Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Opportunity cost

I was speaking with one of our account reps for a trade show series that we do and she was really bummed out about her travel schedule that her boss booked for her. She could have gotten an early flight out on the last day of the trade show, but in order to save a few bucks, they put her on the red eye flight instead. This puts her with 6 hours of downtime sitting at the airport, the pain of a two connection red eye flight, and they expect her to work the next day as well. On top of it all, she's got a negative feeling about the whole deal and for what? Saving a few bucks? Is the downside worth it?

Travel is a pain. Travel cross country is a real pain, especially from the west coast in the afternoon when your destination is east of the Mississippi. Doing the little things like getting folks on decent flights or cutting them a little slack if they do a red eye flight can go a long way towards keeping your staff happy.

We travel a lot - the fall trade show schedule has been kinda a death march, and while we just suck it up and hammer as best we can, we also keep our flights, hotels and ground transportation plans under control to minimize wait, expedite travel times and keep logistics complexity to a minimum to manage the opportunity for problems to near zero. It works best that we book our own flights and hotels, cutting out the middle man and be in control of our own destinies.

We're all a lot happier as a result and when something goes wrong, we can only point fingers at ourselves. And that's just the way we like it.

I know if she was given the control to manage her own travel schedule, she'd be more productive and a happier employee. Bummer that they're mismanaging that situation. The opportunity cost of finding another employee with her capabilities is nothing compared to the few bucks that they saved.

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