We heard a very disturbing story last week about a mover who lost a sizeable piece of work to a small van operator. Nothing new there then! There has always been a divide between the guys with trucks, staff, premises and membership of associations and the guy with nothing more than a 3 ½ tonner.

Now, we know better than anyone that there is nothing wrong with small van operators. Many of you reading this probably started with a Luton van and a lot of effort. However, what concerned us was the way this all played out. It appears the work was for a governmental body which stipulated the successful bidder for the work would need quality standards certification, membership of a recognised trade body and many other criteria that would protect the customer from any form of malpractice or shoddy work.

The mover bidding for the work went through the various hoops, including plenty of forms and paperwork. He submitted everything, and after the closing date he duly called the organisation and enquired if he had won the work. He hadn’t. The customer told him that the job was awarded to an operator with a few 3 ½ ton Luton vans, no accreditation and even a suspect track record for delivering a quality product.

To add insult to injury he was also told that the decision was 100% price based! The person responsible for awarding the contract added that the organisation was publicly funded, and therefore price was king. Apparently, the large company’s price was double that of the mover who didn’t have all the correct and necessary paperwork! The customer also added that the reputation of the winning bidder was well known….but what could he do?

Clearly this is a very disturbing story and I’m wondering how many of you have also been affected by this kind of bad procurement practice? If accreditation of varying levels is being requested, surely it should be incumbent upon the issuer of the tender/person requesting a quote to ensure the winning firm is compliant with the criteria? Is this something movers should be discussing with their trade associations and compliance bodies?

By the way, the work involved moving priceless works of art and other treasured items, owned by all of us…….