All Aboard for Savings

GlaxoSmithKline's use of "visual guilt" helps drive more cost savings to the bottom line in the area of travel and entertainment expenses


Where the new solutions for managing T&E spend can help in this respect, according to Dan Ford of Rearden Commerce, is in providing a channel for companies to propagate policies down to the end user. Ford notes that studies by Aberdeen Research have suggested that only 6 percent of U.S. organizations have the ability to communicate policy to their employees in an automated fashion at the point of purchase for products and services. "The other 94 percent are relying on word of mouth through the company intranet or some dusty old policy guide sitting up on the bookshelf," Ford says. Rearden, for one, tries to remedy this by offering organizations personalized policy messages for their employees within its application.

Back at GlaxoSmithKline, Janan Johnson says that the company has been careful about how it has mandated use of the Rearden system. In certain discrete areas, such as pack and ship for some types of domestic packages, Rearden is the only option. The company currently is getting ready to mandate the system for booking certain travel, such as between its main office locations in the United States and London.

To executives at other companies looking to implement a T&E solution, Johnson recommends initially targeting one subcategory — such as air or car service — where success in terms of adoption rates, compliance and savings is more assured, based on the company's culture and current policies. Then expand the program out to encompass additional categories as opportunities present themselves. The more services that get added to the program, the greater the likely buy-in from the user community. "When you package all these services together in one place, it makes it very convenient for the administrative assistant or the direct user," Johnson says. She concludes, "It gives them a one-stop shop."

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