In the second of a two-part Q&A on German pharmaceutical company Grünenthal’s managed travel program, Victor Scarante, head of global indirect procurement, gives insights into their cooperation with BCD Travel on hotel and airline optimization, TripSource® and the upcoming global consolidation.
In travel management, strategy and operational implementation are closely interlinked. How was the cooperation with BCD Travel regulated in this respect?
We have regular status meetings with our two BCD Travel consultants to discuss strategies, such as negotiating new conditions. For example, a new condition would only come into effect for hotel providers or airlines if the discounted prices are correctly implemented and displayed in the booking systems of all parties involved – in SAP Concur, at the various European BCD Travel business travel agencies, and at the respective hotels. In order to guarantee this, counterchecks are necessary. The implementation worked very well and with a very strong partnership orientation.
What were the concrete advantages of the successful implementation?
We received Europe-wide reporting for the first time and were able to agree to better conditions with 70 hotels and two hotel chains globally. We also signed new contracts with two airlines. Grünenthal is also able to make better dynamic decisions. For example, one airline was taken out of the program because it was consistently more expensive than others for intercontinental flights. We’ve also limited some hotel costs and can now quickly identify savings opportunities in what-if scenarios. Continuous reporting is also important because the travel market is very dynamic. Flight costs per mile can rise or fall dynamically for the same provider in a short period of time. None of this would be possible without the prior consolidation of travel management and appropriate reporting.
What’s next on your agenda?
We’re about to introduce BCD’s TripSource® booking tool to our travelers all over Europe. We’ve used the app in Germany, France and UK and have had good experiences with this application for hotel bookings. An important advantage is that it is compatible with SAP Concur. That really gives us an end-to-end solution.
By the end of 2019, we also intend to establish global travel management in Latin America and the U.S., leveraging BCD Travel in those countries as well. This will help ensure we have a truly consistent and global program. We have already set the schedule for implementation with my colleague from the Global Procurement Team in Panama, David Saenz, who is leading the regional implementation. The detailed planning for the individual countries will be worked out together with the local representatives of BCD Travel at local level and implemented step by step.
What is your most important experience for the upcoming rollout in America?
We will incorporate all our experience and solutions. The big advantage is that we don’t have to reinvent travel management in America. SAP Concur is already in use there and we can implement the whole travel management program locally –from travel policy to TripSource. However, this will not happen at the push of a button. We’ll take the time we need, for example, to take market-specific features into account and, above all, to conduct training for our employees. Implementation is essentially a communication task.