Chris Mackley, OMNI interview: Defining the path ahead

Incoming OMNI General Manager Chris Mackley talks to FIDI Focus about developing a strategic vision for the organisation

Chris Mackley was appointed General Manager of Overseas Moving Network International (OMNI) at the end of 2021, following the departure of Ian Waters after a tenure of more than 30 years. 

Mackley joined the moving business straight from university, starting as a move manager for Michael Gerson in London and taking on roles including team leader, account manager and general manager, before leaving the company in 2020 and continuing to work in a consultative role within the industry, including on collaborative projects with BAR.

‘I liked the idea of working within the industry but not for a business. When I saw Ian Waters was leaving OMNI, I approached them and said I’m interested,’
said Mackley.

Since joining, Mackley has been reviewing and revising the organisation’s strategic vision, and improving communication with many of the membership, which consists of around 90 CEOs and owners from some of the industry’s leading businesses. 

‘I am working on a strategic business plan, which will clearly define our main objectives,’ he says. ‘I have started a series of Zoom calls to pick some members’ brains about the value they attach to OMNI. Most members attribute value to belonging to a thought-leadership forum where they can exchange ideas with other owners and CEOs. In this context, our conference is a valuable chance for our members to get together,’ he says.

OMNI members already have benefits such as being able to vet their suppliers through the Dow Jones risk compliance index, allowing them to scan for non-conformities with tax laws and check for all-round financial security. A key part of Mackley’s plan will be identifying and developing further tangible benefits
for members. 

‘Generally, it’s about bringing value to the members, but we are also closely involved with industry projects, including working with FIDI on sustainability, and I’m also on the committee looking at the digital standardisation of the way data is handled throughout the moving process. This is a huge project, which I am very excited about.’ 

This March, OMNI launched a series of six workshops on different aspects of sustainability, which Mackley says have been extremely popular. They are also open to FIDI members.

‘We committed to sustainability seriously last year and decided it would be our main theme this year and maybe next,’ he says. ‘It’s certainly at the forefront of our members’ agendas and isn’t going anywhere soon.’

With mobility industry organisations apparently more willing than ever to collaborate on issues of shared importance, Mackley says there are benefits for everyone.  

‘This is a good trend. If you take the case of sustainability, FIDI has done it from the bottom up; going to the membership, speaking to them about their ideas and reporting them. OMNI has done it from the top down; going to an academic who has given us the high-level issues,’ he says. ‘So we’re sharing these ideas with FIDI and they’re sharing theirs with us; and because we have approached this in different ways, we’re not duplicating the work. This approach can apply to other issues, too.’

OMNI is tapping into its global network to help members get a handle on other industry developments, as well. Mackley says: ‘The sustainability workshops fall under the OMNI World Series Forum banner. During COVID, these were about regional business levels, with speakers from the Far East, South America, and so on. This year, we are doing it on specific topics, such as insurance and the current problems in the global shipping container supply chain.’ 

Another tangible benefit that OMNI were recently able to bring to its members was access to The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Centre. Ritz-Carlton presented sessions on the customer journey and the art of service recovery.

Developing projects and all-round value for OMNI members is a key part of Mackley’s vision from here. He says: ‘There has been a lot of debate about consolidation of moving associations and cutting down the expense of travel and attending conferences and other events. While we don’t see any sign of that – and we are not losing members – we can’t rely on this continuing and so we have to identify new projects and initiatives that can deliver real value to our members.

‘We need to define clearly where we’re going, which is going to be a big part of what I do. By the end of this year, we will have decided on a clear strategy for the next five years or so.’  

Photo by Tobi on Pexels

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