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manager, travel and meetings
Eli Lilly and Co. Indianapolis

PAST Terry Miller joined Lilly 32 years ago as an engineer but in time made the shift to a management path. His analytical, problem-solving background led to a variety of roles, and 12 years ago, he applied for an opening to head up Lilly Travel and Meeting Services, reporting to George Odom, who had recently consolidated Lilly’s U.S. meeting sourcing, planning, and reporting. “SMM has gotten a lot of attention over the last two or three years,” says Miller, “but Lilly implemented what I would classify as an SMM process 14 years ago.”

SUCCESS STORY The biggest recent change for Miller has been in the increased demands around data collection and reporting. “We need to report to states how much we’re spending with doctors; soon we’ll be reporting to the federal government. And, internally, communication about what we’re spending with doctors is becoming more critical.” The challenge has been to integrate the meeting department’s data-collection systems with the company’s other systems and “meet the expectations of a variety of different [data] requestors.”

FORWARD THINKING The Lilly Travel and Meetings department now handles $80 million in air spend and 800 registered meetings each year, but that will change when Lilly Travel and Meeting Services becomes Global Travel and Meeting Services in January 2011.

“We realized that we could gain some benefit if we could expand our travel and meetings programs globally. We’ve been working for the past eight months to identify a global meetings process that incorporates not only the logistics of meeting management but also the HCP [healthcare provider] compliance requirements, which vary from country to country around the world,” Miller says. Eventually, the global program will manage meeting processes in half of the 143 countries in which Lilly operates.

ADVICE Miller is a proponent of preferred-hotel programs. He has seen noteworthy benefits beyond the negotiation clout the programs create: Hotel sourcing is considerably quicker because of the standardized contracts, and he values the way relationships with suppliers have developed as a result. “If there’s a challenge along the way, call your national sales reps. They can be strong advocates for getting issues resolved quickly.”
—Sue Hatch