Big Company hula hoops – Story 1

The bureaucracy of it all !! 😦

You have a potential customer asking you to meet him next week in a city 2000 Km away. He will be on holiday 2 weeks after that.

You raise a travel request to your administration group through a web tool. You already know that the process of dual approval (your manager’s and your cost owner) will take a day, before you get your ticket.

Your assigned travel admin emails you and lets you know that the request can’t be processed because you are not associated with a Company charge code yet. You understand about Company charge codes and their relevance for the next 15 mins.

You figure out you need to ask your manager to be associated for a company charge code and talk to him.

Your Manager tells you that last year’s charge codes have been closed and new charge codes are getting created for each group. He is yet to receive the charge code. He sends a mail to the appropriate admin for that.

The admin replies back saying that Charge codes are created in ERP and due to year end maintenance activities, he doesn’t have access to do anything right now. He estimates it will be two days before he can start creating charge codes.

2 days are gone.

You call up the admin and ask him for creation of charge code. He tells you that he has just got access and has to set up his own account because the system has been “refreshed”.

Meanwhile, the Travel admin emails you and asks you for the update on charge code. This is because the travel request is an “open ticket” for 2 days and it is showing up in his supervisor’s reports. You tell him the latest status. He suggests canceling the request and re-apply when you get the charge code. You follow his instructions, because, well… Just because!

You mail the Charge code admin again. He replies that there is a system error and the support team has been notified.

You get an uneasy feeling.

You call up the travel admin guy, ask him if you can book the tickets yourself and get it reimbursed later.

You receive a flat refusal because company policy prohibits it, ever since a few employees started submitting spurious tickets.

You have about 25 emails running back and forth for this travel. Emails have enough content questioning processes, right-way-of-doing-it, understanding random team’s pain points, Monday morning frustrations and what not.

2 days later the charge code is created. You drag your manager out of an important meeting to get yourself associated. He mumbles something about babysitting and feeding bottles.

You reapply for the travel. It takes one day to get the approvals. You are flying out tomorrow.

Thankfully you had called up the travel guy to book the ticket when you reapplied, with the promise that you will reimburse the company if approvals don’t come in time. This is the only way you could have got the ticket in time.

You confirm to your customer just one day before that you will be able to make it to the meeting. He ends the conversation with a sarcastic “Thanks for your time”.

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