Siemens was ready for transformation; a partnership approach forged the path.
“We’re not here to make a headline. We’re here to make a dif-
ference to our travelers.” That’s what Siemens director of mo-
bility services for the Americas Steven Schoen told BTN last
June when he was nominated by an industry peer as a candidate
for BTN’s 2016 Travel Manager of the Year Award. During that
conversation, he spoke of the importance of convergence and
the way Siemens saw the entire program coming together.
“Innovation, customer satisfaction, mobility and bringing meet-
ings and transient together—it’s like all the puzzle pieces are start-
ing to fit and it’s extremely motivating,” he said. Yet, there were
hints that Siemens had more transformation in the works.
BTN folded the corner down on Schoen’s nomination and put
it in the “2017” folder, interested to see what another year might
bring. We thought the year would find the Siemens’ travel pro-
gram settled in, getting comfortable and getting results. Schoen
has rewarded our wait-and-see instincts, but in terms of Siemens
getting comfortable, BTN’s prediction was off the mark.
Instead, Schoen’s extreme motivation has positioned him
as one of the key contributors in the crossfunctional global
team that is transforming the way Siemens approaches travel
and expense management. With the U.K., Germany, Brazil
and U.S./Canada markets being in the first wave of Siemens’
global rollout, Schoen is playing a leading role in represent-
ing the challenging and diverse U.S./Canada markets as part
of the global travel and expense program transformation.
With the sponsorship of Siemens’ executive management,
the strong crossfunctional leadership of global and local
human resources and supply chain management, and nu-
merous related functional groups such as IT and finance,
Schoen and his global colleagues formalized Siemens’ E2E
Travel@Siemens to be an increasingly seamless experience.
As a start, the company has formulated a new global travel
policy framework leveraging four strategic enablers. In the
U.S. alone, Siemens will realize annual productivity benefits
measured in man-years as opposed to man-hours.
“Siemens as a company has been going through a significant
transformation,” said Schoen. “There were a few concepts and
principles that started coming out about three years ago. As a
crossfunctional team, we looked at those principles and real-
ized this was our opening. This was our moment.”
Driving an ownership culture. There was a mismatch at Siemens in the way the company entrusted sophisticated business to its employees but had not entrusted employees with
the power to make travel and general expense-related decisions that were right for the business. On a corporate level,
Schoen and his colleagues saw Siemens stripping away many
of the layers between employees and leadership, bringing
them closer to one another so they could understand both
strategy and on-the-ground realities to drive better business
decisions. The team wanted to do the same with travel and
expense by putting employees and their first-line managers at
the center of travel booking and general expense decisions.
Digitalization. With technologies at the center of much of
Siemens’ business, digitalization has been a cornerstone of
corporate strategy. “How can we sell the concept if we aren’t
living the concept?” Schoen asked rhetorically, admitting that
the company has been on different systems for booking, on
an internal expense system in the U.S. and even paper-based
expense reporting in certain markets. As part of E2E Travel@
Siemens, the company will standardize and integrate travel
“We had over-engineered the process.
By pushing travel decisions to the first-line manager and the traveler, we
remove [booking approval] uncertainty
and potential productivity loss.”
—SIEMENS’ STEVEN SCHOEN