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Travel buyers must work closely with other company departments to ensure a successful programme, Chani Honig, global commodity manager for Intel, said.
She said that while she “owned” the procurement side for her company, the actual travel programme was the responsibility of HR.
“They own the policy, the procedures and the connectivity with the employees. We own the sourcing strategy, the negotiations, the cost impact and managing the suppliers.
“It means we have to work extremely closely together. HR is our closest customer and we have to work with them to see we get a successful policy,” Honig said.
She was speaking today (September 20) on the opening day of the Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Europe conference in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.
The two day conference, which has attracted 320 delegates from around the world, is themed the 3rd Dimension – the need for buyers and suppliers to have relationships with others crucial to the industry.
Honig said working with HR meant the two departments sat down and spoke regularly. Each side has a different focus: HR on keeping the travellers happy and procurement on the costs.
“There is a balance between the cost impact and the travellers’ happiness. You prioritise. You can’t have everything you want so you need those discussions,” she said.
It was the talks that kept the “right goals in place” and made approaches to suppliers consistent with those goals. It also kept other stakeholders, like security and finance onside.
Jerry Nelson, security manager for KPMG, said he had set up a travel security programme in 2006 working with the procurement department.
He told the delegates that if employees wanted to go to risky areas, they wanted to know who was the traveller, had he or she been to this type of area before and what was the process last time.
“Without these things you can’t have a travel security programme. I see myself as an enabler,” he said.
“My challenge is to send our people into these hostile locations and to do it safely. Currently we are trying to get back into Libya and Kabul.”