July 2005 
Volume 04, Issue 3 
New and Notable

Have a nicer trip

From now on, when Boeing employees book business travel through the Boeing Travel Management Company from Boeing locations in the United States, they also will be providing the information to Boeing finance organizations.

This will enable employees to charge and pay for the travel properly—saving many steps.

Michael Frank, director of Shared Services Group's Integrated Travel program, said the old system frustrated users. Travelers had to use a collection of online tools, including TRIPS, the online booking system; Travel Manager, the tool of the travel accounting organization; and other tools associated with the Boeing corporate card. In other words, booking travel and making sure the expenses were all correctly reported meant submitting the same data multiple times.

Now, Frank said, "we streamlined [the process] and applied Lean principles," as data is moved among these tools automatically.

Employees familiar with the new system have lauded its features. Among the new functions that Sharon Bernhardt, Boeing Commercial Airplanes Travel Task Team leader, cited as being particularly helpful are

  • The added support of the Enterprise Help Desk, expected to absorb 60 percent of the calls answered by the Travel Accounting Help Desk. That should help speed response time.
  • The booking of travel and the automatic expensing of airfare. Travel is booked the regular way; minutes later, an invoice is generated and the credit card bill is paid. This feature alone is estimated to save Boeing about $2.5 million a year in late fees by getting those invoices paid promptly.
  • An "offline client" feature that allows travelers to itemize expenses in a spreadsheet located on their computer desktops, and then easily transfer those expenses to their expense reports. (This function will be available by the end of the summer.)

The new system is the result of a year-long effort to integrate the travel and expense reporting systems in a user-friendly way that would still provide Boeing with all the data it needs for internal accounting and mandatory federal auditing standards. Boeing has to maintain more than six million separate charge lines.

Implementation of the system began according to the SSG Product Rollout Process that includes both training and communication strategies to let users know about the changes. The rollout process also required that SSG use the new system first. After its SSG debut, other business units came on line June 20.


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