About the Afnor Group
An international operator in quality and management for systems, services, products and skills, the Afnor Group offers socio-economic stakeholders practical, specific and recognised tools allowing them to establish a visible and sustainable presence on the world stage.
Its expertise is a vital asset made available to over 75,000 customers in 90 countries. The group generates revenue of €148.3 million (as of 31/12/2016) and employs 1,262 employees, including 280 internationally. It has a global presence through 14 regional delegations and 28 facilities.
Afnor is organised around 4 broad areas of expertise: standardisation, certification, specialist publishing and training. This organisation creates various issues for the travel office to manage since, in addition to general management and ‘support’ functions, travel affects all entities. Around 400 employees travel regularly.
An inventory of the existing process and the determination to improve
Automation of the overall travel and expenses claims management process has several aims:
- To optimise costs and expenses
- To control and manage travel expenses
- To be in step with market developments
An initially unsatisfactory situation
Travel management is centralised and managed by a 2-person team who make up the travel office. This team manages the process from ticket requests to delivery: this way of working is based on old technology. ‘As soon as online tools arrived, we wanted to assign higher-added-value tasks to the travel office’, says Marie-Lise Hennere, head of reception, meetings and travel. In September 2006, a consultancy firm carried out a diagnosis of the situation, set a benchmark and made a recommendation. The main areas were:
- Decentralisation of ticket purchasing to users
- Automation of travel orders
- Setting up a search engine (Self Booking Tool)
- Linking the expenses claims management process
- Use of a lodged card
- Sale support for all employees
- Transparent rules
- Automation of travel orders
- Improved management of the travel policy
What’s behind the project?
Afnor carried out an internal survey because it wanted to optimise its travel expenses and believed that technical developments in this area should be taken into account. The expiry of an existing contract with a travel agency triggered the desire to ‘start afresh’ and reorganise the process.
‘My staff in the travel office had experience working with an SBT (search engine configured in accordance with our travel policy). A travel policy was already in place. But we needed to go further’, says ML Hennere.
A project team was set up and included a representative from every affected department: IT, quality, purchasing, general services, accounting and assistants. A project manager was appointed.
The key market players responded to the invitation to tender. ML Hennere and the project team worked to specifications prepared with the support of the consultancy firm. This specific document identified all the selection criteria for the solution and used a scoring and weighting system. The compilation of these scores drove the project group to choose the Notilus solution. There were 3 main reasons:
- User-friendliness of the solution
- Financial aspect
Involvement of all Notilus staff and relationship with DIMO Software employees.
‘We were supported through the change in terms of the transfer of workload and responsibility to users: it was a question of skilful communication’, says ML Hennere.
Firstly, expenses claims, the simplest part of the travel process, were decentralised. Interfaces were made with the accounting tool.
We then tackled the online and offline travel section with Traveldoo. A steering committee was set up. Deployment was rolled out gradually in 2008.
‘The DIMO Software project manager did amazing work in terms of analysis, configuration and testing. Support from DIMO Software was vital to the success of this project, which I tackled apprehensively’, says ML Hennere. Availability, training, professionalism, listening skills and patience are some of the strengths that characterise the Notilus project manager
Real benefits on 2 levels
Advantages for the company
Rationalisation of tasks in the travel office, automation and optimisation of expenses claims management and accounts management: ‘the whole process, from the travel order and booking to the expenses claim, accounting for expenses and payment of suppliers, is now organised, managed and controlled: the tool has become essential’, says ML Hennere.
These benefits translate into financial gains, time savings and organisational advantages.
This implementation has also allowed various project teams to evolve with new technologies.
Advantages for users
Optimisation of time and productivity.
There are many perspectives and projects inherent in the field of business travel: we strive to provide statistics and reports (travel budget by department, by employee, by assignment, etc.).
‘As a travel manager, I want to be more flexible and independent in the output of statistics. As much data as possible that, once consolidated, will give me the chance to improve negotiation with travel suppliers’, notes ML Hennere.