Meet the Buyer: Richard Childs, Biffa

With over 200 sites, travel man­age­ment is a key op­er­a­tion for one of the UK’S lead­ing waste man­age­ment com­pa­nies, Biffa, says its Group Pro­cure­ment Cat­e­gory Man­ager

The Business Travel Magazine - - Arrivals Contents -

Biffa is a lead­ing UK in­te­grated waste man­age­ment com­pany pro­vid­ing col­lec­tion, re­cy­cling, treat­ment, dis­posal and en­ergy gen­er­a­tion ser­vices to busi­nesses and house­holds across the UK.

I have been work­ing as the Group Pro­cure­ment Cat­e­gory Man­ager for the last six years look­ing af­ter the group’s busi­ness and pro­fes­sional ser­vices. Over the years I have seen sig­nif­i­cant growth in the com­pany. We cur­rently have around 7,900 staff of which roughly 2,500 are of­fice based. Around 800 of our staff travel reg­u­larly to over 200 sites across the UK.

I used to be heav­ily in­volved in the travel as­pect of the busi­ness but we now utilise the ser­vices of travel man­age­ment com­pany In­n­tel, which has been a key in­stru­ment in the smooth run­ning of Biffa’s travel re­quire­ments. We spend ap­prox­i­mately £2mil­lion on travel per year which cov­ers ho­tel nights, meet­ings/events, rail travel and air travel, so out­sourc­ing busi­ness travel ar­range­ments is the right busi­ness op­tion for us.

Our most fre­quent UK travel des­ti­na­tions are our head of­fices and de­pot lo­ca­tions. High Wy­combe is our high­est de­mand area which is where our head of­fice is lo­cated, fol­lowed by New­cas­tle where our re­cent ac­qui­si­tion of O’brien Waste Re­cy­cling So­lu­tions is sit­u­ated. Our lo­ca­tions change and spike ac­cord­ing to ac­qui­si­tions. In terms of trans­port to and from th­ese lo­ca­tions we have a size­able fleet of cars used, but also use rail travel and air travel. Air travel spend is higher al­though rail travel sees twice as many trans­ac­tions. Our over­seas re­quire­ment is min­i­mal, only rep­re­sent­ing 3% of our to­tal bed nights.

Us­ing a travel man­age­ment com­pany al­lows us to ef­fec­tively bal­ance the needs and re­quire­ments of our staff with the needs of the busi­ness. It al­lows me to fo­cus on other projects and spend less time on travel man­age­ment, al­though I still man­age the ne­go­ti­a­tion of con­tracts with ho­tel chains and over­see cor­po­rate events.

For Biffa, group travel com­bined with meet­ings and events adds an­other layer of com­plex­ity re­quir­ing spe­cial­ist knowl­edge, ca­pa­bil­i­ties and re­la­tion­ships to be man­aged ef­fec­tively – some­thing that In­n­tel are very good at. Ul­ti­mately, our de­sire to min­imise fees is one of our great­est chal­lenges in man­ag­ing busi­ness travel. We al­ways try to en­cour­age em­ploy­ees to stay within our travel al­lowance, how­ever this of­ten proves dif­fi­cult with in­creased bud­get pres­sures. Dy­namic pric­ing and vary­ing can­cel­la­tion policies are also big chal­lenges as it is harder to fore­cast busi­ness spend when there are so many vari­ables. In pre­vi­ous years we booked early for the best rates but the re­cent changes in ho­tel can­cel­la­tion policies are now giv­ing us less flex­i­bil­ity with last-minute busi­ness re­quire­ment changes.

Us­ing a travel man­age­ment com­pany al­lows us to ef­fec­tively bal­ance the needs and re­quire­ments of our staff with the needs of the busi­ness”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.