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The OMNI Conference 2014 - Business in Paradise

Jun 16, 2014
The serenity of the OMNI conference at the W Retreat in Bali presented a sharp contrast with the frenetic activity at FIDI in Singapore for those entitled to attend.


Whereas FIDI is a constant chase from one business meeting to another, OMNI is on a different level completely.  Day-to-day
business between members is rarely touched upon.  Business sessions are strictly strategic, reflecting the roles of the owners and senior managers who attend. Social gatherings are unique, top quality and as relaxed as they can be.  This year there was a charitable side to OMNI too.


OMNI Business

Business at the OMNI conference this year was split into four key areas: compliance, risk awareness, LCL services and the development of the OMNI network.  All were fully attended – but that’s the norm at OMNI.  Bali was the 18th consecutive OMNI conference that I had attended.  Each one has been extraordinary in its own way but the fact that it is possible to gather the business leaders of some of the world’s most successful moving companies together and they all turn up for the business sessions, has never failed to amaze me.  It’s a trick that is rarely achieved elsewhere in my experience.  Business at OMNI is serious stuff.


Photo: Charles Luyckx, OMNI President, welcomes delegates to Bali; Sachin Singh from Dow Jones Risk & Compliance; OMNI delegates.



This is a subject that has been exercising OMNI for a year or so. How exactly can the demands of large corporates, for suppliers to prove not only that they have not been involved in anything nefarious but that their whole supply chain is clean, be met?  Sachin Singh from Dow Jones Risk & Compliance provided the answer.  Sachin said that research had shown that 71% of companies had, at some time, delayed or stopped working with a business partner because of compliance risks.  He also said that 45% of companies claimed to have lost business to what they believed to be unethical competition. To combat the problem his company has spent the last 12 years building over two million unique records designed to expose any individual or company that has been involved in money laundering, corruption, fraud or sanctions busting.


Some early adopter OMNI companies had been trialling the Dow Jones system that provided confirmation that their company was clean and gave access to these records so that suppliers could be easily and discreetly checked out.  They reported that it was effective, simple to use and instantly accepted by their corporate clients.  This system is now available to all OMNI companies.


Risk Management

Michael McDaniel, a lawyer specialising in the insurance industry, got down to basics by looking at the risks involved in both air and sea shipping and questioned whether they were always taken fully into account when providing insurance services to clients. Michael said that since the dawn of commercial international trade, the transportation of goods has been recognised as an inherently dangerous venture. He warned that to provide full protection was impracticable as the cost would be prohibitive and said movers should take all necessary steps to: protect their liability, protect transferees’ risk, have proper contracts, and adopt claims procedures and protocols to promote fair adjustment of legitimate claims and the professional handling of any that were contested.


Michael closed by providing advice to companies about how best to deal with difficult claimants.  One key message was to use a claims handling company as this allowed the mover to keep a distance, appear to be on the ‘client’s side’ and, if all else failed, to step in and pay the claim to solve an impasse.  


Global LCL services

OMNI has appointed Kuehne+Nagel as an approved supplier for global LCL services.  Scott Powell from the company presented the service saying that it gave OMNI members access to group rates and service levels on over 7000 weekly sailings to some 1000 locations worldwide.  Scott said that the key to the K+N service was the transparency it provided to OMNI members making sure that rates were fully explained at origin and avoiding any unexpected charges at destination.

Photos: Michael McDaniel; Scott Powell.


New OMNI President

After his two-year term as OMNI President Charles Luyckx from Elliott Mobility in South Africa stepped down, handing over to Willy Toedtli from Trafimar Group in Mexico.  In his acceptance speech Willy said that it was a great honour to become OMNI President. He thanked the OMNI members for their confidence, paid tribute to the hard work of the OMNI office in the UK and, thanked what he called, "the small band of talented people" who had served with him on the Board for the last five years.


Photo:  Willy Toedtli takes over the OMNI Presidency from Charles Luyckx


 Ian Waters honoured for 25 years’ service

Ian Waters, OMNI’s General Manager, was honoured at the OMNI conference in Bali in recognition of his 25 years’ service to the organisation. Charles Luyckx paid tribute to Ian’s energy and enthusiasm in progressing OMNI initiatives and working with successive Boards “guiding the organisation keeping it both safe and legal throughout every commercial turn”.

Charles made special mention of Ian’s talent and hard work in organising the annual OMNI conferences which, he said, were recognised as being extraordinary in t
he industry for their blend of business and relaxation.

 Photo:  Charles Luyckx (right) thanks Ian Waters for 25 years of service to OMNI


Relaxing with OMNI

Business is always top of the agenda at OMNI conferences, but when the work stops, OMNI knows very well how to help its delegates relax.  Everything is done to make the social events exquisite, enjoyable and easy for everyone.  The welcome reception, for example, was a simple buffet on the roof of the nightclub overlooking the ocean; the party night was at the exclusive Mosaic Beach Club just a short shuffle along the sand from the hotel; and the gala dinner, again in the hotel, was as relaxed as a fine-dining dinner can be.  Speeches were kept to a minimum.  Ceremony was virtually non-existent. The recharging of batteries was paramount.


Around the island

Despite the beauty of the W Retreat hotel, OMNI did get out and about to see the island and meet some of the local people.  Again the planned group activity was as well supported as the business sessions.  But instead of bustling everyone onto coaches, OMNI had a better idea to transport delegates around the stunning Balinese countryside: a fleet of open-topped, multi-coloured VW conversions.


Lunch was at a traditional Balinese restaurant followed by a gentle meander that took in the Tanah Lot temple cut into an island just off the dramatic surfing coast; a typical Balinese house; and an opportunity to plant rice in a Paddy field (at which The Mover editor excelled, see photo).  It was the perfect way to see the island which attracted more than a few admiring glances from the locals.



Giving something back

Bali and its people are very welcoming to tourists, and it was only fair that OMNI gave something back in the way of thanks.  As part of the conference fee, each OMNI delegate had made a contribution to one of two local schools for the provision of new facilities, to plant new gardens and to buy sports equipment.  Before arriving at the schools delegates were issued with charged water pistols unaware that the children, who had given up their Sunday to join in the fun, had been given weapons too.  When the VWs stopped outside the school, the battle began.  It was a beautiful moment.  Charles Luyckx received a certificate of thanks from the school principal as a memento of the day.


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