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Do we need a new UK trade association?

Jul 18, 2013
There has been plenty of speculation of late that a new trade association for the UK moving industry is brewing, but it does now appear that the rumour is set to become a reality in the very near future. By Steve Jordan



The Alliance of Independent Movers (AIM), a new trade association and training academy, is poised for launch.  Its objective, it said in a recent press release, is to help the industry raise standards, minimise or eliminate industry issues (whatever they might be) and help movers to achieve their own goals by promoting themselves as high-quality professionals and tackling what it believes to be poor customer perception.

The organisation is remaining a little secretive for now and is not prepared to reveal the team that’s driving it.  It is, however, in the process of running a survey to see exactly what the industry wants and expects from a trade association.  So, do you think we need a new trade association? Now’s your chance to have your say!

Results so far show that over 90% of respondents to the survey acknowledged that a new trade association is or may be needed; over 90% of the survey respondents indicated that they agreed there was opportunity for raising the level of professionalism for the mutual benefit of themselves and their customers. Apparently, nearly 70% think a trade association should represent the whole industry and currently 49% do belong to a trade association at the time of completing the survey.

Matt Faizey from M&G Transport, is not someone who is backward in forward when it comes to voicing his opinions. "Any form of competition entering the TA marketplace can only - if well grounded and with a quality, viable product that holds members and the public's interests at heart - serve to benefit the industry as a whole. However, it should ensure its ears are open at all times, and that its intentions are always honourable towards movers, and for the professional furtherment of a trade which we all love and desire to see attain a higher, and more widely recognised status among the public."

The press release says that AIM recognises that it will have a battle on its hands in the face of what will undoubtedly be fierce competition and what it acknowledges is an apathetic attitude of some movers who just don't think change will ever happen.  In my experience people in the moving industry are anything but apathetic, what they need, however, are clear benefits and good value.  It remains to be seen whether the new organisation will come up with the goods. 

According to AIM, their mission is to “act fairly, reasonably, respectfully and ethically and their cause is to create a system that works well for all movers, regardless of size, experience, capability or knowledge”.  That’s a laudable aim however it remains to be seen exactly how that can be achieved and how the enthusiasm of the ‘still masked’ organisers can be maintained without an overwhelming commercial interest.

If there is an attractive financial incentive for the organisers it will be very interesting to see whether the industry is prepared to give its blessing.  If the benefits of membership are worthwhile, I would hope the industry would be sufficiently enlightened to allow those who have had the initiative and put in the work to make a decent living.

The great danger, however, is that AIM (awfully close to the mighty IAM by the way) gets bogged down in its own existence and takes its eye off the ball when it comes to customer service.  I have seen it many times.  Once you start talking about membership criteria, quality control inspections and matters of ‘committee’ it’s a fast and slippery slope on the way down to irrelevance unless you have the infrastructure and commitment to make it work.  If you want my advice chaps, whoever you are, keep it as simple as you can and never lose sight of who pays your wages.

You can take part in the new Alliance of Independent Movers survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NEW-TRADE-ASSOCIATION

 

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