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Conference OMNI style

Jul 22, 2013
It was at the splendid Hermitage Hotel in Monte Carlo, just around the corner from the world’s most famous casino and looking down upon the world’s most exciting motor racing circuit, that OMNI (Overseas Moving Network International) held its annual conference in May.










The OMNI conference is unlike any other in the moving calendar.  It has not many more than 100 or so delegates; but numbers are not what matters at OMNI.   It is a gathering of the senior management and owners of some of the world’s leading mobility companies who come together to discuss business, yes, but more importantly, to build and maintain relationships with friends.  Business cards are all but redundant at OMNI.  Even newcomers, there to make their presence felt, soon realise that it is a gentle place in which the normal rules of networking do not apply.  Hang back, listen, soak up the environment and, in no time at all - you belong, and always will.

 

Predicting the future with Lord Lamont

The business meetings at OMNI are held in one room; virtually everyone attends.  No side meetings, one-to-one interviews or private corporate entertaining.  The OMNI people do everything together: work and play.  The theme for 2013 was economics and finance.  The opening speaker was none other than Lord Lamont of Lerwick, more familiar to Brits as Norman Lamont, the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister) in the early 1990s.  He delivered a remarkably amusing speech, first commenting on the impossibility of economic forecasting – it was like “looking for a black cat in a dark room and the cat isn’t there,” he said, quoting the Russian Finance Minister - then proceeded to make his forecast for the economic future of Europe and beyond.  The irony was intentional and not lost on the audience.  But, in his defence, having successfully guided the UK economy through a major recession, he was uniquely qualified to pass comment on the one that has been with us for long enough now.

Sadly Lord Lamont did not have much solace for Europeans although he did give praise for the way in which the US economy was beginning to emerge from the darkest days and was now set on a path of improved fortunes.  That prosperity would underpin the rest of the world until the developing nations took up the baton, he predicted.  In Europe, however the problems were more severe.  Any bailout plan for the Euro would require the countries most likely to need financial help to rescue themselves and Germany, the one country enjoying economic strength, did not fundamentally believe in bailouts.  His prediction was that Germany will continue to do just enough to avoid the euro and the Union from breaking apart and the whole continent would be locked into a period of marginal growth for some years to come.  It was an entertaining, incisive and enlightening performance if not being particularly encouraging to many of those in the audience.

Image: Lord Lamont

 

Financial vetting

Until last year FIDI membership (and, therefore the FAIM quality standard) was a requirement of OMNI membership.  That rule was, however, relaxed in 2012 leaving OMNI needing an alternative method of ensuring, as far as possible, that its members are financially secure. The changes made to the FAIM Standard in this respect, removing the need for independent financial vetting for other than new FIDI members, made the problem all the more acute.  However the OMNI meeting saw two presentations from Dun & Bradstreet - first from Dr. Warwick Knowles, the company’s Deputy Chief Economist, followed by Mark Preston, Head of Scoring and Analytics - that clearly illustrated how the company could provide the necessary financial information on prospective new members if necessary, in an efficient and economic way.  At a subsequent AGM, the OMNI guarantors approved in principle the concept of using a company such as D&B to handle financial vetting of its membership.

 

 

OMNI at rest

Despite the opulence of the setting, and the modest numbers, the OMNI people know how to enjoy themselves. The conference started and finished with dinners in the hotel: the final night including a little play (but very competitive) gambling to mirror the culture of the location.  Party night came in-between with the local members, Interdean Paris and Grospiron, sponsoring a night out at a nightclub.  But in typical OMNI style this was not just any night of bopping.  OMNI took over the whole of the famous Jimmy’z nightclub with spectacular entertainment in the form of a high-speed dance routine and lightshow that previously had graced the closing ceremony of the Paralympics in London.  Not your average night out but, then again, nothing at OMNI is ever average.

 







Bengt Jonsson joins the OMNI Board

Bengt Jonsson of Alfa Quality Moving in Sweden has been elected to the Board of OMNI (Overseas Moving Network International). The OMNI Board consists of six members each representing a specific global region.  Bengt represents the European region.  He replaces Nick Kerr from DT Moving who has served on the OMNI Board for nine years including periods as the network’s president and treasurer. 

Bengt joined the Board at the OMNI conference in Monte Carlo where he also won the greatly coveted Paul Mason Trophy as the winner of the OMNI golf tournament squeezing in with 40 Stableford points, one ahead of Bill Lloyd from Asian Tigers in Indonesia. 


                                                                                                                    


Graebel takes platinum honours at OMNI

Graebel Movers International from the USA took OMNI’s ‘top booker’ award once again this year having shipped over 20 million pounds of traffic to other OMNI members during the year – in round figures that’s close to 3,000 twenty-foot containers - a remarkable achievement, yet one that the company has repeated almost every year in recent history.  OMNI companies are encouraged to trade within the network as much as is practical.  Every year the organisation awards honours to those from each region who head the league table and to those companies who have significantly improved their contributions.  Other regional winners this year were: Trafimar Relocations Services – Central and South American Region; Elliott International – Africa and Middle East Region;  Asian Tigers Mobility – Singapore – Asian Region; TEAM Allied – European Region; and Wridgways The Worldwide Movers – Australian Region.  Top improvers included: Bolliger in Italy; Ziegler Relocation in Belgium; and Voerman International in The Netherlands.

Photo:  Bill Graebel accepts the Platinum Award as OMNI top booker from OMNI President Charles Luyckx.

Photo:  Simon Mason presents Bengt Jonsson with the Paul Mason Trophy as the winner of the OMNI Golf tournament.


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