In this opinion article, Maarten van Zutphen, Movers Consultancy Group, examines the value of different standards – and argues that not all compliance is equal
I am happy to admit that, in the early days of my career, I never heard the word ‘compliance’ related to the moving industry. We were of course aware of the need to follow national and local regulations, but this word has expanded dramatically over time to include all kinds of customer requirements, whether they are dictated by a corporate account or government client, or more recently by relocation management companies acting on their behalf.
If you seriously want to enter or remain relevant in the corporate and government moving market segments, it is no longer enough to simply meet legal requirements – you must learn a completely new language.
The language of compliance
Compliance covers the following primary areas of running your business:
1. Regulatory compliance:
Regulatory compliance means following the local, national, and international laws and regulations relevant to a moving business. This is about your company following the law – an important factor in establishing trust with your customers.
2. Human resources compliance:
Compliance in human resources covers the laws governing the welfare of your employees. This includes maintaining employee documentation, your recruitment process, pay and work conditions, as well as DE&I (diversity, equity and inclusion).
3. Data compliance:
Data compliance has become increasingly important in our industry. The nature of our business often means that we collect highly sensitive data, known as Personal Identifiable Information (PII). Data compliance means that a company is correctly and legally collecting, storing, and managing this data, and has documented processes to prove this.
4. Health and safety compliance:
This is also highly important in our industry. Health and safety compliance means that your employees and subcontractors can safely work without being put in danger or at risk of injury.
5. Quality compliance:
Quality compliance means that you are following industry best practices, in terms of communicating with customers and trade partners and following processes that lead to the best outcome for everyone involved.
The foundation and the road ahead
Keeping up to date with compliance requirements and demonstrating that your company ticks all the right boxes can be complex. So where do you start? How do you prove to your customers and business partners that your company meets the criteria they need to choose you as a credible partner?
For many companies, becoming accredited by a trade association or obtaining certification to a renowned industry standard is a good place to start. So, let’s look at what is available and the high-level differences, from the easiest to the more valuable.
For members of the International Association of Movers (IAM), the organisation has introduced the IAM Trusted designation. For a small fee, attending a training course, and meeting other criteria, your company can carry the ‘IAM Trusted’ badge.
Continued use of the accreditation is subject to your company maintaining good financial, ethical, and operational standards, but the ‘Trusted’ Programme is not an independent certification process.
FIDI FAIM 2022
Within the international moving industry itself, FIDI-FAIM is globally recognised as the gold standard for moving companies. If your mission is to participate in the corporate moving market and work with relocation management companies, exploring FAIM accreditation should be a serious consideration.
Unlike IAM Trusted, the level of investment in both time and money is much higher. However, in my opinion, it remains the best programme for satisfying the needs of large bookers and RMCs.
Needless to say, you will not become a FIDI member if you cannot prove full compliance during the initial and future independent audits (currently carried out by EY) and membership can be terminated if companies do not comply with FIDI statutes.
Accreditation to standards set and monitored by the International Standards Organisation (ISO) can be requested by some high-level corporate customers as part of their procurement procedures.
Common standards in our industry include ISO 9001 for Quality Management, ISO 14001 for Environmental Management, and ISO 27001 for Information Security. Larger companies may find accreditations to some, or all, of these standards useful depending upon their customer base, but these certifications are generally not necessary for most smaller companies.
Where do I go from here?
In all cases, your decision regarding your compliance journey starts with your company vision. Which markets do you want to operate in right now and in the future? Collaborate with your team and talk to your customers about what they expect from you. Once you understand your mission, talk to people who have gone through the compliance process and ask for professional independent advice.
One size does not fit all, and never choose just for the sake of having a diploma on the wall.
Compliance is no longer a remit reserved only for large companies – the good news is that if done well, it can provide notable added value to your business. With the right approach and realistic expectations, it can strengthen your company’s position for the future.
For more information or to find out about our ‘help as needed’ programme please contact: Maarten van Zutphen, Movers Consultancy Group: email@example.com