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SANDRA SCHALL
Global Category Manager Global Procurement OPS GP IP Travel & Fleet
Nokia Siemens Networks

CRED Schall started at NSN as global category manager for the transient hotel program four years ago. “The company was newly founded at this time and I had to build the program from scratch.” After three years, once it was up and running, I started to think about new cost savings and process streamlining opportunities in the hotel category. At this stage we did not have a meetings program in our company, but from our data, I knew that there were millions of dollars in spend that were totally unmanaged. That was at the same time that SMM was gaining popularity in the industry. So I went out into the industry to learn from other companies and suppliers their experiences, and I set up an internal project team, consisting of people from procurement processes, finance, marketing, and travel.”

Among her many milestones in the short time since then: setting up a global meetings purchasing policy and process; selecting StarCite and choosing 200 hotel partners to be uploaded to the tool as preferred suppliers; presenting the meeting policy to key stakeholders (such as executive assistants) and getting it approved by three of her executive board members in 2010; and, just this past March, “rolling out the policy to our two biggest countries, Germany and Finland, via a personalized e-mail to all 18.000 employees in those countries.”

LOOKING AHEAD The entire global rollout is planned to be finalized in 2012. “I am the only responsible person for the roll-out, communication, trainings, follow-up, reporting. … I have to go country by country. But it is very exciting, and I am really looking forward to it!”

KUDOS For building all this from scratch, SchalI received the company’s internal “Capture Value Award” from her CEO—in person.

MENTORS Schall credits her success to having the “full support in my company to make my own decisions and proceed. I also learned a lot from my key account managers from the hotel chains, travel agencies, and suppliers.”

ADVICE “Don’t just look at how other companies do things, but rather at what solution best fits into your company. Don’t be scared to create something totally new. And most important, communicate—the best meetings program ever is worth nothing if not properly communicated.”—Barbara Scofidio