A moving experience

A moving experience

It’s not just about efficiency – it’s about a big dose of empathy, FOCUS learns at this year’s Professional Movers Association (PMA) Congress.


Moving home is one of the great traumas along with death and divorce. A lost or broken TV or cellphone can be replaced; but not a vase that has been in the family for generations. So the members of the PMA may almost be called the “Florence Nightingales of logistics” as they have to dispense a healthy mix of transport efficiency with the necessary empathy for customers.

“People make financial and emotional decisions about the possessions they decide to take with them – whether it is round the corner or around the globe. Our members are not just moving possessions – we’re moving lives,” says incoming PMA President Martin Oosthuizen. FOCUS interviewed him after his inaugural speech to the PMA Congress at Fancourt in the southern Cape. He shared the plans he and the board have for the future.

The PMA’s new President (left) Martin Oosthuizen and his predecessor Mike Kitshoff.“We will provide leadership in accordance with what PMA members wish to accomplish. Once these goals have been re-established we will action a new business plan,” Oosthuizen says. “The Consumer Protection Act, for example, has brought significant change to the industry which the association needs to take into account. We intend to set firm deadlines based on the strategy and will report back on progress soon. The process starts now,” he stresses.

There was emphasis on the importance of emotional intelligence by the first guest speaker Dr Gustav Gous. During supplier presentations the importance of care for customers’ property and values was underscored. Pet relocation enjoyed a special mention with two specialised service providers present.

The conference was attended by 132 sponsors and delegates, some from as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, Angola, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.

Another guest speaker was ex-Springbok cricketer “Vinnige” Fanie de Villiers who reminded delegates that passion and intense enjoyment are vital ingredients in getting to the next success level. Such passion of the delegates for the industry emerged clearly. “I’ve been helping people move for 30 years now and don’t want to do anything else,” one delegate said during a social break. “I’ve been with one company my whole career and love it,” said another.

Gavin Kelly, technical and operations manager of the Road Freight Association (RFA), gave a thought-provoking and provocative overview of the transport industry and flagged some challenges the regulatory environment holds. He gave several examples of rapid and random changes in road law enforcement made by local authorities to supplement income from fines. These are often in direct conflict with legislation. As the PMA is a member of the RFA, Kelly urged PMA members to contact him immediately should there be any doubt about a fine or prosecution.

A morning of intense business discussions also included the annual general meeting of the PMA and informative, short presentations from the sponsors: Mercedes-Benz; MAN; Yellow Pages; Boxlee Corrugated Packaging; Pets en Transit; AMI; Future Packaging & Machinery; PETport; Volvo; MiX Telematics; Reason Global; Hino; Shaft Packaging; Fuso; Transpaco Packaging and MSC South Africa.

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