Program Administration

Emergency Repatriation: Supply Chain to the Rescue

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The Value of Teaming with Strong Supply Chain Partners

Corporate relocation is ever-evolving but the fluid nature of processes and protocols from country to country and even region to region can make this evolution a slow process.

Serving clients across a wide range of locations with different rules and regulations requires a strong team of suppliers. At CapRelo, we have cultivated a quality-vetted supplier network of ranging from temporary housing partners to household goods movers and we leverage this robust team to serve our clients in some sticky situations.

Client Request: Emergency Evacuation

One such situation took place early during the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. A client advised us on March 18 that they needed to do an emergency evacuation/repatriation of nine U.S.-based employees to their homes in Mexico due to the pandemic. The client informed these employees on March 19 that they would be flying home on March 21 giving CapRelo just two days to complete the necessary steps and assist the client and their employees.

We first canceled temporary housing to ensure timely notification and eliminate additional costs. This included coordinating leases with three of our temporary housing partners. Each lease included different terms and penalty fees, thus requiring a additional communication and analysis.

We also provided move-out instructions for each of the nine assignees. Through partnership – and negotiation – we reduced the liability on the housing contracts by tens of thousands of dollars.

Our team then worked with our household goods (HHG) partner, who stepped in and helped us to quickly arrange for all of the employees’ goods to be picked up on Saturday, March 21 even though we did not yet have the required documents from the Mexican Consulate. We were able to combine three of the assignees’ shipments into one, since they were friends and agreed this would make it easier for pickup. The pickup went well, and the assignees made it to the airport shortly before their flights to Mexico.

CapRelo consultants took phone calls that weekend to answer any logistical questions the assignees had, like where to leave keys or what time the movers would arrive. While this type of after-hours support is not uncommon, the sense of urgency in this case made it all the more important to have a calm and supportive coordinator organizing the departure.

Navigating an Ill Client

During the process of repatriating these nice employees, one of the employees became ill with an undiagnosed case of COVID-19 and was not able to go home. To ensure a safe quarantine period for the employee, we worked with our partners to extend her time in temporary housing, after we already had cancelled her lease.

We also postponed her household goods pickup. We let our HHG partner know that the assignee had been ill and confirmed that they would take all necessary precautions when packing up her goods.

Fortunately, the ill assignee recovered and was able to fly home on April 5.

Managing a VIP Move

Adding to the challenge, one of the nine employees was a VIP whose move included a large rental home and a family. Breaking this lease proved more complicated and we reached out to one of our destination services partners for additional support.

While, we worked hard to keep the costs as low as possible for the client, we ultimately chose a household goods partner who would go the extra mile for the clients and secure the required documents from the Consulate on behalf of the VIP.

Our team lead maintained ongoing communication with the VIP and his family, who were hesitant to return home. We worked through his concerns about his family and traveling and about letting the movers into his house. Lastly, we needed to determine a temporary housing solution when he returned home, as the assignee’s permanent home in Mexico had been rented out.

We appreciate the strong partners within our supply chain network. These partnerships have never been more valuable than during these uncertain times. Together, we succeed.

About the Author

Liz Simmons

Liz Simmons, GMS

Director, Operations

Liz manages our International Operations team and brings in excess of 22 years of industry experience to the role. She is responsible for operational delivery teams in Asia Pac, EMEA and North America, ensuring our teams meet our clients’ and customers…