Client in the spotlight

He takes the job of travel manager to new heights because together with UNIGLOBE Triton Travel he formed the perfect (read: most efficient) partnership.

ORTEC is one of the largest suppliers of advanced planning optimisation solutions. ORTEC products and services provide optimal journey and route planning, loading of vehicles and pallets, staff requirements, quotations, logistic network planning and warehouse management. The company was founded in 1981 by several former university students and is not listed on the stock exchange. In 2014, the planning solutions, which are used standalone (read: not linked to other systems) as well as fully integrated, customised and SAP certified solutions, are supported by strategic partners. ORTEC has over 1,800 customers worldwide, and counts approximately 700 employees (read: around 170 developers or software writers) and has various offices in Europe, North and South America, and southeast Asia. The fully-fledged Belgian branch has been operating since 1997 and acts as a subsidiary of the Dutch Holding. The new office complex, housed in the beautifully renovated old malt house, De Malt, in Boortmeerbeek accommodates 30 employees in a simple structure. Below the manager, there are several business managers and a senior project manager: Nico De Graef. In a previous life, he worked for almost 18 years for the mega courier DHL where he helped facilitate his own exit. “At the time, I was involved in the Leipzig start-up,” he laughs. “And when it was up and running and Brussels Airport had largely been exchanged for this hub, we realised that we had done ourselves out of a job. Oh well, it was a long time ago…”

ORTEC is, summarised in plain language, a consulting firm that mainly implements software that is designed in-house. The key word is optimisation. Although there is a fair amount of travel, we don’t have an in-house travel manager. “But we don’t need one anyway,” says Nico. “Last year we booked 105 flights to Switzerland and 20 more, and even long-distance trips to Australia, through direct contact with our UNIGLOBE agency and the simple working method.” The working method really is very straightforward. “I request a flight proposal, UNIGLOBE Triton Travel responds at lightning speed, I consider the options and directly approve one of them,” Nico laughs. “It’s very simple.” On the other end of his hotline is Sylvie Vergucht. She knows ORTEC’s travel policy inside out. “We organise our travel philosophy completely based on the client’s role and mission,” Nico explains. “For the large project in Switzerland, for example, we used Brussels Airlines Flex, precisely because of the additional advantages it offers such as flexibility and priority pass, but also because the flight schedule was perfect for us.” As a rule, ORTEC flies Economy Class; yes, even to Australia.

The frequent flyer points are added to the traveller’s own account. “A small incentive to soften any inconvenience during the journey,” laughs Nico. Our collaboration with UNIGLOBE is limited to flight tickets, simply because in this small world, the client organises the hotels locally. “We have worked with this UNIGLOBE agency for a long time,” Nico concludes. “Once we discovered that our own travel agency at the head office couldn’t do it better, faster or cheaper. What’s more, we have improved our fast communication lines. For a company with a relatively high number of last-minute trips, that’s a blessing.”