So many movers, and so many of their customers, want to see more standardisation. I can’t count how many times people have told me there is a huge need for it in this industry.
I’m extremely proud that FIDI has embraced this call with FAIM certification, for example, where it has standardised quality practices for the moving industry. Thanks to FAIM, employees know exactly what to do when they import a file, take a photo, or approve an invoice. FASI – now strengthened by the FAIM Financial Assessment requirement – is essentially standardisation, too, in that it takes the global spread of financial reporting standards and credit ratings, and reduces them, in the mover’s eyes at least, to answer a single question: ‘I’ll get paid, right?’
FIDI is setting the pace and like-minded members of the industry are taking notice. As you know, last year FIDI agreed to make the Professional Cooperation Guidelines (PCGs) available to IAM members. And at this autumn’s IAM conference, many industry experts representing corporate customers, software companies, online pricing companies, industry association reps, and insurance companies will be taking part in a session on digitalisation standards. FIDI and IAM are both excited about the possibilities this kind of cooperation can open up, and the benefits of this sort of common vision.
Of course, standardisation isn’t always the easy or right answer. If we go about it wrong, we will see our members’ margins squeezed. Online pricing platforms, for example, often standardise the process of quoting, but some of them also tend to lead to a race to the bottom. Meanwhile, our industry has so many small players spread around the globe, each with their own business requirements, so a cookie-cutter approach isn’t going to work for everyone.
In other words, while standardisation is usually a great thing – and the industry definitely needs more of it – it can sometimes be a double-edged sword. It’s up to all of us to have the wisdom to recognise what each situation requires. This is a service business after all; we’re not just selling a commodity. This issue of standardisation in the industry, especially with regards technology, is especially relevant at this time of the year. Many of us are now in our busiest season: imagine how our businesses could change, if even just a few of the processes we needed to go through were standardised; if just a push of a button could automate what currently takes us hours or days to accomplish. We may be faced with a difficult decision: should I use the extra time to deal with even more shipments? Or use it to drink margaritas at the beach?
I’m excited that this issue of FIDI Focus highlights standardisation and I’m looking forward to seeing how different organisations are approaching it. What’s your take? Drop us a line and let us know.