After business challenges led ISS Relocations to have to reapply for FIDI membership, the Dubai-based company has re-joined FIDI as an Affiliate. Global CEO Abhilash Nair explains why the return was vital to the company’s recovery and for its future success
FIDI Focus: Please tell us about the ISS business
Abhilash Nair: ISS Relocations has a two-decade history, providing relocation services locally and in the Middle East and southern Asian region. The company also provides storage, including loose or self-storage, as well as insurance, pet relocation, fine arts relocation, and DSP services, which includes home search, school search, settling in and departure services.
We are also members of IAM, ARA, EUROMOVERS, BAR, PAIMA, and GEM Network. Our mission statement is ‘Easy to do business with the best possible service at affordable price’, and our approach is using partnerships to bring about continuous improvement.
Our current operations are in UAE (Dubai and Abu Dhabi), Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, India, and Saudi Arabia. We plan to expand and franchise ourselves in ME and SA in the next coming years.
FF: Why did ISS decide to re-join FIDI?
AN: 2018 was a difficult year for our company. We had to work hard to consolidate the business. We managed to resecure our industry memberships and get ourselves back in position, but it was the FAIM certification that we considered to be the formal verification of our competency and the standards we have set in the Middle East and South Asia, to present to our partners and transferees who used or plan to use our services.
Our team is confident that, through our FIDI membership, we can secure the volumes of business we have set in the past.
FF: How was the FAIM application process? Was it any easier this time around?
AN: The entire process, preparation and requirements were very much the same as for our past audits. The only difference was that the audit was done remotely [because of the COVID-related travel restrictions] and the verification of each act and quality standard was performed online (using a camera) – which was effective and saved time.
FF: How has ISS evolved since its last time as an Affiliate?
AN: ISS has fine-tuned a new dynamic strategy and grown in terms of team, infrastructure – including storage facilities – and local volumes with corporates. We are stable in terms of the quality of the business and revenue, but we still have to reach the peaks of business seen by movers back in 2018/2019.
During the pandemic, we did not let any staff go. We actually increased our team and managed to keep the trust of our dedicated and hardworking employees, customers and partners. We expect business to improve further in 2022.
FF: How has the market in Dubai evolved?
AN: Dubai is a dynamic destination and recent surveys and economic experts suggest consumers are cautiously optimistic. The government response to the pandemic was extraordinarily strong and effective.
Spending and purchasing habits have changed because of COVID-19: shopping using a smartphone has increased here as it has elsewhere in the world. But alongside this, Dubai was one of the easiest and safest places to live and the data is self-explanatory – Dubai currently has the most active airport in the world. When the pandemic started, it was slow for a few months, which provided us with some planning time. It’s now quite normal, with all ports and customs the same as before.
FF: What are you looking forward to most about re-joining FIDI?
AN: We would like to highlight our quality and cost-effective work in front of the top companies across the world and to partner with more Affiliates. This will also help us in the local market in front of competitors. Being in the Middle East we have a good amount of business with US, UK, European Union countries, South Africa, Far East, Asia, Australia and other locations and want to build mutually beneficial reciprocity.
FF: Will you be taking an active role in FIDI once again?
AN: Yes. I have already initiated talks with the FIDI team about how we can help improve our beloved moving industry to create value for customers and partners; and for our team members, too.