manage a smooth TMC implementation
You’ve put a lot of effort into finding the right TMC, so now it’s time to get the implementation right. Elaine Kerrigan of NYS Corporate and a number of clients pass on their top tips to make it work
STEP 1: UNDERSTANDING. Before you get started, take time to get to know your TMC and help them understand your company culture. “Make sure the TMC understands how your processes work and how best to marry them with their own,” says Elaine Kerrigan, NYS Corporate's Implementation Executive
The TMC will then have the grounding they need to pull together a bespoke implementation plan covering all activities, proposed phases and the key roles and responsibilities of those involved.
“Having support throughout the implementation was key for us,” says the Travel Category Manager for air traffic control service NATS. “Ultimately, everything ran smoothly and this was in no small way down to pre-implementation planning.”
STEP 2: INFORMATION. “Information is vital for any implementation. For a system to run like clockwork, everything needs to be in place and every tiny detail connected so that it all works,” says Kerrigan.
A good TMC will take on as much of the initial workload as they can and allocate only minimal actions to the client. The Operations Director for procurement specialist CASME adds, “We didn’t feel there was any pressure on us to make our implementation happen, but rather we were led through the process.”
The more information a TMC can elicit from a client the better, but essential details include contact information, authorisers, cost centre codes and the data required to create booker and traveller profiles.
STEP 3: COMMUNICATION. “None of us like change – it brings difference and uncertainty. The best way to overcome change anxiety is through communication. Both the procurement team and your end-users need to know what’s going on and when it’s going to happen,” advises Kerrigan. Consider putting together a communications strategy that incorporates the likes of e-shots to staff as well as introducing key bookers to your TMC contacts.
STEP 4: TRAINING. If staff are going to be using an online booking tool then training is imperative even though most tools are now intuitive enough to be used right away. “Providing proper training helps ensure that bookers feel confident using the tools,” says Kerrigan. “It has also been shown to increase online adoption rates, as well as assisting with consolidation of spend and compliance.”
TMCs can typically offer training through online WebEx, video self-training and face-to-face training.
“Once our contract was implemented, initial in-house training sessions were arranged with our staff. Also, new users are able to access online training modules which they have embraced and found easy to use,” says the Deputy Procurement Head for a client of NYS Corporate.
STEP 5: TESTING. Few implementations are hitch-free and there will always be a little tweaking needed here and there.
Ensure your TMC checks the systems that have been set up, including the addition of negotiated rates, preferred suppliers and travel policy. Run a series of test bookings and invoices to double check everyone is happy with how the processes work.