A couple of weeks ago while we were getting ready to meet a group of Chief Procurement Officers, we faced an interesting spark: how much are they really interested in business travel?

Asking Chief Procurement Officers what they really are interested in when it comes to talk about business travel can be definitly challenging. Especially comparing to asking Travel Managers the same question – they are completely focused on business travel unlike CPOs and converging on a shared point of view requires a different kind of approach.

Yes, we can easily confirm that travel does matter. But the reason is quite less obvious than anything you can figure out (especially knowing that it comes from us).

Our argument takes into account – in effect it is based on – the acknowledgement that business travel is almost always not a core purchase area for our CPOs. Business trips can hardly be as relevant as textiles my company needs to produce armchairs or as any other row material or direct purchase, even less important than the former.

Okay, my dear CPOs, we do understand, but not taking care of it is totally a different thing!

To analyse the issue and arrange the right spot for business travel on CPOs’ desks – and in companies’ priorities list – we worked on an impact matrix involving different areas within Procurement Office’s responsibilities.

The axes that describe the matrix are not the same as the ones apt to define a business (such as profitability or supply and demand), but have much more to do with indicators concerning purchasing complexity and emotional impact.

Purchasing complexity deals with difficulty in execution, continuity in time, tasks number, frequency and ease in finding and understanding information.

The emotional impact concerning a purchase – travel, furniture, stationery, canteen or any other not-core branch managed by CPOs – is always evaluated on organization people as a whole (with differences for executive boards, to say the truth). The emotional impact can directly affect one employee or indirectly reach even more people by word-of-mouth originated by colleagues’ experiences or top-down from top management.

Analyzing each different procurement area’s positioning on our matrix, we noticed that as complexity and emotional impact raise the impact on Procurement Office’s performance (and on company’s performance) grows too, along with risk.

Where does business travel stand in this framework? We got a clear picture, that strengthens Travel Managers’ authority and helps CPOs increase awareness in business travel role – that can’t be denied and that we’ll discuss together soon.




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