Achieving FAIM in Venezuela

Jul 04 | 2024

Steve Jordan talks to Zenaida Romero and Juerg Degenmann from Mudanzas Internacionales Global in Venezuela to find out how they achieve FAIM certification in a country on the brink of collapse.

Mudanzas Global employees

Achieving FAIM certification for any moving company is an important and impressive achievement.  Doing so without any non-conformances is an extraordinary accomplishment.  But in these pages, despite the level of dedication and hard work required to pass FAIM, we rarely write about it.  Difficult it is, but it’s also something that every FIDI member must achieve.  Sadly, that means it’s not usually newsworthy.

But this is different.  Zenaida Romero, General Manager of Mudanzas Internacionales Global in Caracas, Venezuela, recently contacted The Mover. She explained that her company had achieved FAIM accreditation for the third time in a row with no non-conformances.  That’s impressive by any standards, but in Venezuela!  That, I felt, deserved more investigation.

So, during the FIDI conference, I caught up with the company’s CEO, Juerg Degenmann, to find out the latest.  It’s not the first time we have written about the situation in Venezuela.  Over the last 10 years or so we have explained some of the political and social difficulties and the effect they have on doing business in the country. It seems it’s hard enough for any company to function at all.  But to achieve a perfect FAIM report, three times running.  How can that be?

Juerg explained that he was very proud of the achievement and reminded me that his company was the first in Venezuela to achieve FAIM back in 2000.  But with elections due in the country in July and the US election looming later in the year, he said that Venezuela is currently on hold.

“There is little moving in or out of the country. It’s very hard to keep the business going.” The people who wanted to leave, and could afford it, have already done so.

The minimum wage in Venezuela is $3.50 a month.  No, that’s not a typo, it’s $3.50 a month, not an hour.  Juerg recognises that people cannot live on that money, so he pays them much more.  “Anyone trying to live on $3.50/month is going to rob you.” And with 80% of the population trying to survive on such a low minimum wage, Venezuela can be a very dangerous place. His employees all travel to and from work together, arriving and leaving at the same time, just to keep them safe.  

There is no direct travel to or from Venezuela,” he explained. “We can’t open bank accounts; we have no embassies.  There is little electricity and the Internet is patchy.  I have a nice house but even I can only get water once a month.”  He must fill a 50,000litre tank, which is just about enough to last, if he’s careful. Juerg believes that the July election will not change anything as Nicolás Maduro, who assumed the presidency when Hugo Chávez died in 2013, is likely to be returned. “This government started 26 years ago with Chávez. The young people don't know real democracy. The corruption is terrible.”

So how do you run a business, on FAIM standards, in this environment? ...

Photo: Juerg Degenmann (left front) and Zenaida Romero (centre front) with the Mudanzas staff.


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