Profiles In Travel Management: Motorola Mandates Using Meetings Team, Processes
Wireless equipment manufacturer Motorola last year developed a strategic meetings management program as part of a Six Sigma certification that resulted in mandating the use of its meetings team, a standard addendum and a meetings identification system.
The change was driven by a need to improve the overall procurement and control process for meetings, said Darrell Marciniak, global hotel commodity manager for Motorola Global Travel.
"We had historically had a very fragmented process whereby different business units and organizations within the business units were handling the meetings and events differently," he said. "We wanted to put together a program that ultimately would be very user-friendly for meeting and event owners and allow them to push the tactical pieces of the meetings and events they were handling to the strategic meetings management program team."
Marciniak and his Six Sigma team designed a meetings process that involves a partnership between the meeting owner and a procurement specialist. A meeting owner uses StarCite's online tools to register the meeting, which then is assigned to a procurement specialist in Marciniak's team. The specialist "ends up being their first point of contact and liaison between all other departments," such as legal and IT, he said.
Once the procurement specialist conducts a needs assessment with the meeting owner, sourcing is done and a series of bids are presented to the owner. The meeting owner then is guided to the company's Ariba system to get approval and is sent a declining-balance meeting card. The strategic meetings management program team helps with data collection, reconciliation and closing out the meeting.
"Once they register that meeting, the procurement specialist is there as kind of a guardrail to ensure the Motorolan follows all internal policies and procedures," he said.
The team also set up a meeting identification system. Once a meeting is registered, an identification number is assigned to it, allowing the team to check such metrics as meeting sizes and resource hours committed throughout its lifespan.
Also new to the meetings process is getting funding approval through Ariba, Marciniak said. It follows the signature authority process, which goes through the hierarchy of approval depending on the amount of spending requested. The company also locked down approval of purchase orders. If a purchase order went through the system that didn't have a meeting identification, the order would bounce back to the meeting owner. The process also is required to get a meeting card.
"Locking down the historic payment channels was definitely key in driving that compliance," he said. Compliance with the program is more than 90 percent. Any meetings with both 10 or more attendees and $3,000 in spending are required to go through the SMMP team.
Another project goal was to ensure the company had proper contractual protection. Now, Motorola sends an addendum to the selected venue with its standardized terms and conditions, including cancellation and attrition clauses, insurance and indemnification and competitor clauses.
"We've found that by slapping that addendum onto the hotel paper we get, Motorola is in a much better situation from a contract risk perspective," Marciniak said.
The Six Sigma project began in January 2007 and finished one year ago. The CFO and the chief marketing officer promoted the meetings program in a cobranded e-mail, which rolled out in North America, Asia and the company's five largest Europe, Middle East and Africa markets.