Challenge: A client in the financial services sector sought ways to reduce costs and maintain supplier partnerships and service levels. As this client supported procurement autonomy within each location, each location was managing multiple supplier relationships, with separate vendors, contracts, and pricing terms. There were no standard service level agreements or KPIs.
Solution: The client outsourced all activity to MSI and offered MSI services and programs to global locations on a voluntary basis. The response was 100 percent participation from offices in the Americas and 30 percent participation from EMEA and Asia Pacific offices.
MSI conducted an implementation with regional human resources teams and the client-preferred supplier network; we also focused on consolidation and centralization of data for tracking of spend and reporting. Additionally, we established and enforced supplier service level agreements and key performance indicators.
Result: The client saved approximately $340,000 per annum through new contract terms and audit reductions. Assignee/transferee satisfaction has exceeded 97 percent.
Challenge: A technology client had multiple vendors for U.S. domestic activity, as well as different suppliers in each region for global assignments. The client was having difficulty managing multiple providers and specifically desired consolidated reporting. The client also needed consistent service delivery worldwide and required assistance in consolidating policies to ensure uniform benefits across policy tiers and regions.
Solution: MSI led joint meetings in the Americas, EMEA, and Asia Pacific to introduce MSI tri-regional delivery, discuss previous service issues, and define process improvements.
Result: To meet the client’s requirements, we did the following:
Challenge: A client in the education sector wanted to minimize its overall household goods spend.
Solution: To help a client reduce HHG costs, we recommended the use of our Discard and Donate program and our Alternative Move Program (for employees with budgeted moves or lump sum benefits).
Our Discard and Donate program enables employees to donate or discard goods and personal effects before moving. A service picks up the goods and provides the employee with a receipt for a tax-deductable donation. The service can also dispose of items that cannot be donated. This helps to reduce the weight and volume of the pending household goods shipment and, as a result, can save clients thousands of dollars annually.
This client also realized additional savings of approximately 20 percent per move over a full-service van line move through our Alternative Move Program. This utilizes multiple partners that specialize in small shipments. It also allows a transferee to self pack or includes labor as part of the service.
Result: Annual estimated HHG savings for this client were approximately $40,600.
Challenge: A U.S.-based client was growing rapidly and had recently expanded abroad, particularly in the UK. The company already had other U.S. employees on assignment there and wanted to utilize MSI’s immigration services to deploy another. As we began to assess the new candidate’s situation, we found that the company’s UK entity had not complied with some immigration requirements for the existing assignees, which could have resulted in significant fines. This included incomplete reporting of changes in assignee status (job titles, salaries, etc.). We also found that there were no certificates of coverage in place for any of their assignees, nor were there any tax equalization policies.
Solution: MSI worked with local immigration authorities to ensure that all client assignee information was current, with minimal disruption to the business. We also provided a “compliance pack” to the company’s UK HR team that clearly outlined the correct processes to be followed going forward.
MSI further advised the company on the appropriate processes for tax and social security compliance. Although the client had originally intended to utilize MSI solely for immigration services, our immigration specialists have worked in global mobility for many years and are fully versed in all aspects of international assignment management, including tax and social security compliance.
Result: In providing expert guidance in each of these areas, we were able to help the client clearly understand all assignee requirements and avoid the substantial costs and reputational risks of noncompliance.
Challenge: A client was relocating its newly hired CEO, who traveled frequently and had limited time to communicate with the MSI operations director who was managing his move. MSI was instructed to make all arrangements through his executive assistant, which included selling a $4 million property and providing a variety of specialized services his family required. In addition, MSI was also asked to provide estimates in advance for these services and to maintain an updated spend and accrual report on the relocation.
Solution: To ensure that the communications and service level were impeccable, MSI sent its operations director to the corporate headquarters to meet with the executive assistant, establish a relationship, and develop a plan to ensure that we collectively met the CEO’s schedule and expectations.
Result: MSI successfully coordinated all activities and services through the intermediary, including the sale of the CEO’s property and the purchase of a new home in the host location. We also provided full documentation throughout the move to ensure an accurate record of all that transpired, and provided the client mobility manager with the information she may have needed at any time on MSI’s services and those provided by our underlying suppliers.
Challenge: A new retail client with no clearly defined policies or stakeholder consensus required an expedited 45-day implementation. The client also required extensive technology development and the implementation of special functionality.
Solution: To address the lack of clearly defined policies, MSI guided, defined, and documented new policy development. Our implementation team mapped tasks and responsibilities for internal and external stakeholders and managed to required project milestones to ensure that the schedule was met.
To address the lack of stakeholder consensus on processes, the implementation team provided detailed documentation for each of these, resulting in a Client Operative that is adhered to by program administrators across the business. Our team also identified the client’s unique technology requirements and developed agreed-upon project plans for development and implementation.
