Taking Shared Services Quality to the Next Level
Quality, along with cost, productivity, and customer satisfaction, has always been one of the four primary measures of success in Shared Services. There are a variety of approaches to achieving high levels of quality performance, with some companies utilizing formal quality programs, such as Lean and Six Sigma, and others developing their own approach based upon a variety of quality principles. Regardless of the approach that might be best for a particular company, just making the concerted effort to focus on quality can provide significant benefits to just about any Shared Services organization. This research abstract looks at the experiences and key learnings of a major corporation as they developed and utilized their Shared Services quality program.
A recent Peeriosity PeercastTM featured a member company with over $10 billion USD in annual revenue and more than 25,000 employees. Presenting on the webcast was the Director of Financial Shared Services Support and one of his key customers, the Director of Accounts Receivable and Credit Services. Leading a Quality team of ten employees consisting of a Manager of Process Improvement, four QA Analysts, three Process & CI Analysts, and two Trainers, the Financial Shared Services Support Team also includes the Automation, Systems/Analytics, Acquisitions & Integration Management, and Project Management groups.
The Quality Team is responsible for the following:
- Provides the foundation to define, measure, and improve FSS operations.
- Collaborates to define quality standards, close identified gaps, and quantify results to determine training and continuous improvement (CI) opportunities and ensure performance standards are maintained.
- Provides “checks and balances” within FSS for policies and procedures.
- Reviews and monitors operational tasks including customer calls, workflows, emails, and process activities.
Some of the quality success factors discussed include having a clearly defined purpose and scope for the Quality Team, aligning Quality work to performance metrics and SOX compliance, having an effective approach to continuous improvement, developing validated process documentation, having a solid governance structure to manage process changes, ensuring segregation of duties between the Quality team and the process employees, establishing a strong relationship with internal customers, and having a strong knowledge of the work being assessed.
To effectively communicate “quality outcomes”, Quality Performance Dashboards are generated weekly, monthly, and quarterly to capture quality results by operational area, team, and individual team members. Quality reviews are shared to provide feedback, establish trends, and identify performance and productivity opportunities, with the overall result being increased compliance, consistency, and quality at all levels.
Additional details regarding the feature company’s efforts in this area, including some examples from the Quality process, as well as an extensive list of lessons learned, can be found on the Peeriosity member website.
iPollingTM Results Review
A recent Peeriosity poll developed using the iPollingTM technology provides some interesting information regarding the overall approach to quality Shared Services organizations take, as well as the method in which they conduct quality assurance activities. Reviewing the results of the first poll question which asked what best describes the current approach to quality assurance in Shared Services, the most popular response (47%) was providing a routine sampling of work products that assessed the accuracy of the shared service associate’s processing accuracy, with the next most popular response (27%) being a similar approach but assessing the accuracy of the total transaction process. Closely following was a project-driven routine utilizing a common quality assurance methodology (Lean, Six Sigma, etc.), with 20% of the responses.
The second poll question then looked at which method best describes the way in which companies conduct quality assurance activities in Shared Services. While the most popular approach was through a combination of multiple activities (50%), the most prevalent individual approach was utilizing a stand-alone audit or quality assurance team that is not part of the work unit.
Our Peercast feature company is an excellent example of a major company that has focused significant resources on improving the overall quality of the processes within Shared Services. While a variety of effective methodologies are available, making quality a high priority is often a challenge. Because quality has a direct impact on the other key measures including cost, productivity, and customer satisfaction, ensuring quality is consistently a high priority is an important deliverable for any Shared Services team.
What is the status at your Shared Services organization regarding achieving high levels of service quality? Is your current approach effective or is it time to take a look at opportunities for improvement in this critical area?
Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?
“PeercastsTM” are private, professionally facilitated webcasts that feature leading member company experiences on specific topics as a catalyst for broader discussion. Access is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from attending or accessing discussion content. Members can see who is registered to attend in advance, with discussion recordings, supporting polls, and presentation materials online and available whenever convenient for the member. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, attendees can easily communicate at any time with other attending peers by selecting them from the list of registered attendees.
“iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility of all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participated in iPollingTM.
Peeriosity members are invited to log into www.peeriosity.com to join the discussion and connect with Peers. Membership is for practitioners only, with no consultants or vendors permitted. To learn more about Peeriosity, click here.