Case Study

Multinational automotive company – Transforming and stabilising global business systems

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In Summary

Our client was a multinational automotive distribution, retail and services company headquartered in London. It has 15,000 employees, operates in 36 markets globally and is a listed FTSE100 company with annual revenue of £6.8bn. The client’s vision was to transform its finance function by streamlining and simplifying its practices and introducing more stabilisation on controls and standardising processes.

The Situation

When BIE was contacted, the client was evolving from a market driven organisation with very little centralisation to become a business with unified practices and tools.

The client’s vision was to transform its finance function by streamlining and simplifying its practices and to introduce more stabilisation on controls and standardise processes. The global business had 2,500 separate processes, compared to the industry standard of 95. The goal was to implement global standards while maintaining market relevance by building a shared service centre.

The Solution

In order to complete the transformation, streamline and standardise its processes and implement global standards, the client asked BIE to be part of the supplier panel tasked with recruiting the key talent required to support it through a two-phased transformation approach.

BIE worked with the client to understand the specific requirements of the business. Initially, BIE appointed a Global Finance Transformation Director who was an experienced functional expert and had managed a number of major Finance, HR and IT transformation programmes in the past.

The appointed individual was to oversee both phases of the transformation and set up a strategy for a single Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and shared global service.

During the first phase, which took 9 months to complete, the following were delivered:

  • Finance tools including Blackline, Coupa and a global payment system, which simplified the finance function and delivered immediate results, were deployed across 11 global markets.
  • The Transformation Director was responsible for embedding project management guidelines and a strong governance methodology, including a project management office (PMO) and a regional governance board, which opened up lines of communication and was crucial in justifying why the change programme was being undertaken in each of the markets.
  • Control gates were introduced to eliminate reporting risks, which had proved problematic in the past due to responsibility falling to local markets and not a central hub. Running consecutively to this was a ‘discovery phrase’ to review existing processes and evaluate whether to implement a captive, outsourcing or hybrid model for the Global Business Service (GBS).

The Outcome

  • £40m was spent on systems implementation, directly resulting in a saving of £180m
  • Ways of working within the procurement function were standardised, which provided the client with 85% visibility of indirect global spend.
  • Blackline provided better system tools to complete month end.
  • Key processes were harmonised to a regional level; a PMO, governance and structure were embedded.
  • Seven ERPs were implemented.
  • The number of markets with System Applications and Products in Data Processing (SAP) systems increased from 10 to 20 and the number of legacy ERPs were reduced

The client settled on an outsourcing model for its Global Business Services (GBS). Having shifted to new systems, the next stage was to stabilise and review the transformation journey, based on the real data they now had the capability to produce, with the goal of making further improvement in their governance structure model.

Stakeholder engagement was key, and engagement at executive and management level was crucial to the success of the project. They needed data points not emotions.

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