The landscape is changing

The original FAIM model was made for true operational movers. With the many new business models of today, it is time to review this and diversify FIDI membership types, and FAIM, says Jesse van Sas, Secretary General of FIDI Global Alliance

 When FAIM was created, 20 years ago, it was made to fit the most popular movers’ business model of that time: true operational movers, directly owning and controlling their assets, such as warehouses, trucks and labour. ‘Asset-based movers’ we called them back then, and many of you will remember the lengthy debates around this subject. In those days, close to 90 per cent of our Affiliates fit that business model. Sure, there were vast differences in size and scope, but the model was pretty much the same. Agent-to-agent business was the norm, and every Affiliate was booker, origin agent and destination agent, changing role from file to file.

Well, times have changed. In the past two decades, we have seen a dramatic shift to various other business models. Movers are diversifying towards other move-related activities in the relocation field. Some have outsourced part of their operations; others have divested completely from their assets and have become pure move managers, doing their business from a corporate office. A few have even evolved to become RMCs. It is fair to say that quite a number of our Affiliates have changed their business model to respond to the challenges of today’s marketplace. The booking powers also shifted, creating true power-bookers on the one hand, and skilled tonnage receivers on the other.

The FAIM format has tried to keep pace with these new models and working methods in the move industry. FAIM introduced supply-chain management, data protection and other compliance elements, financial assessments, and now even pre-employment screening. Those are all real, day-to-day challenges our Affiliates are facing in their markets, and it is good that these are now an integral part of our certification process. The foundation of FAIM is still there, however, auditing the international moving service requirements. This is still the backbone of FAIM, and it is here that we are facing new challenges.

After all, with our affiliated companies venturing into new business models – still managing moves, of course – the FAIM format is being stretched out in an attempt to accommodate these. We try to make them fit the FAIM mould – and this has worked well up to now, and enabled us to keep these long-time Affiliates within FIDI. We feel that we are reaching our limits, however, and that it is time to acknowledge that our current one-size-fits-all FAIM is no longer suited for all the new models in our membership.

If we want to protect all Affiliates, and the true value of FAIM, we need to start a process of diversification, to accommodate the new business models and, at the same time, keep traditional models relevant in FIDI. We need to create bespoke FAIM formats, addressing the needs of each model, thereby making sure that movers feel they are being audited against criteria that are related to what they actually do in their daily business.

The FIDI Board is working on this subject, in close cooperation with the FCC, FSC, the FIDI office and industry experts, and intends to bring this to the table at our next Delegates Meeting in Osaka. The Board believes this is the best way forward, in the interest of all our current and future Affiliates, FIDI itself, and our end-customers.