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CHRIS DAY, HEAD OF PROCUREMENT Church of England Central Services After 25 years in procurement, Chris Day is something of an expert on building a travel programme from the ground up. When he took on his current role as head of procurement for Church of England Central Services, it was the second time in his career he had taken on such a task. “One of the most obvious things to do is under- stand what sort of spend you have – who’s going where and when,” he says. “Because of the type of organisation we are – a provider of support services to church employees – we have some unusual desti- nations and out-of-the-ordinary ways of travel. “We got under the skin of the spend data from


our expenses claims and finance system, so we could find out what the expenditure was and the cost centres it was being charged to. You need to get the data into good sensible order so you can interpret it.” Day worked with the financial director to analyse the data, including how much was being spent on rail travel, hotel and flights.


“By doing this, we came up with a very sensible top-level figure, which we could use in the tender documents for appointing a TMC,” he explains. “It took a few months as we looked at the different types of travel.


“I also needed to understand what the organisa- tion wanted, which was to change the environment in which people were booking their own travel.” A key element to setting a single travel pro-


gramme is to create a single travel portal with one TMC – making it easier for travellers to book and improving duty-of-care. Day also emphasises the importance of getting the


“buy in” of key stakeholders at an early stage. “I spent time finding out who the key stakeholders were and convincing them of the huge benefits of using a single provider,” he adds. “They were quick to realise the benefits of putting controls in place, as well as improving management information, traveller safety and creating a preferred programme to get the benefit of charity fares.” As for getting the programme up and running,


having a close relationship with an account manager from your chosen TMC is crucial. “It’s important the TMC’s account manager is very visible with all the stakeholders when going live,” says Day. “After you’ve gone live, the account manager also needs to be available to respond to any queries and questions very quickly when necessary.” Other factors include having access to low-cost


travel providers, and a TMC being able to price- match cheaper deals that travellers find online.


80 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019


DON’T BE BEATEN IF YOU ARE KNOCKED DOWN AT THE FIRST HURDLE


A GLOBAL TRAVEL MANAGER Finance and investment company Having worked in investment man- agement as an EMEA travel manager for a significant number of years, our travel manager recently took on a global manager role. “What enticed me to the position was that the company had never had a global travel manager before and the operation was split across the regions and fragmented,” she says.


“I was, therefore, given this fantastic white sheet of paper to create and develop a global travel programme, where the travel community was more joined up, there was a consistent approach to policy, global reporting and technology; that would enable the users to have a much better experience. She says she learnt that managing a global pro-


gramme is complex with many twists and turns, and that a crucial step for her was to gain support quickly from key stakeholders – at all levels. “I spent the first six months meeting and greeting,” she recollects, “giving the stakeholders the informa- tion that they needed to enable them to support me in making sound decisions and change.” The manager also worked with her analyst team


to produce a quarterly travel reporting deck that enabled stakeholders to control their travel spend and keep within budget. “The deck also demonstrated that making small changes had a material impact to overall costs and how much could be saved for the firm. This helped me to publish significant saves in the first year,” she adds. “I also took advantage of collaborating with our other entities, where we were able to leverage our volume and spend with key suppliers, making better negotiating for all. “For those buyers embarking on a travel role, be it big or small, I would advise they learn the culture and nuances of the company, before making any major changes, as no two programmes are the same. Cost saving and automation should be key words in your dictionary, too. “And don’t be beaten if you are knocked down at the first hurdle; remember there is always room for change and improvement.”


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