One global network of service providers has highlighted how smart, sustainable solutions can lead the way when it comes to innovation of the relocation industry.
A growing network
First a quick introduction: Harmony is a cooperative network of relocation companies that provide moving and relocation services for corporate and private customers worldwide. “We currently have member companies in 65 countries but we are continually adding more,” says Paul Bernardt, Harmony’s Managing Director. “Our members are all independent, market leaders in their regions, and committed to making the difference between a good relocation and a successful new start.”
After talking to Aziza Nathan about Harmony Relocation Network’s successful cooperation with Inter IKEA’s mobility team, we also wanted to ask Paul for his perspective on that singular innovation. “When we were approached by Aziza Nathan at Inter IKEA, what she was requesting was quite unique. They already had their suppliers / vendors, who are all experts in their field and greatly trusted by Inter IKEA. We just had to create a good, functioning software for the client, and as they are using our technology, we have two employees who work within Inter IKEA for internal support.”
In other words, a tailored process was defined to accommodate all of Inter IKEA’s trusted vendors (including Global Connection). There is a clear structure of who does what / how, but within that frame each vendor makes their own decisions without involving Harmony in every step. Meanwhile Inter IKEA’s employee advocacy continually supplies the data / feedback everyone needs. Clear structures, quality services with less comms, less handholding and less costs, all of which combine to deliver smart, efficient and, yes, harmonious relocations.
Big Tech solutions?
In terms of technology, this approach to relocation only relies on a centralised software to connect the client and service provider. But does Bernardt believe there are opportunities for major technological advances to the relocation industry? “The industry is small, worth just several dozen billion of US dollars, and industries that size generally do not attract investment from big-tech. VC’s are quickly disappointed with the limited ROI,” he says.
Change from within
However, there is one development that may speed up investment in technology, and that is the upcoming award of the US Military to one global provider: “The winner of that bid – likely to be decided by the year-end – and the technology they decide to work with may be in a position to lead the standardisation in the industry. That is only related to household goods moving though.” In the meantime, according to Bernardt innovation must come from within the industry, and Harmony and Inter IKEA’s cooperation highlights that there are smart, sustainable and synchronous solutions available in the ‘here and now’.
Photo: Paul Bernardt