An entrepreneurial spirit and a respect for great service
James E. Thompson is the Chairman and Founder of the Crown Worldwide Group of Companies, providers of Relocation and Assignment Management Services for many multinational and government organizations. The Crown Group is the largest privately owned company in the field of international relocations, with 265 worldwide locations in almost 60 countries.
A US citizen, Mr Thompson graduated from San Jose State University with a BSc in Aeronautical Engineering. Following a tour of Europe by motorcycle, in the early sixties, Mr Thompson arrived in Asia in 1963 and established his first company, in Yokohama, Japan.
In its formative years, Transport Services International (as it was then known) operated a quality service out of one office. It was the beginning of a boom time for far Eastern business and also a beginning for international relocations. The company soon prospered through hard work and a focus on customer service. 1970 saw its expansion into Hong Kong as success continued and thereafter into Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and other Asia Pacific locations. In 1975, Transport Services International became Crown Pacific, and by the early ’80s was established as the leading mover in Asia. The increase in mobility of the global population saw further growth for the company, and offices were established across America and Australasia and Europe. The expansion was accompanied by a new name, reflecting the company’s geographic scope. It is now known as the Crown Worldwide Group.
The importance of providing a quality service
Consideration in dealing with corporate and government customers, and care in looking after their people, or handling their possessions are the essentials for Jim Thompson. “We see it as a duty to treat with the utmost respect our transferees belongings – the things they’ve used their money to buy... Similarly, it is a principle in Crown to maintain a balance between corporate policies and the courtesies on which we believe our company should base its service.”
As any company grows, its ability to ensure that service is delivered consistently, and at a high quality, is diminished if it lacks the right controls and a considerate culture. Under Jim Thompson’s leadership Crown’s culture of delivering a great service has flourished. In support of extensive training programs, including a Crown “university”, the company recruits the best people to fill roles worldwide and encourages them to experience life on assignment in other countries.
To provide a measure of its service, Crown’s quality program, QUEST, tracks performance in a range of customer initiated criteria. The strength of the program is in the transparency of its data and reporting, and that it relates directly to the service areas that customers most care about.
The company has been awarded the prestigious Hong Kong Award for Services in Export Marketing, and received the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce Innovative Services Award twice. Crown has also received the DHL/South China Morning Post International Award as Hong Kong’s best international company.
Making a successful business sustainable
Mr. Thompson and his wife Sally have a passion for helping the people of underserved communities. His particular interests are with charities that focus on children, health and education. He serves as Chairman or as a Board member of numerous charitable organizations. To name a few, he is the member of the corporate fund raising committee of Changing Young Lives Foundation; the head of Community Business Leadership Team; a member of the Executive Committee of the Society for the Promotion of Hospice Care. He is also on the Advisory Board of the Salvation Army.