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Striking out in Dubai

Jan 07, 2016
Albert Lopez, known the world over as the group vice president for Interem in Dubai, has taken a leap of faith: he’s started his own business in the vibrant city, Innovation Mobility. As with any new business, he’s looking for support from his friends and partners around the world.

Albert has been in the moving business for over 35 years and spent the last 20 years or so at Interem, building it from scratch.  “But it was time for a change," said Albert.   

So, last July, that’s exactly what Albert did.  His new company, he suggests, pays much more than lip service to innovation.  It is his aim to develop a company that does much more than provide a moving and relocation service; he intends to use his extensive knowledge of the industry to educate as well.  

“We need to make sure that the expatriate is well guided and understands the challenges and the processes involved in relocating their families,” he said.  Sometimes there can be problems because corporations do not understand the realities on the ground and origin agents are mainly concerned with getting a shipment booked, collected and shipped.  “There are times when you have to point out that what they are doing might not be correct.  For example, if I know it will take someone two months to get a visa there is no point in saying it can be done in one month.  That just causes them more problems.  It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish that matters.”  

In Dubai there are also many cultural differences that it’s difficult for a newcomer to fully appreciate.  “It can be a very hierarchical society.  You have to know how to handle people, to talk to them at their own level and to gain their trust.  It’s my long experience of handling these situations that allows me to keep customers happy no matter what level of society they may be from.”  

The reality is that moving internationally can be a highly complex process and, in the future, it’s likely to become more so.  Albert is totally committed to his business and knows that it will be this kind of honesty and practicality that will set his new business aside from the competition.    

In Innovation Mobility, Albert has his insurance policy that will allow him to stay in the country that he has embraced for most of his working life.  But that’s not the whole story for him.  He is now able to do things his way, to accept and sometimes refuse work on his own terms, and to provide the service he believes his international agents, customers and their transferees really need. “If I can do a job in the way the customer wants it done, I will say yes.  If I can’t, I will say no. There has to be no compromise on quality and service,” he said.  “I don’t believe in cutting corners, it’s a very short-sighted way to do business.”   

Albert has set the ball rolling on a high note in the past few months with fantastic feedback from customers, has professional crews capable of handling many assignments a day and will soon be employing more professional staff.  He is mindful of the need for corporate compliance and ethics while maintaining competitive rates.  He has applied to join IAM and will, when his new company is two years old, be applying for FIDI/FAIM.  “FIDI is the benchmark in the industry.  It’s the only organisation that keeps you on your toes.”  

Meanwhile Albert will be doing all he can to build his business, covering the Middle East & India region, through the friends and business colleagues with which he has built strong working relationships over many years.   “People know me, my dedication, stamina and standards, and understand how passionate I am about this business. I hope I can rely on them for support.”  

Albert can be contacted at: albert@innovationmobility.ae  

Photo:  Albert Lopez.

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