Interview with Charles Leo, Executive Director of The Family Movers:
Tell me about The Family Movers’ history and the key people in your organisation
The Family Movers was created in 1975 so we are proud to be one of the oldest locally founded moving companies in Singapore. For us, it’s all about providing at personalised service that meets the needs of each individual client and with more than 45 years in the business, our customers are in safe hands.
We’re proud members of the Harmony Relocation Network and we were one of the pioneers for Harmony in the APAC region. We’ve been FIDI members since 1995 and we’re FAIM certified, we’re also members of IAM, and we’re ISO 9001 certified.
I joined The Family Movers in 2000 and although I have left and worked for other moving and relocation companies in the interim, there is something about this company that is so special that I can’t stay away! I re-joined the business as the Executive Director in 2018 when The Family Movers joined together with the CFM Alliance. We work as separate companies but we work together where it makes sense to collaborate and support each other. We are distinct brands with different offerings and we each have our own niche in the market so we are essentially still competitors.
What services does your organisation offer?
As a business, our primary focus is on international household goods moving, though we also provide domestic moving services. We do a lot of work with RMCs, but around 40% of our work is with direct corporate clients and we build strong, lasting relationships with our customers, managing the whole process door to door as well as the insurance side of the move. In addition, we have diversified into the office moving market in recent years, a service which requires strong project management skills and our team have built a strong reputation in the field.
What makes you different from your competitors?
Our team and the pride that they have for the work that they do is what makes us different. Many of our operation crew members such as Malik, Mil, Jamil and Mike have been with the company for over two decades. One of the warehouse supervisors, Kamal, joined us at the age of 20 in 1981 and he has dedicated his entire career to The Family Movers, working his way up from warehouse worker to packer to supervisor. He’s now 60, but he’s an inspiration to the team as he’s so knowledgeable and capable. Raymond, our assistant operations manager has also been with the company for 23 years, having worked his way up from packer. Many other members of our crew have been with us since the 1980s and 1990s including Angie Ng who has been here for two decades.. In the office, seven of the exec-level staff have been in the company for at least two decades including our finance manager Cynthia. Our people are the backbone of the organisation, and as a team, we see each other as family. As we grow as a business, the most important thing for us is that we retain that ethos.
Is technology important in your business?
As a company, we successfully combine the traditional with the cutting edge. As a team, we have embraced technology, we are a paperless office, and we use Moveware technology to manage our client moves, including the Moby app for surveying. We use the same software systems as our sister company, DSP Relocations, and this helps us to offer a joined-up service to our clients that are looking for a single solution.
What is the household goods removals and relocation market like in Singapore?
There’s a really big market for corporate moves here in Singapore. The government is keen to attract foreign investment and many businesses have set up APAC HQs in Singapore over the last five to ten years. We are seeing more GM and procurement teams here as multinationals have bigger populations of top talent working in the APAC region. Our dynamic business development teams have really capitalised on this change, and much of the support that companies require is for short term assignments or permanent moves as multinationals see less value in the traditional long term international assignment where people move here for three or four years before moving on to another location. Things have gone full circle in the relocation industry and we are seeing MNCs keen to engage directly with moving and destination services companies like us rather than through RMCs to retain that level of control over the service that their assignees receive.
Since the pandemic began last year, there has been a downturn though of course. The Singaporean government is imposing what we assume will be short term measures to limit expats moving in to the country with the aim of boosting the employment rate for local Singaporeans but the long term plans that companies have for the region are unlikely to change and Singapore will remain a strategic hub in APAC.
How has the Covid-19 situation affected your organisation?
Singapore has placed very strict controls over people physically moving into and out of the country and as a result, the rates of COVID infections have been very low. However, this has made things difficult for expats moving into and out of the country, and it has made it more difficult for us as a company to operate normally. But there has been a gradual flow and work permits are still being granted so we have been able to continue providing services and as a business, our 2020 revenue was not too far behind that of 2019 so we are in a strong position.
With our office moving division, we supported many companies who needed to move their people to work from home, and then move them back again to the offices as the pandemic restrictions eased.
Tell me about some unusual moves that you have managed
Ten years ago, we moved one of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs and angel investors into Singapore. At the time, we had no idea who he was! It was only when a film about him and his former company was released the following year that we realised that we had moved one of the richest men in the world! In all credit to him, the reason we didn’t realise was because he didn’t make a fuss… he was just a genuinely nice guy that we helped to relocate. It was quite a shock to us all when we put two and two together!
Contact – The Family Movers Singapore
T: + 65 6266 5225
E: firstname.lastname@example.orgW: https://www.familymovers.com/LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-family-movers/