by Lim Zhi Rong
You may have heard about Shared Services Center (SSC) in one form or another. Some companies call it Global Business Services, some companies call it Center of Excellence while others call it Shared Services Center.
A SSC does more than we realize. They play a highly strategic role in making the company run Simpler, Flatter and Faster. A SSC typically covers Record to Report (Finance), Order to Cash (Sales), Procure to Pay (Procurement) and Hire to Retire (HR). Of course, innovative corporate folks started to create acronyms and we hear RTR, OTC, PTP and HTR.
Setting up a SSC is a self-funding business case but a challenging task to execute. You have to first identify if your SSC will be performed by internal employees or an appointed external vendor. Next, you have to decide on the location where you have to consider accessibility of suitable SSC talents and time zone as the SSC will support countries across multiple time zones. You should also setup a Project Management Office team to manage the implementation of a SSC. And of course, you need people to run the SSC as the SSC management team!
It is never fun to manage employees’ exit arising from the establishment of a SSC. Employee doesn’t care if the overall exit rate is at xx% of the total employee population. Every exit is treated as 100% unemployment for the individual. HR plays a critical role to support the business to manage the change and exit with both the interests of the company (in terms of speed and efficiency) and employees in mind (in terms of dignity and respect).
With the above as context, now the ‘million dollar question’, are you a believer of SSC?
SSC seeks to provide best-in-class shared services at exceptional value. Shell did it, P&G did it, Chevron did it, Linde did it, and the list continues. P&G saved more than $900 million with SSC and reduced costs as a percentage of sales by a third since 2003. With scale, SSC can be created to manage more volume and scope of work. All of this enable companies to stay one step ahead and transforms the way business is done.
I am a believer of SSC. I experienced SSC with a European MNC and an American MNC. It is not an easy journey to embark, but hey – nobody said life was ever going to be easy. Even if you are not a believer, experiencing SSC gives you an edge in terms of career experience.
SSC is not going to go away – it is here to stay and a journey that will only continue. Experience the journey. If you are a believer, enjoy the ride. If you’re not a believer, then at least make the most out of the ride when you’re on it. I believe companies are going to find your experience in SSC (e.g. you are involved in setting up a SSC or even as simple as you interact with SSC in your daily work, etc.) valuable!