Implementing 'travel re-imagined' for Toyota

With a clear directive towards program improvement FCM collaborated with Toyota on each of their objectives to streamline processes and ensure a better traveller experience under a more unified programme, “Travel Reimagined.”

About Toyota

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.

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An improvement driven approach

With a clear directive towards programme improvement FCM collaborated with Toyota on each of their objectives to streamline processes and ensure a better traveller experience under a more unified program, “Travel Reimagined.” With several affiliate companies and many evolving roles and traveller types, thinking critically about what could be improved in each area of the travel programme and delivering custom solutions that were agile and adaptable was integral to the overall success of their new programme. 

Through an in-depth discovery period where FCM and Toyota worked together to collaborate on ideas for improvements, FCM was able to implement solutions tailor-made to both their company and industry at large. These have already transformed both the internal processes and traveller experience of Toyota North America’s travel programme. 

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

Customised technology solutions

Toyota had previously experienced slow data delivery and errors within its expense management procedures. International manufacturing businesses need solid infrastructures to maintain global consistency and frameworks.

FCM developed custom technology solutions including a bespoke Chrome River integration to streamline processes and alleviate internal difficulties for their travel programme and accounting team. This integration meant data could be seen from multiple sources side-by-side 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 travellers are spending money and potential areas of leakage, and deeper understanding of how expenses can be used to improve supplier sourcing contracts.  

To improve traveller experience and online booking tool functionality, FCM worked with Toyota to transition the business to the Deem online booking tool. 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 technology platform. These subsites and platform iterations can house different views, travel policies, and any other information pertinent to a specific group of travellers, while still functioning as part of Toyota North America’s overall programme. 

We didn’t want to put everyone into one box, so this approach solved a lot of issues for us, reduced manual work and improved the end user experience.

Rebecca Jeffries

Customised tech

An evolving programme

One of Toyota’s top priorities was to create a more unified travel programme. Since roles within the company continue to evolve, Toyota wanted to bring a sense of consistency, update policies and processes as needed, and present stakeholders with new features and technology tools.

This is consistent with the needs of global manufacturing firms around the world to produce tangible ROI and manage multiple business entities, so FCM placed a strong emphasis on onboarding and reporting regularities and dependencies. To accomplish these goals, Toyota needed a true partner to help develop the travel programme alongside them, delving into the minutiae and offering up existing or custom solutions where needed. 

"We had an ambitious plan to develop a travel programme that our travellers want to use. That meant we needed consumer grade technology and great customer support, which FCM is providing. But beyond the traveler, we were looking for a partner that would make Toyota a priority." - Rebecca Jeffries

FCM was able to deliver solutions that can continue to be customised as Toyota leads the way forward, along with FCM’s unique mid-office solution that facilitates changes to the policy. Since the official go-live date, FCM has made iterative changes to the Toyota programme that were easy to incorporate and took effect almost immediately. 

An agile implementation partnership

Though Toyota and FCM had scheduled in-person training sessions to coach travellers through the various facets of the new travel programme, these in-person sessions were cut short and had to be adjusted to online, webinar-based sessions due to pandemic travel restrictions.

However, FCM displayed agility and flexibility by pivoting our training strategy and still conducted 33 virtual training sessions with a total of 2,572 attendees. This ability to redesign onboarding on-the-fly during international travel upheaval was key for Toyota, as go-live was scheduled for the beginning of April.

Through a structured change management process, FCM conducted prior on-site sessions during the discovery period together with several activations supported by video and email messaging. This enabled FCM to deliver meaningful subsequent online training so key implementation players had a thorough understanding of the types of travelers attending sessions, different policies, and customised solutions for all traveller personas. 

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 Reimagined project, but through the ups and downs of the world around us. 

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 programme nimbly enough that changes down the road are simple to execute.  - Rebecca Jeffries

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