Author: Peter Brady, Vice President Global Technology & Services, CWT Energy Resources & Marine
Although conditions seem to be improving in global oil markets, experience over the past years reveals that companies in the energy, resources and marine (ERM) sectors must continue to streamline processes to keep costs in control. Travel remains a key function for these companies to maintain their operations at rigs, fields or mines, which still have to be serviced by staff all year round. As part of streamlining costs, many need to explore ways in which to make travel processes considerably more efficient, and therefore reduce costs.
Clearing the path from complexities
The nuances of managing staff and contractor travel in ERM industries has always been a very complex process. The distinct processes involved in arranging logistics and commercial travel often results in organisations keeping separate in-house travel desks. This can make the overall travel experience inefficient, challenging and troublesome – not just for operators and booking agents, but also for passengers.
What’s more, these processes are frequently managed through manual spreadsheets, and the changing nature of the offshore business makes it even harder for companies to accommodate last minute travel requests or changes. Often companies and their passengers have been left with very few choices, considering the constant changes in plans and itineraries that these sectors are known for.
The cost of maintaining multiple travel desks and the safety risks caused due to passengers making non-compliant travel decisions make this problem more challenging. In some cases, the communication gap that exists between the logistics and commercial travel worlds can compel companies to make decisions that may increase the cost of their overall operations.
Moving to a streamlined approach
Untangling the web of the various logistics and commercial travel arrangements to create a streamlined process may appear a daunting task, but can be achieved through a systematic and organised approach, yielding strong results.
As a starting point, it is important to have a good understanding of the process required to get a worker from home to site and the impact that a single change to this process can have up or down stream. Internal processes to consider include: who is creating the bookings, how the bookings are being made, approval processes, change requests and lead booking times. Are these processes that can be changed or streamlined?
Next, look at booking best practices throughout the business (or industry). Are all rig or travel managers following the same process when coordinating and sending travel requests to the travel desk? If not, why? Are line managers consistent with approvals and confirming change requests for workers on and off site?
Capturing data is key, and the best way to do this is through one platform. Instead of having multiple touch points taking care of different booking needs, all bookings can be channeled through a single automated travel and logistics management system. This minimises complexities whilst providing an efficient booking process, which in turn ensures consistency in data used for financial reporting, workforce management and optimisation, traveler tracking and duty of care.
When mining for savings, organisations should leverage technology to streamline their logistics and corporate travel arrangements, managing them as a single process. Doing so can help an organisation cut its travel spend by up to 15 per cent and reduce overall travel arrangement times by up to 75 per cent. So, not only is a business saving on the cost of actual travel, but it’s also saving on the operations associated with such travel.
Beyond savings, streamlining logistics and corporate travel also presents many other potential benefits for companies—from making bookings more efficient, simplifying internal and external reporting, increasing traveler compliance and safety, and improving the ability to handle last minute travel requests and changes. The first step to reaping such benefits is to deploy a technology that’s easy to use and accessible to all.
About Carlson Wagonlit Travel
Companies and governments rely on us to keep their people connected. We provide their travelers with a consumer-grade travel experience, combining innovative technology with our vast experience. Every day, we look after enough travelers to fill more than 260 Boeing 787s and 100,000 hotel rooms – and handle 105 events. We operate in around 150 countries, and in 2017 posted a total transaction volume of more than US$ 23 billion.