Result: The client successfully implemented within designated timeframe and MSI identified $175,000 in potential savings for client during the process. Technology was successfully developed and implemented, resulting in improved efficiencies and enterprise-wide access to critical employee mobility data.
Challenge: A hospitality client wanted additional cost savings and greater efficiencies in its mobility program.
Solution: MSI benchmarked its program, gathered data from internal business units, assessed all findings, and made specific recommendations. These, which have been implemented, included the following:
Result: Overall efficiencies and projected cost savings were significant. In moving higher lump sum amounts to a managed program, for example, projected annual savings were approximately $284,000.
Challenge: A large global retailer required assistance with its home sale program. Its marketing assistance program, in conjunction with a BVO program, lacked structure. As a result, approximately $3M was spent annually in loss-on-sale exceptions.
Solution: MSI implemented a mandatory marketing assistance program that required the list price not to exceed 103 percent of the average broker market analysis’ most probable sales price. We also amended the relocation policy to incorporate employee incentives, which included a $1,000 “fix up” allowance and a home sale bonus (two percent of the net sales price, if sold within the first 45 days of marketing, and one percent if sold within 46-90 days of the list date). We also amended the relocation policy to incorporate a standard loss on sale policy benefit, varied at the tier level, with a range of $25-$100K.
Result: Our recommendations resulted in reductions of 40 percent or days on market, 28 percent for temporary housing costs, and 28 percent for exceptions. Overall exception spend went from 33 percent to six percent.
Challenge: A manufacturing client’s new hire college grad was relocating from Boston to Los Angeles on a limited budget. With only a modest lump sum benefit and minimal personal funds, he needed to spend as little as possible while making the move.
Solution: After reviewing the client’s benefit package with the employee and conducting a detailed needs assessment, the MSI relocation manager assigned to manage his relocation began by recommending our most cost effective household goods option, the Alternative Move Program, described above.
The relocation manager also provided the employee with a free online rental toolkit, which listed websites for information on available rental properties and communities in the greater Los Angeles area. This toolkit included tips on negotiating with landlords, moving with pets, etc., as well as lease break language to minimize the impact of any penalties if he was relocated again.
Additionally, the relocation manager provided access to our transferee Web portal, which the employee was able to access via his smartphone during the entire trip. This site includes details on all authorized services and offers documentation downloads, key status updates, manager and supplier contact information, helpful tools and tips, expense submission and tracking functionality, relocation-related calculators, etc.
When it was time for the employee to drive to Los Angeles for his final move, the relocation manager located hotels along the way that would direct bill the costs to MSI. This enabled the employee, who had a $500 credit card limit, to use the card for his other expenses, such as meals and gas. She also sent the employee an itinerary showing how far he would need to drive each day and where he could stay on each night.
Result: Throughout the move the relocation manager monitored all expenditures and, as is always our practice, confirmed the total spend to date. This enabled the employee to stay well within his budget and successfully complete the trip to the new location.
Challenge: A Fortune 500 firm had a number of employees on assignment in Dubai, UAE. Under Dubai labour law, there was a requirement to make a terminal gratuity payment of five percent of salary for each year of service in Dubai. Although the intention of the law was to ensure that Emirates and third-country nationals on local contracts were not disadvantaged at the completion of employment (as there was no government pension or unemployment benefit), the law was not sufficiently defined to exclude international assignees.
Solution: Our client was paying a five percent allowance as part of the annual balance sheet to compensate for the employer’s pension contribution, but was paying the five percent again as a terminal gratuity payment at the end of the assignment. Due to the seniority and tenure of some of its assignees, payments were significant in size, typically GBP $20-$30k.
To resolve the issue and contain client costs, MSI’s account team brainstormed with UK and local legal teams to mitigate the problem. Working with local employment lawyers, we crafted an addendum to the client’s employment contract to be signed by any employees going on assignment to Dubai, waiving their right to these payments.
Result: Our client realized a savings of more than $650,000.
Client: Hi-tech manufacturing firm
Client Relations: Example of our commitment to client relations — kudos for MSI director from a VP on assignment to the Russian Federation
“I have had the great pleasure of working with Robert (Director, Client Management) … the best contact I have had in my ten years of experience as an expat. His work ethic and dedication stand well above the rest …”
“He is a fantastic man who continuously went out of his way to help us … always looks toward the future … to be prepared for possible obstacles and to prevent them in the best and most efficient way possible.”
“… Despite the difficulties of living and working abroad he always managed to make me and my family feel comfortable and secure in a challenging assignment environment…”
“His performance is outstanding and his devotion superb.”