While many companies realize significant savings when first transitioning to Global Business Services (GBS) / Shared Services, uncovering additional savings opportunities can be a challenge without the proper focus. One attribute of many successful GBS operations is a well-established Continuous Improvement program that is ingrained into the culture of the operation. The topic of Continuous Improvement remains one of the most popular in the world of GBS/Shared Services, and for good reason. The strong performance results companies have experienced have been impressive and, for many, having an active Continuous Improvement program has been a significant factor in achieving superior results.
Polling Results Review
Recently the Continuous Improvement and Business Relationship Manager at a Peeriosity-100 member company created a poll to better understand how other Peeriosity-100 member companies organized continuous improvement efforts, with a focus on where team are located in the organization, and the services that are provided for companies with a dedicated continuous improvement team.
The first poll question asked whether there were staff who were dedicated to continuous improvement efforts, and if yes, where did they report. The results indicate that 70% of companies have dedicated continuous improvement teams within GBS/Shared Services, with an additional 6% who have dedicated teams with members from both GBS/Share Services and Information Technology. The remaining 24% do not have dedicated resources for continuous improvement, suggesting that an individual employee’s continuous improvement efforts are in addition to other work responsibilities.
The second poll question asked about the responsibilities of the Continuous Improvement team. For 22% the CI team is responsible solely for leading continuous improvement projects. At an additional 14% of companies, the CI team is responsible for both leading CI projects and the performance metrics process. Another 14% have the CI team responsible for CI projects and continuous improvement training. For the remaining 50% of Peeriosity member companies, the CI team is responsible for all three categories – leading CI projects, the performance metrics process, and continuous improvement training.
Here are some of the comments from Peeriosity-100 members:
- Each process within shared services is responsible for improving processes. Once identified there is a support and RPA team that can help design and implement.
- Actually, continuous improvement is everyone’s work as they go through their day-to-day tasks. Everyone is trained with the mindset of improving the process, solutions and tools used by our teams. That has been the approach for well over 15 years now. There are challenges with this one too vs a central team.
- Yes, we have dedicated continuous process improvement team members in Shared Services.
While there are many contributors to achieving lower costs and higher quality processes in GBS/Shared Services, getting the biggest return from investments in technology or efforts to redesign processes or create global standards, requires focused attention on continuous improvement. For Peeriosity-100 member companies, half have dedicated continuous improvement teams, and half have continuous improvement efforts that are embedded in other work responsibilities.
For companies that have dedicated continuous improvement teams, the norm is to provide training on continuous improvement methods to everyone in the organization. Having a dedicated CI team doesn’t mean that CI isn’t actively part of everyone’s responsibility. Rather, it allows focus and attention to systematically identify improvement opportunities and follow a rigorous process to ensure appropriate changes are implemented successfully. Without having a dedicated team, the risk is that bandwidth is consumed by the normal ongoing fire-fighting that can occur with other assigned work responsibilities.
What approach does your GBS/Shared Services organization take in regard to Continuous Improvement? Are you satisfied with the results or is it time to take another look at this important aspect of your operation?
Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?
“iPolling” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility to all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer Mail, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participated in iPolling.
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.