Travel Buyers: Has COVID Uncovered Gaps in your Travel Risk Program?

Last week’s webinar, “Buyer Discussion: Has COVID Uncovered Gaps in your Travel Risk Policy, Program and Business Continuity?,” featured travel and risk management experts from four different organizations sharing their experiences in the pandemic: Jafles Pacheco, head of Indirect Material Spend Management at Oerlikon; Catherine Rigby, GTP, CCTE, manager of Travel Risk and Safety at CFA Institute; Jan Uecker, GTP, CTE, manager of Global Travel at UL LLC; and Julie Kleim, a procurement manager for Corporate Travel & Expense at CLEAResult.


Each panelist shared insights on the role of organizations, suppliers and travelers in assessing health and safety risks, and usable tools and resources to help mitigate those risks within your own company:


Jan Uecker: At UL LLC, we developed a process called “Rules of the Road – The 10 ‘Rs’ to Navigating Travel Amidst a Global Pandemic,” that provides steps the traveler should think through before and during travel: Reconsider; Research; Review; Requirements; Reuse; Readjust; Remember; Reconfirm; Rest, Relax and Repose; and Report. More details on each “R” can be found in the GBTA Buyer Risk Management Toolkit available on the gbta.org Member Hub.


Catherine Rigby: Before putting travelers back on the road, consider Policy (identifying and filling cracks in your travel program before employees re-start travel); Facts (having resources, such as quarantine or border requirements, readily available); Support (provide a safe travel checklist for employees to complete before travel); and Plan (create a “one stop shop” resource guide with information like entry/exit requirements, insurance and local government resources employees can refer to while traveling).


Julie Kleim: Consider developing an internal pandemic task force to look at company policies (such as travel approval requirements), engage with business partners (assessing supply chain risks and obtaining helpful tools from suppliers to manage through the pandemic), and develop processes to align business objectives with new safety protocols ( work from home policies, employee health screenings, how to bring staff safely back into the office).


Jafles Pacheco: Create a supply chain risk management business contingency plan by looking at “Upstream”/Sourcing risks and “Downstream”/Operational risks. Create a continuous process that analyzes and identifies risks; quantifies the impact of the risks; and that creates, communicates and monitors contingency plans. Prioritize the areas or suppliers

to be assessed based on the risk and the value represented by the category.


All panelists agreed that risk mitigation needs to be a constant, and evolving process – not just during this pandemic, but beyond too. Another point of agreement for all panelists: In this time of change, stay nimble, flexible and be open to change. Be like a sponge and take in all resources available to learn. And don’t be afraid to admit what you don’t know, and to ask others for help.


For more information on the resources and information mentioned above, check out the GBTA Buyer Risk Management Toolkit available on the gbta.org Member Hub.