Consolidation and standardisation: two sides of the same coin

FIDI President Ebru Demirel on the big industry changes that will be discussed at the IAM Annual Meeting in Chicago

I’m thrilled to be writing for this issue, which will be out at the same time the IAM is holding its convention in Chicago. I’m excited about the conference because FIDI holds an official Delegates’ Meeting just before the event and because I think it’s important for all of us to meet our agents and partners whenever we can.

This year, our industry has seen an especially big shift, with the US Department of Defense’s plan to consolidate all its moving activities with one provider. It’s hard to overestimate how huge this proposal could be for the industry. From the DoD’s perspective, moving could now be carried out by a single provider, but we all know the reality is that an agent will be needed at each location. Yet again, it drives home the point that it’s important to work with trusted partners around the world, and to review and evaluate our networks on a regular basis. And what better way than to meet face to face with our partners at conferences?

Another thing to keep an eye on at the IAM conference is the discussions about digitalisation and standardisation in the industry. About 60 experts from around the world will be converging on Chicago to take part in those deliberations. Earlier this year at the FIDI conference in Amsterdam, we organised a panel on technological transformation, so FIDI and IAM are moving forward on these issues together. I suspect they will transform our industry in ways we can’t even imagine yet, so it’s important to be thinking about these subjects and to be taking some lessons learnt back home to implement in our own companies. Making our operations more efficient might be more work for us up front, but it ensures our businesses are healthy and equipped for the long haul.

At first, I saw the DoD proposal and the standardisation initiative, as two separate issues. But in fact, they are inextricably linked. In order to carry out a consolidation on the DoD scale, you need to standardise operations throughout the network. That means a mover in Kenya will need to use the same standards as a mover in Argentina. Though FAIM goes a long way to align our processes, our industry as a whole will need to adopt wide-ranging standards, for the benefit of all. Our customers are going to expect it from us, whether they are the direct customers we invoice or the shippers themselves.

As always, FIDI will have a booth of its own (number 1220) at the IAM conference. I encourage you to drop by, say hello, and make the most of the opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones.