Small and Medium-Sized Shared Services with a lean approach to business can help them to thrive. They contribute three primary benefits:

Cost reduction
Enhanced customer service levels
Higher efficiency and control

The following best practises make them sustainable and repeatable.

Engagement: From Transactional to Valuable

The engagement for shared service depends on several factors. These can be business vision, processes, location, and functions of an organisation. Successful companies elevate shared services from being transactional to thinking and enabling partners. A shared service engaging at a higher point in the value chain will deliver better results.

Implementation of Advanced Technologies

Technology is fast becoming an enabler. It also facilitates standardisation across shared functions. ERP platforms bring in standardisation across many departments and functions. They deliver improved service levels, resource optimisation and cost savings. New developments in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence are revolutionising businesses. They deliver speed, repeatability, accuracy, efficiency and machine learning. Their use extends to shared services too.

Standardisation

Standardisation is one of the core lean philosophies. It simplifies processes and increases efficiency. Standardisation eliminates costly deviations that result in errors – human or machine-based. Hands-on business process experts who work as full-time employees can give a lean edge to businesses. They can weed out redundancies that a growing business accumulates.

Alignment with the business goal

When shared services align to the business goal they deliver higher business success. This approach involves a paradigm shift. The focus changes from individual task completion to enhancing the customer service experience. Out of the box ideas, innovation and creativity result when people see the larger picture.

Global Approach

Rather than grow from local to global, successful businesses start global. They centralise their shared service resources, instead of opening too many physical offices. The offshore locations can have a huge economic impact on business economies. Their centralised units deliver consistent services to their branches across the world.

Experience

Experience is a great teacher. Successful companies use their past learnings to evolve. They interact with employees, seek their suggestions and look into their pain areas. These exercises deliver insights and innovation-led evolution. Constant training and scaling up of talent ups their business performance. They retain their talent with incentives and rewards. They also train their employees to evolve their knowledge and skills. Successful companies also invite experts to solve problems that become chronic. They leverage the experiences of these external experts.

Conclusion

Lean is not a fancy term, nor a band-aid that works like a quick fix. It is a practise that should become a way of life or culture at businesses. People may come and go, and technologies may fall out of sync with the times. But lean as a philosophy can help businesses weather turbulence and help them soar high. What looks like magic to the world is a success created and repeated by best practises. The ones that reinforce the lean approach.

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Author's Bio: 

TechniSMART Solutions Ltd is a business transformation enabling partner, serving the European market, through innovative solutions along with delivery support in India and Singapore, thus, leveraging their local presence. TSS provides solutions for improvement in time to market, reducing product cost and help migrate business process towards lean engineering and manufacturing process. Our leadership team’s average experience spans over 25 years in delivering product and services for international customers.