Internal relationships key to successful travel buying

Gurjit Degun
7 May 2014

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7 May 2014 | Gurjit Degun in Las Vegas, US

Building relationships with other departments in the company helps when creating a successful global travel procurement strategy.

That’s the advice from Pam McTeer, director of procurement G&A travel merchandise materials at Coca-Cola Refreshments, and Barbara Holcomb, global procurement lead at Ingredion. They were speaking at the annual International Supply Management conference in Las Vegas, US, held by the Institute for Supply Management.

“Internal audit is our best friend, because from an internal audit standpoint you can really drive policy and compliance - so the things as travel managers that you want to get implemented,” Holcomb told delegates.

McTeer acknowledged the importance of the HR function: “[Given] our responsibility as a corporation to our travellers, from a risk and safety perspective I think they are all very helpful in driving the initiative forward from a global perspective. Bringing HR onto the programme is very helpful in driving corporate responsibility.”

She also advised purchasers to build a “cross-functional team” across the countries the business operates in so no-one feels left out. “You can’t have anyone feeling like they are not any less important that anybody else,” she said. “You also don’t want to make it US-centric, because I assure you it will fail if you do that. You really have to listen and make sure you understand what the objectives are.”

Delegates also heard they should pick up data from a wide variety of sources to have good visibility.

“Data is an interesting animal because you really have to take it from a number of different sources. I get it from my suppliers, airlines and hotels," she said. "There’s also the other animal - what do [travellers] spend at the end of the day because when they check in at the airport, they could [ask for] a seat assignment, so now I have to get visibility from the credit card if they used the corporate card. Those things are difficult, while they might have done everything right they might have upgraded all along the way.”

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