Why procurement should be 'best friends' with finance and legal

Travel buyers dealing with mergers and acquisitions (M&A) should “make finance and legal your best friends”.

Nikki Rogan, global procurement travel director at Fujitsu, said expert help was needed to manage transition agreements and legal contracts when dealing with M&A.

Speaking at the Business Travel Show Europe in London, she warned of contract duplication and data differences between travel management companies (TMCs).

She said: “During the process, make finance and legal your best friends, for the transition service agreements that you have to go through as well as legal contracts. Also, really work to get to know your stakeholders in the new company, to make sure that you’re aligned. What I found worked was getting pilot groups together and working to talk through policy and processes.”

Rogan also advised travel managers to ensure they had visibility on travel and procurement data.

“There’s been multiple duplication of supply contracts,” she warned. “One of the biggest issues that I came across in the process is data differences between TMCs, different levels of reporting of the data. When you’re trying to merge it, it’s really difficult to get it like for like and make sure we’re tallying up the data.”

Rogan advised during M&A to keep in contact with suppliers when cutting down on TMCs and combining travel programmes. 

“It would be good to have open forums with suppliers and buyers just to see we’re not intentionally taking away all that spend,” she advised. When holding these discussions, she suggested procurement remind suppliers, 'Don’t be short-sighted with what could potentially come from it in the future. Regardless of whether I’m managing this much spend or that much spend, my strategy and the way I work is exactly the same'.”

Calum Hawley, global travel manager at Endeavour Mining, added: “One of the big things I’d say for anyone that’s going through an acquisition or merger, and you have control of the newcomers – don’t wait to speak to suppliers until the contract. Have a living and breathing document which can be retouched at any point.”

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