Our background with Safaricom
Safaricom is the leading provider of converged communication solutions in Kenya. In addition to providing a broad range of first-class products and services for telephones, broadband Internet and financial services, Safaricom seeks to improve the welfare of Kenyans through value added services and support for community projects.
Here's how we made it possible...
The travel program FCm manages for Safaricom involves mostly local travel within Kenya, as well as a small amount of travel within Africa and to international long-haul destinations. Safaricom has a high volume of travel with many last minute requests that need to be managed quickly and at short notice. Prior to partnering with FCm, Safaricom had a fairly mature travel program in place incorporating a number of preferred hotel agreements.
Staffing and service levels
Due to Safaricom’s high number of travel requests and large travel volume, the account called for a dedicated team that understood the client’s travel requirements. Key to this team was a consultant experienced with booking tours. The client’s travel preferences also required FCm travel bookers to work onsite to deliver booking efficiencies and to ensure adherence to the company’s travel policy.
Purchase order processes
Safaricom’s payment procedures require suppliers to have an approved Purchase Order (PO). However, this was not happening and instead, FCm was receiving an interim document referred to as a Purchase Requisition (PR) to provide service pending a PO. This would not come in timely and in time, started to affect the timeliness of payments to FCm for travel services. It was imperative to turn this situation around.
Managing supplier agreements
Safaricom’s travel program prior to partnering with FCm was somewhat fragmented. Safaricom’s air travel and ticketing was being handled by a travel agent, whereas other services such as hotel accommodation, meetings and events and immigration services to name a few, were handled by different suppliers. This posed a challenge in terms of management both from an administrative and logistical perspective.
FCm implemented a range of strategies to effectively manage this complex and busy account.
FCm Kenya recognised that the client required a highly experienced team that included a consultant with tour and travel operator experience. FCm appointed a hand-selected implant team with a specialised skill set necessary to effectively meet the client’s needs. Within the first 12 months, FCm assigned an additional consultant to this team to manage the client’s high volume of travel requests and booking requirements. FCm also proactively responded to the need for additional account management support, by providing a dedicated account manager, credit controller and also fostering strong multi-level relationships between Safaricom and FCm’s senior management.
Defined purchasing procedures
FCm organised a meeting with relevant stakeholders and articulated the challenges around this issue. All parties came to a mutual agreement that no services would be provided henceforth without a PO. This presented a major shift in operations for both parties for purposes of adherence. At first this had challenges, but eventually compliance levels increased and payment processes improved.
Managing supplier contracts
As Safaricom already had a number of hotel agreements in place, FCm introduced a tripartite contract solution between Safaricom, their preferred hotels and FCm. This was designed to ensure that all parties were working together for the best result. FCm now plays a lead role in negotiating, overseeing and managing hotel contracts for Safaricom, while ensuring that all stakeholders in the supplier chain benefit from the new contracts.
The savings translate to almost 10% off the rack rates or published rates for hotel accommodation and meetings and events. FCm has consolidated all of its travel services under the one roof to deliver further savings.
FCm was proactive in negotiating discounts with Kenya Airways, British Airways and Etihad Airways. This discount represents an average of 12% discount on every ticket purchased, delivering a new level of savings for the client.
The discounts negotiated were deducted at point-of-sale, meaning that for every eligible ticket or route a 10-15% discount was applied per airline. In cases where Safaricom did not meet the minimum threshold set by an airline, FCm put in place a corporate loyalty program that ensured Safaricom earned points that could be used to redeem either in the form of tickets, upgrades, baggage allowance or lounge access. The same can also be used towards corporate social responsibility activities.
FCm and Safaricom’s partnership involves more than just travel management. It is a well-rounded relationship where the two companies collaborate on a range of initiatives. In July 2013, FCm Kenya held a Travel Expo over three days in three different Safaricom premises. Various airlines and hotels attended to showcase their products, services and properties to Safaricom travellers.
FCm also helped to secure over 100 raffle prizes from suppliers for the Safaricom Charity Concert. All proceeds were donated to Zabibu Children’s Home.