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:
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:
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:
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.