What Is Shared Services Center (CSC)?
Shared Services Center, commonly called just CSC, are operational units that bring together support functions of a company.
Within these locations, there are demands from various departments, such as administration , marketing , finance, information technology and human resources .
This is a methodology widely applied by large companies that have several service units , as they are the ones that benefit most from the use of SSCs.
This is because it is a way of optimizing the use of manpower, since each center usually serves several units ( franchises , service stations, sales representatives, etc.) at once.
With the use of SSCs, the units can then focus on the core business of the business, that is, direct their efforts towards the demands that, in fact, will add value to the final consumer, being directly related to their core activity.
The centers even serve as a support center, where employees and customers can get in touch with questions or make purchase requisitions, just to name a few examples.
How Does A CSC Work?
As already explained, the main function of the Shared Service Centers is to bring together different sectors of the company that would normally work in isolation, and to integrate them through efficient communication .
This type of environment can be very fruitful for business, as it proposes a decentralized model that encourages the exchange of information and knowledge between professionals from different areas.
Furthermore, the model guarantees greater speed and fluidity for production , establishing an open channel for feedback between employees.
The suggestions can then be transformed into changes that positively impact worker well-being and generate value for the customer.
It is worth remembering that, for a SSC to function fully and satisfactorily, it is necessary to have the processes and production flows very well designed and consolidated , so that everyone is aware of where their work begins and ends.
To remain competitive, it is necessary to be able to count on technology – and this would be no different for SSCs.
Within the management processes, it is important to invest in software and automation systems capable of optimizing the time and quality of the work delivered .
Thus, we relegate all mechanical work to machines , and professionals can invest their time within the company in reflection and innovation, in order to generate value for the final consumer.
For this to work, it is necessary to promote an integration of existing operating systems , in order to connect departments through a network that allows for fast, automatic and efficient communication.
The IT department tends to be very useful at this time, proposing secure, assertive solutions that are compatible with day-to-day needs.
But it is worth remembering that technology does not work miracles alone.
All employees must be trained and qualified to correctly add and interpret the information available in the systems.
How Important Are Shared Service Centers?
For those who have idle labor most of the time and suffer at the end of the month to balance the inputs and outputs of all units, the SSCs can be quite a help.
One of the main points that makes Shared Service Centers so important is the significant cost savings that this system enables.
By bringing together in a single building several administrative areas, such as human resources, finance and information technology, it is possible to optimize the workforce so that it does not have idle time.
Thus, you spend less on payroll – because employees are now part of assignments – and also on maintenance of the physical space, which is now just one to serve several business units.
According to research published by the consulting firm PwC Brasil, it is possible to save more than 30% with the implementation of the CSC.
With the centers, it is also eliminated the need for each service unit, store or franchise, to invest in independent departments, as they already have support that comes from the nucleus, so to speak.
Another benefit brought by the implementation of the CSC in business is that this form of organization minimizes the concerns and efforts to maintain the administrative apparatus of the enterprise.
Without having to worry about day-to-day bureaucratic tasks, the professional and the company can turn their focus to what really matters , which is the customer.
In other words, it is not only the manager who gains in productivity, but also the customer support area benefits from being able to put aside administrative tasks, dedicating itself fully to the consumer.
Furthermore, by bringing together all the services that will serve the units in one place, the task of applying and replicating a delivery standard is simplified .
By universalizing several departments, it is easier to maintain standardized quality, since several company actions are developed in the same place and only later distributed.
Thus, not only is production errors minimized, but employees and customers are also encouraged to trust the work being delivered, as the results become predictable and replicable on a large scale, which is typical of exponential organizations . .
In some cases, the CSC itself may embrace post-purchase and customer relationship functions, through the marketing department.
This means that they will also meet consumer demands in some cases.
And if, before, the client had a small team to answer questions, in a service sectored by location, now, it has a much bigger structure.
She is able to attend to several contacts at once and make deliveries in a fast and personalized way.
Thus, it is even more evident the importance that the centers, when well structured, have for the final customer: he will have gains in agility, quality and standardization of the product or service acquired.
How Did Shared Service Centers Come About?
The first Shared Service Centers that are known appeared in the United States in the 1970s .
Although today they are mostly used within the private sector, this managerial thinking represented a revolution in terms of public management.
This is because it arises precisely at a time when it was considered, within the state administration, the adoption of optimization practices to obtain results that have long been disseminated in business administration .
Here, the private sector was and continues to be one of the most benefited.
The idea behind it was always to make these centers work as an integrated tool for companies , in order to guarantee greater control and reduce expenses with personnel and structure.
In fact, the need for Shared Service Centers was detected because there was inefficiency in the companies, which were forced to replicate their organizational structures to ensure growth.
Even if there was no reason to keep identical teams , working in parallel on the same issues, this was necessary, either by demand from employees, the market or by custom.
Examples Of CSC
As we said, CSCs are of foreign origin, started in the United States in the 1970s and are still widely used there.
Some of the best-known American examples are the telecommunications operator AT&T, the oil company Shell and the airline American Airlines.
Other examples in North America that can be cited are Avon, Bank of Canada and technology giant IBM.
It is well known that McDonald’s has Centers in North America, Europe and Asia that serve branches across the continent.
In the United Kingdom , the post office has its own CSC, as does the BBC, a famous network of public radio and television channels.
How To Deploy A Shared Services Center?
It is important to emphasize that having a SSC does not mean that the organization will centralize all the work there.
It all starts with the standardization of activities , which is the moment to understand which tasks can be delegated to the center and which need to remain in the customer service units, as they are part of the core business.
In the case of McDonald’s, for example, the production of sandwiches must invariably be the responsibility of each cafeteria.
Once this is done, it is possible to “put the hand of the dough”, developing the processes that will prevail within the CSC and establishing a Service Level Agreement (SLA) .
With the ANS, the company has documented the responsibilities of each sector, which avoids bottlenecks in the future.
Finally, it is necessary to understand that the evolution process does not end with the implementation of the Shared Services Center.
To fulfill its role, the Shared Services Center needs to be focused on excellence and continuous improvement of processes, setting clear and tangible goals and measuring results frequently.