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Moving times for FMs

15 June 2009

PFM’s Moving Trends survey into business relocations demonstrates how the tough economic climate is affecting the way FM’s handle their internal and external relocations, and which professional experts they use to help them

PFM’S LATEST MOVING TRENDS SURVEY - the 14th and the first to be conducted on-line – was presented at the BAR’s Commercial Moving Group conference in Brussels last month. Fieldwork for the 2009 Moving Trends survey was carried out in March and April with 429 PFM readers completing the online questionnaire.

The results showed that the number of moves is on the increase, with many of them generated by property consolidation. Internal moves were 10 percent up year-on-year with external relocations showing a 5 percent growth. The 2009 survey showed that 81 percent of respondents had carried out an internal move in the last 18 months and 44 percent had completed an external move.

“Internal moves have increased dramatically following a business restructure. We are continuing to look at more site consolidation,” commented an FM in the Financial Services sector.

Many respondents echoed this, saying that their organisations were cutting back on the total number of buildings and relocating the workforce in the retained properties. Employees were to be moved into the retained buildings, which now had to be reconfigured to accommodate the extra numbers. The facilities department is clearly shown to be at the forefront of implementing this property consolidation policy. The trend in 2009 is for more moves to be handled in-house. For external moves 25 percent of respondents conducted them in-house and for churn this figure grew to 69 percent, a 14 percent year-on year increase.

However the research showed that relocation contractors performed better than in-house services or other suppliers when it came to completing a move. We asked respondents how satisfied they were with a completed move.

Relocation contractors scored best, with members of the BAR’s Commercial Moving Group achieving the highest number of very good or excellent ratings. Overall the awareness of individual relocation contractors was slightly lower (see graph 3).

There were exceptions to this, notably Exclusive Move Solutions. Managing Director, Andy Carr commented, ”Exclusive Move Solutions is delighted to be shown as the fastest growing relocation contractor on the latest survey. The lasting partnerships we have developed with our clients have produced tangible benefits for their businesses, and sustained growth for ours.”

One contractor, Xpress Relocation, achieved an exceptional 18 percent awareness figure because it was unprompted. Their sales director, David Stanley believes this may be partially due to their success in the Commercial Mover of the Year Awards (CMOTY). “Xpress Relocation is very proud to have achieved Finalist and Merit status at this year’s CMOTY awards,” he said. “Our major clients have very specialist requirements

invariably leading to complicated moves. This in turn has led to our own expansion not just in the size of the business but primarily in the portfolio of services that we offer. We look forward to our increasing recognition in the marketplace”

Analysis of the key factors used by FM’s when appointing a relocation contractor shows that price has moved up to be alongside previous experience as the top two in the rankings (see graph 4). Interestingly, having a credible CSR policy and holding the new Commercial Moving Standard PAS 126 also featured for the first time in the key factor rankings.

The increase in the total number of moves is set to continue. Some 52 percent said they were actively planning a future move, with 73 percent planning a move in the next 6 months. Property consolidation is clearly the driver for this increase.

Respondents were asked to comment on how the current economic climate was affecting their relocation policy. Here is a selection of their replies. “Increase in office moves due to office accomodation strategy and smart/home working to reduce the number of buildings occupied” (FM, media sector) “Office space needs shrinking. Will be looking at site consolidation in the future” (Estates officer, local authority)

“Cost is a driver, coupled with extreme pressures in enduring all space is utilised efficiently throughout the organisation” (Facilities Director, Re-insurance)

“We are consolidating smaller offices, to get rid of some sites” (Project manager, education)

In the past 12 months the British Association of Removers has set up a number of corporate and strategic alliances with related organisations. The most recent alliance was signed with the FMA at last month’s Facilities Show. The BAR has previously announced alliances with BIFM, BT’s Business Movers Group and the National Federation of Property Professionals.

The BAR’s Commercial Moving Group are actively promoting the raising of standards in business moves.

By August 2009 all their members will have achieved the Commercial Moving Standard PAS 126, which is scheduled to be given formal BSI accreditation (BS 8522) later this year. For FMs, PAS 126 ensures that a commercial move will always be conducted to the highest industry standards. The CMG also run the Commercial Mover of the Year (CMTOY) awards. The winner for 2009 , Ede’s (UK), was announced at their May conference held in Brussels. The CMOTY award is sponsored by PHS Teacrate.

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