With a directive towards program improvement, FCM collaborated with Toyota to streamline processes, ensure a better traveler experience and deliver “Travel Re-Imagined”, even in the face of a pandemic.
Toyota Motor North America, Inc. (TMNA) is a holding company of the sales and manufacturing subsidiaries of Toyota Motor Corporation in United States. Toyota has been a part of the cultural fabric in the U.S. and North America for more than 60 years, and is committed to advancing sustainable, next-generation mobility through the Toyota and Lexus brands. TMNA operates 14 manufacturing plants and directly employs more than 47,000 people. Its services include government and regulatory affairs, energy, economic research, philanthropy, corporate advertising and corporate communications.
An Improvement Driven Approach
With several affiliate companies and many evolving roles and traveler types, thinking critically about what could be improved in each area of the travel program and delivering custom solutions that can be continually changed was integral to the overall success of their new program.
Through an in-depth discovery period where FCM and Toyota worked together to collaborate on ideas for improvements, FCM was able to implement solutions that have already improved both the internal processes and traveler experience of Toyota North America’s travel program.
"We came at them with a host of pain points that we wanted them to solve and they rose to the challenge. Anything that was clunky or manual, we wanted gone. They looked at our current processes and made suggestions on what could be better."
Rebecca Jeffries, Travel & Event Services Manager, Toyota Motor North America
Customized Technology Solutions
Toyota had previously experienced slow data delivery and errors within their expense management procedures. FCM developed custom technology solutions including a bespoke Chrome River integration to streamline processes and alleviate internal difficulties for their travel program and accounting team. This integration allows for viewing of data from multiple sources and can provide side-by-side insights with travel data collected directly by FCM, providing a more holistic view of overall travel spend. This in turn results in more advanced travel and expense analytics, better insight into how travelers are spending money and potential areas of leakage, and deeper understanding of how expenses can be used to improve supplier sourcing contracts.
To improve traveler experience and online booking tool functionality, FCM worked with Toyota to transition the business to the Deem OBT. Catering to each facet of Toyota North America’s business was paramount so FCM built 4 different OBT subsites and 10 different instances of our online traveler portal HUB, where travelers go to access all the travel tools they need to book, view itineraries and more. These subsites and HUB iterations can house different views, travel policies, and any other information pertinent to a specific group of travelers, while still functioning as part of Toyota North America’s overall program.
An Evolving Program
One of Toyota’s top priorities was to create a more unified travel program. Since roles within the company continue to evolve Toyota wanted to bring a sense of consistency through the travel program, update policies and processes as needed, and present stakeholders with new features and technology tools. In order to accomplish these goals, Toyota needed a true partner to help develop the travel program alongside them, delving into the minutiae and offering up existing or custom solutions where needed.
“We had an ambitious plan to develop a travel program that our travelers want to use. That meant we needed consumer grade technology and great customer support, which FCM are providing. But beyond the traveler, we were looking for a partner that would make Toyota a priority.
We have been evolving into what we call One Toyota for the past several years and what that means is we are consolidating functions, tools, policies, culture, etc., which translates into a lot of changes that impact travel. This effort continues so we need our partner to structure the program nimbly enough that changes down the road are simple to execute.” Rebecca Jeffries
FCM was able to deliver solutions that can continue to be customized as Toyota leads the way forward, along with FCM’s unique mid-office solution that facilitates changes to policy. Since the official go-live date, FCM has made some minor changes to the Toyota program that were easy to incorporate and took effect almost immediately.
Implementing During the COVID-19 Crisis
Though Toyota and FCM had scheduled in-person training sessions to coach travelers through the various facets of the new travel program, these in-person sessions were cut short and had to be adjusted to online, webinar-based sessions due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
However, FCM still conducted 33 training sessions with a total of 2,572 attendees. This ability to pivot in the midst of a pandemic was key for Toyota, as go-live was scheduled for the beginning of April.
Through a structured change management process, FCM conducted prior onsite sessions during the discovery period together with several activations supported by video and email messaging. This enabled FCM to deliver meaningful subsequent online training, as key implementation players had a thorough understanding of the types of travelers attending sessions, different policies and customized solutions for each set of travelers.
Leading the Way into the Future
Through a focus on engagement and a desire to develop an in-depth understanding of Toyota’s unique culture and needs, FCM was able to form a collaborative partnership that will last not only through the evolution of Toyota’s Travel Re-Imagined project, but through the ups and downs of the world around us.
Get in touch to see what FCM can do for your travel program.