Originally published on Thrive, a Lexmark blog for finance professionals. 

We recently had a chance to interview the shared service center head from one of our customers – Malaysia-based multinational conglomerate Sime Darby Berhad – to get some insights on how other shared services leaders can manage SSC implementation as successfully as they have.

Victor Lam, the boss of the shared service center for Finance, HR, and IT services, told us that there were some important factors in their tactics which had helped make the process a success.

Here are some tips from Lam on both internal change management, and handling relations with suppliers through this change.

Internal change management

  • Engage all parties in the value chain, including the customer (business unit), suppliers, and any other stakeholders within the organization.
  • Any change project will need buy-in from the affected business units and suppliers; therefore, it is crucial to communicate the impact these changes will have on their roles and work processes.
  • Give employees the opportunity to flourish. As Lam explains: “We have been able to train many of our staff to perform higher value-added accounting tasks such as tax preparation, consolidation, management accounting, and reporting. These are part of our efforts to empower our employees with new skill sets that have been made possible by automating our financial processes.”
  • Anticipate and mitigate resistance when moving to increase the percentage of purchase order-based invoices (a method for increasing the reach of automation)
  • Set high ambitions for automation but approach implementation pragmatically


Change management with suppliers

Explain the benefits from their perspective. Suppliers will rest easy when they know:

  • Their invoice data will be quickly and accurately captured and sent to their customer’s ERP system
  • They can track the real-time status and location of each invoice as it moves through the buyer’s ERP system
  • Payment will be on-time, according to each supplier’s payment terms

For more advice on successfully setting up shared service centers, our whitepaper addressing this exact topic is a helpful resource.

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