Tue, 25 Feb 2003

Make sure your move is smooth going

Nita Jahardini, Contributor, Jakarta

When it comes to moving and packing services, it's sometimes hard to pick out the company that knows its stuff from the many Johnny-come-latelies who are simply on the lookout for a quick buck.

The sad results of resorting to the latter only become clear when a cherished family heirloom arrives at its destination in pieces, or much-needed office furniture is nowhere to be found on opening day.

Moving is stressful (some research has shown it is one of the most stressful life changes), and the mover needs to be a partner in the process, not an organization that is learning as it is goes along.

There are some important points to bear in mind. No moving job is the same, and the customer deserves to receive hands-on, careful and thorough service capable of anticipating any problems along the way, and offering complete solutions. After all, you are paying for it. Below are some important tips to ensure that your move will not turn into a nightmare.

- All in One: From my own experience, integrating services (such as moving and packing services, along with freight) to ensure a smooth moving process, and thus keeping customers satisfied, is essential.

A company may specialize in corporate or household moving, but an established mover that is experienced in all aspects of moving services, with door-to-door international and domestic operations, is likely to offer added value.

- Reference Point: Any company that is confident in its services will have no problem in supplying a prospective customer with references from its customer list. Check these out to find out whether the company really does live up to its promises. You know the old saying that prevention is better than cure? It also holds true when it comes to planning ahead in moving.

Think about all your possible needs and concerns, and convey them to the mover's representatives. Of course, your first worry may be about breakages in transit, but what about packing material availability and insurance? No question is a stupid question, and any reputable company will be glad to respond to your concerns.

- Who's in Charge?: The staff should be at the ready from the outset of the moving process. Shop around for those companies which offer a complete listing of everything that you need -- and then some. They should be able to anticipate what lies ahead, and be ready to help you at every turn in planning the move. This may range from the basic moving arrangements, documentation assistance, packing and unpacking services, warehouse facilities, customs clearance, to insurance coverage and shipment fumigation.

They also should be there to help you at the other end with the issues of unpacking and setting up. With these major and minor details taken care of, you can concentrate better on the other details that go along with the move.

- Handle with Care: When you have difficult items to move, such as delicate and/or expensive items, or even large pieces of industrial machinery, make sure that the company you entrust with the job knows what it is doing. Seek out a company that has experience in what we at Pelangi Semesta term "advanced packaging services", which should comprise everything from artworks, glassware, machinery, furniture, plants, and other perishables. Once again, references are key, so don't let the clever sales talk get the better of you.

- Plan B: Even if you believe you are putting your belongings in good hands, plan ahead. Take photos of your items, for this will stand you in good stead if the worst does happen. Document any untoward happenings during the moving process (i.e. were the movers prepared when they arrived?). And, of course, use a firm that offers insurance.

Basically, the same rules apply for either a corporate move or a smaller but no less important household relocation: Shop around, find a company with a proven track record and complete facilities and be prepared just in case something does go amiss. Finding the moving service you need should help smoothen the process.

(The writer is an executive with PT Pelangi Semesta, which offers sea freight, moving and packing services as part of the RPX Group)