Last month, we attended EuRA’s 2018 Conference in Dubrovnik, and beyond having a great opportunity to connect with those in the industry, we attended a number of talks and workshops. Below, we have summarized our key takeaways.
Eura Conference – Croatia 2018 – by René Stegmann
Attending the EuRA conference in such a picturesque location, with the sunshine all day everyday, made for a pleasant business experience. On our way to Dubrovnik, Croatia, we managed a slight detour to experience some culture and wine in Kotor, Montenegro. Learning some of the history and meeting the locals, sampling their food and wine all made for a good start to the conference. We were guided by a local guide to get the full picture of their more recent history.
The conference venue was a resort outside Dubrovnik itself. We arrived early to represent Relocation Africa at the TIRA Day, which was an opportunity for all the TIRA members to benchmark, share knowledge, and ensure we are leaders of best practices in our businesses. It was a great day, and ended with a beautiful boat trip and dinner in Dubrovnik itself.
The next day was filled with Supplier – or as I prefer to refer to them, partner – meetings of which there were many, all with their unique delivery of sharing what each of their businesses are seeing as trends, and how their businesses are adapting.
There are a number of trends which are similar across all partners, and generally in certain locations, volumes are lower, however, in other locations, volumes are good. There seems to be a fair amount of consolidation in the industry as Lexicon has acquired Sterling, Weichert has acquired The MI Group, Madison Dearborn Partners has acquired Sirva, and K2 Mobility has acquired Harbour HR.
There were big talks on GDPR and the impact on our businesses, with the new regulations having just been implemented as at 25th May 2018. As a South African/African business that operates Globally, it is important to ensure we are compliant, in order not to contravene the new legislation.
It seems the discussion between the DSPs (Destination Services Providers) and the RMCs (Relocation Management Companies) has been managed in a palatable fashion. However, there was a feeling that some of the questions were not answered fully. I am sure this will be taken up by those that need to, as it is an opportunity to raise concerns, however, the view is that you don’t want to be offering opinions that will possibly impact your business – even if it is for the improvement of the industry as a whole. During this session, questions were also asked as to why RMCs are now requesting commission from their partners, as traditionally RMCs request a management fee from their clients to cover these fees. There was a feeling that, should these be disclosed and as a DSP we are able to account for them in our fees, it would be appropriate. But note that this is a deviation from the norm of business over the past 25 years Relocation Africa has been in business.
The continuation of driving costs down and improving service delivery is on the top of each RMC’s mind’ and we as a consolidated group need to review how we can do this.
Essentially both the RMC and the DSP need to collaborate better to build partnerships with their clients, and have a direct impact on cost efficiencies and value creation. However, I noted that we as a DSP in Africa, and all the others are often referred to as suppliers. Without us as partners, the RMC could not service the client, and we should therefore never be referred to as suppliers, but only as partners. As you can tell I am pretty passionate about this particular point, but I believe when we are treated as partners, the value creation and cost efficiencies will ultimately be identified to the benefit of the client.
We had many meetings with RMCs, DSP partners, and others who were attending the conference, which allowed our business to appropriately benchmark and remain current in the industry.
We also attended a farewell to Beverly Mayhew, who has been a leader in our industry, carving a groove for many of us to follow. She recently sold her business, and although she has officially retired, she wants to remain involved in the industry.
The next EuRA conference we will attend will take place in Munich, Germany, from 30 April to 3rd May 2019. To learn more, click here.
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