Let's say that the word comes down from the C-suite: you need to cut travel costs by 10%. How are you going to do it?
For most managers of travel expense, this is an occasion for a long pause. We put in place controls and expect reasonable results. Our faith is that our process will ensure that we are keeping costs down without causing our travelers to revolt. But how do you make a real cost cut?
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The usual response is to shove the problem down the organizational structure: every unit that travels is told to spend 10% less. Of course, that makes as much sense as the Federal Sequester—cuts have to be prioritized. Clearly, trip value must come into play. Do we have any tools for this?
We are pretty good at making sure that a given trip does not cost much more than it needs to, but as organizations we take a pass on judging trip value. We leave this in the hands of individual managers and travelers who are loathe to admit that a trip they authorized or took might have been a waste. Still, trip value is at the heart of cost control whether or not the mandate for cutting comes down from on high. Is there a way to objectively score a trip?
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