Life Sciences Company Pivots Successfully With Help From Protiviti’s Finance and Performance Management Services
- Lowered the cost of the finance function while improving service levels
- Transitioned non-core processes to an established third-party BPO
- Transitioned select in-house finance processes to shared services operations (Centers of Excellence)
- Enabled “lift and shift” via contingent labor to prevent disruptions in day-to-day business operations
When finance organizations are preparing for growth, there are a number of questions that need to be answered before any concrete action is taken. Among them:
- Which finance competencies should remain inside the company and which ones can be performed faster, better and cheaper by others?
- Which finance processes should be performed within a centralized, or shared services, environment?
- How should talent be realigned in the new operating model?
- How should information technology (IT) be rationalized?
- How should the new organization be managed (performance, compliance, continuous improvement)?
These were some of the pressing questions a major life sciences company faced recently when it needed to improve the back office performance of two affiliate companies. To enable improvement and prepare for growth, the company needed to make operational changes within the general and administrative (G&A) functions.
As a first step, the company made the decision to transition current back office functions (including order management, accounts receivable, collections and customer service) to a new shared services group located in a lower-cost U.S. location. In addition, the company decided to outsource other, non-core functions to a business process outsourcing (BPO) firm.
In performing this pivot, management made a smart decision to work with experienced resources rather than try and do it on its own. First, company leaders called on the experience of seasoned advisors inside the company who had worked on similar initiatives in the past. This enabled the company to tap into institutional knowledge, apply lessons already learned and ease the organizational pain by not having to “reinvent the wheel.”
Second, leadership brought in Protiviti’s Finance and Performance Management team to assist with the “lift and shift” operation of moving the aforementioned back office functions to the new operating environments. Specifically, Protiviti was assigned the following:
- Standardize/optimize business processes, policies and procedures, and systems instructions to support the new shared services and BPO teams
- Provide assistance to the company’s transition management office (TMO) via program and project management, change management, and other support activities
- Provide post-transition business stabilization and support
The “lift and shift” transition took approximately seven months to complete, including the relocation of needed staff to the new operation locations. During this period, company leadership decided to fill transitional resource gaps by partnering with a temporary workforce from Robert Half, Protiviti’s managed services partner – a decision that ensured that day-to-day business operations of the affiliate companies would not be disrupted.
According to an executive of the company, the following factors were critical during the transition to ensure it did not result in operational chaos:
- Standardized/optimized business processes, along with solid policies and procedures and systems instructions for the new teams
- Experienced, on-demand contingent labor to be “flexed-up” or “flexed-down” as the business required, and
- Comprehensive transition strategy and plan to account for all activities, resource assignments, timelines and milestones of the transition
Protiviti and Robert Half ensured that all three were in place.
At the end of this major effort, several back office functions – including order management, accounts receivable/collections and customer service – had been transitioned successfully to the new operating environments (the shared service center and BPO) with the help of Protiviti and Robert Half.
The entire transition and relocation was accomplished in just seven months with minimal disruption, and little sacrifice of customer service. A key success factor in the project was the combination of consulting with the ability to dynamically manage the workforce during this period, keeping the integrity of the company’s value chain intact.