Relocating homes or offices to a foreign country can be extremely stressful, but a good relocation services company can help smooth over the transition by taking care of all practicalities.
"Our people, history, industry experience and, most importantly, the fact that we not only provide a moving service, but also operate as an agency to help expatriates settle in distinguish us from our competitors," says Lance Allen, managing director, Santa Fe Relocation Services.
Established in 1980, Santa Fe Relocation Services provides a comprehensive range of relocation related services, from visa and emigration services to home and school searches, orientation tours, cultural training and tenancy management.
The company now operates 36 offices in Hong Kong, mainland China, Macau, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Santa Fe also facilitates office relocation, records-management services and general cargo and logistics services in China and Hong Kong.
Unlike many other removal companies that outsource their relocation services, Santa Fe is a one-source provider. Individual and corporate clients can obtain Santa Fe's moving service as well as all additional services related to the move by dealing with just one Santa Fe contact throughout the entire process, thereby ensuring continuity. Alongside the convenience, this also ensures that the company's service standards remain consistent.
The company handles thousands of moves around the globe every year and constantly improves its IT infrastructure.
"One of our IT functions aims to improve staff productivity by prompting employees in a timely manner to tend to service related details and to keep track of progress. We also have our own IT department to administrate and update our expanding database," Mr Allen notes.
While Santa Fe's interactive customer platform allows clients to keep track of the progress of their shipments, the company understands the importance of keeping private and confidential data safe from prying eyes.
"In our customer-driven business, we are concerned about information security and data protection. We were awarded the global information security management system standard ISO27001 certification in February. We were the first company in our industry in Asia to achieve this," Mr Allen points out.
Santa Fe is also committed to the ISO9001 standard for quality management systems for its day-to-day operations and to the ISO14001 environmental management standards promoting eco-friendly policies in all its offices.
In Hong Kong, Santa Fe currently employs 285 staff, from packers to senior management, whose average period of employment with the company is 9.8 years. "We are working in a customer service industry, where people make or break the business, and Santa Fe is fortunate to have a great team of people. They are our greatest assets," notes Mr Allen.
In order to attract and retain quality staff, Santa Fe offers competitive pay packets and performance-pegged incentives. The company also provides comprehensive training, and identifies employees for further development.
Good communication skills, including proficiency in spoken and written English, are essential. Some Santa Fe staff can even speak three to four languages, in addition to Cantonese.
"The nature of the business requires team members to have international exposure and be open to diverse cultural backgrounds. In fact, 90 per cent of our staff in the relocation service department have lived in other countries, including Singapore and Australia, mainland China and some European countries," Mr Allen expands.
However, it remains a challenge to attract experienced staff to fill the growing number of positions created by the positive business outlook.
"As the world becomes smaller and companies utilise their resources more smartly, there is a strong and constant need for our expertise to help businesses transfer and orientate their employees," Mr Allen emphasises. "People who enjoy helping relocating families to settle in are also assured of a bright career in this industry."