Published: 7 Sep 2021
Due to the impact of the global pandemic and ever-increasing scrutiny of the environmental practices of relocation businesses, the industry is gearing up for an important update to its quality standard.
FIDI Global Alliance is an association for quality-certified international moving and relocation businesses, specialising in moves from one country to another.
Working with a FIDI-affiliated company is a pre-requisite for many HR and mobility teams in large corporations who send their staff on overseas assignments. To be FIDI-affiliated, a moving company must be certified with FAIM (FIDI Accredited International Mover), the organisation’s quality standard.
FAIM is independently audited – currently by EY – which ensures that all Affiliates around the world adhere to the same standards. These include operational requirements relating to:
- Consistent quality of service
- Supply chain performance (working with suppliers that follow the right criteria)
- Compliance with industry-specific standards, including FIDI’s own anti-bribery and corruption charter
- Data protection
- Providing proof of financial health, checked by the auditor every year.
The certificate follows a three-year cycle, beginning with an on-site audit in year one, and a financial assessment and international FAIM audit on years two and three, before starting again.
For two decades, FAIM has been a stringent, all-encompassing quality programme for the international moving industry, but it has also needed to adapt to a changing world. And it has evolved from covering the basics of moving to include new elements of the relocation process.
FAIM’s most recent changes are the addition of the internal FAIM audit for FAIM 3.1; and financial, supply chain management, anti-bribery, anti-trust, data protection and pre-employment screenings for FAIM 3.2.
Jesse van Sas, FIDI’s Secretary General, says this continual improvement of FAIM is essential to its membership: “Our Affiliates see the necessity to embrace new standards and new ways of working and give FIDI the space to develop these in our programmes,” he says. “Our job is to find meaningful trends and changes in the industry, carefully examine the consequences, take our time, decide and then develop and deliver.”
FIDI has also added a DSP (Destination Services Provider) certification module to FAIM. This is geared towards the increasing number of its Affiliates that provide services such as:
- Orientation (where transferees are guided through the cultural and other important aspects of their new home)
- Home and school search
- Settling in (finding doctors or car lease companies, for example)
- Practical help with departure to or from their new country.
When Covid-19 hit last year FIDI transferred FAIM online, with the EY team auditing virtually from their Belgian headquarters.
Although the global relocation business has been stifled in some countries, in many areas, moves have continued to take place. The FAIM 3.2 remote audit scheme meant pending on-site audits could take place – and businesses could keep their crucial quality certification up to date.
For two decades, FAIM has been a stringent, all-encompassing quality programme for the international moving industry, but it has also needed to adapt to a changing world.
New incarnation for FAIM quality standard
FIDI is now developing the latest version of the quality standard, FAIM 2023.
The new incarnation of the audit is set to include more environmental obligations for movers. The pandemic has accelerated this process, with international clients placing more emphasis on the green credentials of their relocation providers. These, in turn, need to be able to demonstrate that their own suppliers meet minimum levels in this area – and guarantee their entire supply chain conforms.
With sustainability measurements far from standardised, Derrick Young, Director at relocation company and FIDI Affiliate BGRS, explains how the development of FAIM in this area will help his business: “FAIM certification is important to us as it provides some degree of accountability and control over how people are doing. An environmental module will help us a lot, because we have to manage our suppliers to make sure they’re being compliant as part of our overall due diligence process,” he says.
According to one FIDI Affiliate, ‘FAIM 2023 will clearly need to include some measurement of carbon footprint and commitment to packaging recycling and green vehicle fleets when it launches next year. However, with many movers focused on their local area, it may also be appropriate to attempt to quantify and incorporate measurement of staff engagement, community outreach and other ‘softer’ areas of business sustainability.’
Van Sas concludes: “We are selective in adopting new elements to our standards and the trick is to recognise the real game-changers. These don’t come along often, but you better not miss them – or, in the competitive world we live in, it will set you back.”