Solví: Best New SSO in Brazil Shares Tips on its Management Model

Lucas Feltre, CSC executive director of Solvî, speaks with IEG [Management Engineering Institute], about the challenge of coordinating an already centralized SSC and continuing to focus on generating profits for the company. Feltre introduces the key concept of the Customer Committee, which plays an important part in defining and evaluating all of the corporate processes, and which emphasizes the importance of cultural change in people.

Editor's note: Solvî won the "Best New" Shared Services Excellence Award at the 2012 Shared Services conference in Brazil. For further details see here.

IEG: How did the SSC implementation at Solvî evolve?

Lucas Feltre: Solvî’s SSC took over all the processes in 2009, but the company had already been centralizing since 1998. What we did in 2009 was separate the holding from the SSC. In that context, we had a considerable change in behaviours: roles and responsibilities became better defined and we started to share some decision-making with customers. These were some of the factors that enabled the birth of SSC concept inside the Solvî Group.

IEG: How did you manage the challenge of dealing with an already centralized SSC while at the same time continuing to generate profits?

LF: Our motto is: "Towards excellence." We are always seeking improvement in our SLAs (Service Level Agreements) and the back up in a robust Management System.

At the time of the SSC implementation, Solvî’s administrative areas were lacking a culture of monitoring targets and indicators. Only managers and coordinators had established targets. The other employees were evaluated more qualitatively.

In 2009, we reviewed the demand and procedures, adapting them to the new SSC reality, and we implemented the SLAs and the OLAs (Operational-level Agreements). We also settled on a vision, but, as of yet, but without a strategic support map.

In 2010, we deepened the Management System, defining strategic goals and unfolding individual strategic objectives for all areas. Furthermore, we built out the BSC (Balanced Scorecard) involving around 10 people in management and coordination positions.

During 2010 we also focused our work on action plans, reporting of anomalies, analysis of three generations, training in Management Systems and the creation of a cycle of analysis results. We implemented a Management System, which is a meeting of the board with managers to track how the system was unfolding within each area. It was a very interesting experience, which launched a great improvement in the Management System and the maturing of the SSC as a whole.

IEG: When did you start to involve the customers more in the SSC planning?

LF: In 2011, we deepened our activities. We created the BSC with around 50 people and worked to align marketing and strategy with all the employees of the SSC, which at the time were around 140.

In late 2011, we created the Customer Committee, which collaborated in defining and evaluating all of the corporate processes. The only condition placed on the Committee was that these procedures had to be approved unanimously, even with the SSC vote, since it was responsible for these processes before the company. In short, the Committee has the objective of evaluating services and proposing improvements and updates to Solvî’s processes and corporate procedures.

In 2011, we reviewed the Management System and established a target within the BSC, for 2012, to monitor SSC improvements.

For this, we defined what we call the maturity rule to PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act). This rule includes seven aspects (planning, training, succession, routine management, action plans, knowledge management and anomalies treatment) and sets a standard of behaviour expected of employees within each level. The rule was created in order that everyone could decide on their activities knowing what the company expected from each one of them.

IEG: And what is the critical point for the success of this routine management?

LF: The critical point is the cultural change in people. We wanted to make them stop being mostly operational, focus less on "putting out fires," and focus more on planning. For this, we introduced coaching to all managers during 2011 and we also defined the direct successors of these managers (2nd leval) so that fluidity is given to the proceedings. With this, the manager can do what is expected by the company, in other words, planning, training, succession, routine management, action plans quality, etc.

We also inducted 20 people in the Lean Office practice and we had amazing results. We had a very exhausting process, which used to take more than 48 hours to complete. With the Lean methodology and without any other investment, we reduced this procedure time to less than 8 hours. Another achievement is that we can today deliver the cash flow of the company (42 enterprises), affiliates (102 branches), cost centres (1,600 cost centres) … and all is reconciled by 11 am the next day.

We plan to use this practice as internal benchmark and move to other processes. We are planning that the Supply process will be the next to be reviewed, to make it simpler and to reduce the time for issuing purchase orders.

IEG: What are the expectations of this Management Model for the future?

LF: Our expectation of the Management Model is to let it optimize people’s activities, giving them a broader systemic thinking about the process, so that day-by-day they are able to respond more quickly and more assertively to their customers. We also have cost reduction and time reduction goals, but the main expectation is that people understand the whole process and that they can better serve their customers.

Internally, we like to quote an interview with a gentleman who was sweeping the floor at NASA’s office. When a reporter asked him what he was doing there, he replied that he was helping to put a man on the moon. That’s the reason we emphasize the achievements of the SSC at Solvî. We want our employees to feel more responsible and closer to those achievements. Solvî’s SSC is proud to be part of the organization’s strategic vision.

About Lucas Feltre

Lucas Feltre Graduated in Business Administration by FAAP (Fundaèäo Armando Alvares Penteado) and post graduate in business finance at USP (Universidade de Säo Paulo). He began his career as Financial Manager at Solvî. He served as Commercial Manager of Âguas do Amazonas and, later, he was Chief Financial and Administrative of Logîstica Ambiental de Säo Paulo-LOGA. Today, Feltre is Executive Director of SSC at Solvî.[eventpdf]