Relocation partner selection: from RFP to big value
A global assignment or employee relocation is a big investment, and usually of strategic importance to an organization. Given the cost of the whole operation, the role of the purchasing manager is essential to ensure that the right relocation services are acquired at the right price, and that they cover the needs of the relocating employee.
If you are going through an RFP process to select the right relocation partners, the first thing to know is what services will have to be funded. Relocation is much more than sending an employee abroad for a while. You are arranging for the movement of household goods and family members – and the complexity of international shipping and transportation means each tender from a prospective relocation company should cover a number of key components.
What are the services that you will have to pay for?
The most obvious cost is that of moving the people. You will need to cover air fares and possibly temporary accommodation if housing has not yet been arranged.
In terms of moving goods, most relocation companies will offer a complete package, which includes a number of different services. Included in the price are typically the following:
- Pre-move survey – an early assessment of what is required during the move, helping to ensure problem-free transportation.
- Packing – can often include helping and advising the assignee on how to most effectively pack their goods. This service also ensures the most efficient use of container space to minimize shipping costs.
- Shipping/transportation – managing the transportation, whether by sea, road, rail or air.
- Documentation/customs – ensuring that all necessary legalities are observed, and that the shipment clears customs with minimum delay.
- Storage – the temporary storage of goods.
- Delivery – safe delivery to the final destination.
- Insurance – all reputable relocation partners will include either their own insurance, or arrange it on your behalf.
You can expect each of these to be separate line item on the estimate.
What else should be included on the RFP?
No two corporate relocations are the same, and the more established relocation partners – and most FAIM-certified movers – have learned that flexibility in offering additional services is frequently required. Their experience in handling what are often referred to as “destination services” is often a key selling point. These services range from helping with visas and work permits to managing the transportation of family pets – they are described in more detail in the article Not just shipping and trucking: 5 surprising home relocation services. It’s important to consider whether destination services are listed as part of the RFP or tender process.
It all comes down to money, or does it?
As a purchasing manager, you know that people look to you for a final figure. So – what’s the bottom line?
The main cost of a move is often the shipping itself, but there are a number of ways that purchasing managers can work with relocation partners to minimise costs. When shortlisting potential partners, it may be worth asking what measures they could take to streamline costs – and seeing if they agree with the points raised in our post 5 Reasons Why a FAIM-Certified Partner Can Save You Money.
Relocation partner selection – getting it right
Partner selection is, of course, critical. An experienced relocation partner will of course be able to guide you through the elements that go into the costing of an international corporate relocation. A FAIM-certified partner will probably not be the lowest cost option, but that is because of the extra support they offer, reducing both risk and friction. Their job is much more than just taking goods from A to B – in the same way that the job of the purchasing manager is far more than just choosing the lowest price.