Tuesday, 23 June 2020
Before we define Journey Management, let us first understand what a journey is in the context of official travel by an employee to an external location to carry out an official activity.
We know that travel means moving from Point A to Point B and back to A. A journey starts from the moment you begin to plan for travel and ends when all travel data is recorded. To put it simply, in addition to the actual travelling, journey involves the planning, information gathering, approvals, various checks, communication and data collection that takes place before, during and after travel.
Journey Management is the process of managing that journey with proper tools, monitoring, reporting and information retrieval.
When we travel for work, we may not realise how much planning goes into it, or we do it without giving much thought to it. But every step in the planning process is critical, especially if the travel involves life-risking activities. The first step in Planning is to collect information about your destination, including:
The next step in Journey Management is to collect all the information needed before commencing travel. Download and procure information from reliable sources (websites or local press) to know more about the travel guidelines, risks such as thunderstorms or bushfires and other special requirements such as vaccinations or medical clearance. Check records of latest travel details to the same destination by colleagues of your organisation. Talk to the local authorities or your host at the destination and ask them for more information.
Equipped with the planning and information gathered, approach your managers to secure necessary approvals. For some organisations this is a mandatory step prior to commencing travel. If applicable, you may also need to get approval from the destination host.
There are technical and functional prechecks to be conducted prior to travel. For example:
Among others, Vehicle pre checks are critical especially if the vehicle is self-driven and if the route and destination is remote. Some of the vehicle checks you may need to run are:
The vehicle checklist can be linked to an ERP / Maintenance system such as SAP to trigger vehicle maintenance process or breakdown reporting.
For travelling to remote and potentially risky areas it is imperative that a regular communication channel is active between the traveller and the communication team at base. For an effective communication at remote places, a device with GPS capabilities should be used. A prearranged schedule should be followed for regular check-ins. Some organisations check-in every 2 hours. Apart from official communication, an emergency contact and a next-of-kin should also be registered with the base team. Communication could potentially also be non-verbal, such as a Vehicle tracking system or GPS location system. An ideal requirement, and one that Think180 can implement, is that an organisation can see on a map which employee is at what location at any given time.
After travelling to your destination, you are required to perform the certain activities there as planned. Depending on the type of activity, the details of the task completed must recorded in a reproducible format. The recording can be online (if connectivity permits), or offline at your available devices such as Camera, Phone, Notebook or Laptop. Photographs are an essential piece of evidence for any type incidents related to hazardous or unsafe conditions. Data collection should be done keeping in mind the benefit of anyone retrieving this information in future (i.e. anyone else who needs to perform a similar task or travel to the same destination). Any offline data collected during the trip must be loaded online as and when an opportunity arises or, mandatorily once back to the base for the closure. Other activities for closure could involve returning the vehicle in good condition, returning the communication equipment and any other special access key etc. A detailed report is also expected by most organisations to be prepared and loaded into the system.
The last main step in Journey Management is to create a central repository of the data collected during the journey. Reports and logs are also made available for anyone to retrieve at a given time.
It is expected that the whole process of Journey Management, starting from the planning phase till its closure should be available within one technical platform interlinked with multiple systems such as ERP, vehicle tracking, approval workflow, artifact recording, internal and external communication, maintenance and incident reporting. SAP is a capable system to embody all these necessary requirements, and Think180 has significant experience implementing SAP and tailoring for efficient Journey Management processes.
Having experience in managing large scale requirement gatherings, business process mapping and business strategy proposals, Think180 was approached by a South Australian Electrical Power and Grid solution provider, who wanted to streamline their Journey Management processes for employee’s frequent travel to offsite power grid stations to carry out regular maintenance and project work. The overarching requirement was to design a business flow diagram that tied together all the disparate system and non-system requirements and processes from all their existing procedures relevant to Journey Management. This would then help the organisation to make informed decisions on the right tool(s) to address all their Journey Management needs under one platform, also linked to multiple other more specialised systems.
Think180’s highly experienced team held multiple stakeholder meetings to gather and map a detailed business requirement document and deduce a simple one-page business process flow diagram.
Our team was able to convert our client’s current disparate and complex process flow diagram from this (example):
into a simplistic one-page flow diagram like this:
Think180 was able to also showcase its capabilities for linking asset management (such as Vehicle) system to their existing SAP ERP plant maintenance processes.
If you are looking to streamline your Journey Management process, reach out to us today to chat about your needs and requirements.
by Anub Kaviraj
Senior SAP Consultant