FIDI Focus meets Eric Szilassy, Head of Supply Chain at booking platform CONVERGO, and discusses how the online system works and how to break down the barriers for wider adoption of digital solutions
FIDI FOCUS (FF): What is CONVERGO’s mission?
Eric Szilassy (ES): To build a new model, where transactions between corporate, their RMC/bookers and providers are conducted with transparency and fairness. By doing so, we want to make the relocation market more accessible and less opaque. We bring together corporate, mobility professionals (movers, DSP, bookers and RMCs) and mobile talents around a simplified procurement experience, with full visibility of services and rates that builds trust. We deliver a data-driven and innovative solution to support our clients and providers in the pricing and booking process for moving services.
FF: What are CONVERGO’s main features?
ES: It provides budget comparisons based on realtime pricing and tariffs built on common rules. For buyers, there is no more lack of uniformity around price calculations. All suppliers must fill in their tariff grids according to a standardised format. They must also indicate their supplementary services, such as crating, in-transit storage, handyman, shuttle services, and so on. Most of the time, these ad hoc services represent a major budget increase and are revealed after the cost estimate is given as unpredictable additional services. These poor pricing practices aren’t good for buyers. CONVERGO enables users to compare overall budgets that cover 100 per cent of the cost of moving or DSP services. The solution helps them to choose the right service provider who is the best fit for any given situation. For moving services, the system highlights those professionals who are the best match based on geography, capacity and services offered.
FF: How do you recruit service providers?
ES: We started 18 months ago (as at Q1 2023), and are now working with more than 400 providers worldwide. Access to the platform isn’t open to every mover and DSP; it is subject to strict verification by our teams. Providers don’t pay to be registered, but they do have to comply with our requirements, which are mainly based on experience and quality criteria. Indeed, we are aware that pricing is only a part of the total value proposition offered by suppliers. At CONVERGO, we value a quality and customer-centric approach to manage complex services. Certifications and FIDI membership are essential to be a CONVERGO-approved service provider. However, this high-level quality requirement does not prevent us from adapting to this fast-paced evolving sector and to more sustainable considerations. The platform also grants access to local suppliers/ movers who have demonstrated a high quality of service and who, although not certified, can provide proof of their worth.
FF: Who are CONVERGO’s clients?
ES: CONVERGO is aimed at corporate, global mobility and procurement departments. Mobility managers can use the tool on their own, or ask their relocation partner to integrate the solution. Bookers can also use the platform to rely on trusted service providers to deliver quality service. FF: What are the key benefits to bookers of using a pricing and procurement platform? ES: It saves time. Pricing teams won’t waste time on repetitive tasks: collecting and updating prices. They will focus on adding value, monitoring transactions, analysing prices, negotiating, and so on. Bookers will build up a referenced network for removal and mobility service partners, and they will benefit from having wider service coverage. Bookers can be a global player in corporate price relocation. They can serve corporate clients that require multiple mobility services for their transferees. An increasing number of corporations are looking to build mobility programmes that are more focused on destination services. CONVERGO not only offers tariffs, but also new services, such as a cost estimator and a tool for calculating the carbon footprint of a move.
FF: How do we get reluctant users on board with digital platforms?
ES: Of course, some see digitalisation as ending relationships and boring. However, our research showed existing tools did not offer a truly user-friendly interface. We wanted to give people the same experience as when you use the tool as a consumer. We strive to build a highly engaging, but useful tool for our clients and our providers.