Most service companies are facing a rapid increase in customer demands, both in terms of service quality and prices. They are also faced with the emergence of new, often more agile players with disruptive business models. Service companies are forced to rethink their offer towards greater differentiation and personalisation in order to avoid “commoditisation” and the loss of direct customer contact, or even to radically transform their operational model. 

Challenges

Digital transformation is becoming a strategic investment, and even a survival strategy in B2C services, not only in terms of technology and services, but also with regards to the evolution of the company’s businesses and human capital.

At the operational level, the issues are known and numerous. In particular there is a need to  adjust offers and capabilities in line with market needs, companies need operational flexibility and to create an ecosystem of partners in line with their make or buy strategy, and payroll needs to be optimised as it often represents between 60% and 80% of operating costs. In addition to these, where possible processes should be optimised and automated, and relationships with strategic suppliers enhanced. Expertise must also be developed, pooled and disseminated. 

Digital transformation is a new challenge, both business and operational. Digital pure players are emerging in most services with disruptive business models. Even when the size of these new entrants is not yet a threat, their ability to quickly take a significant share of the value of one or more segments is real. Companies in the sector must therefore understand, on the one hand, the customer and business dimensions of digital, and, on the other, its operational efficiency dimensions. 

How we can help

We support clients in this sector in their transformation from the assessment of challenges to the implementation of all operational performance drivers: 

  • Support the reflection on the digital strategy and launch PoCs
  • Review their offer portfolios according to market needs
  • Support the business realignment strategy and outsourcing / partnership with key suppliers
  • Quickly acquire new competencies and skills
  • Strengthen the service culture
  • Optimise their pyramid (payroll)
  • Develop centres of expertise
  • Transform delivery processes
  • Use nearshore resources
  • Optimise SG&A and supplier relations
  • Master the digital transition

Services case studies

Product development and Time to Market in the Fashion industry

Product development and Time to Market in the Fashion industry

A fashion brand with a European footprint wanted to accelerate its collection cycles to stick with market trends and clients’ expectations (shifting from 1 to 3 collections per season).

This required strong process and operation changes and a review of  product development and tools to generate massive time and efficiency benefits.

Our role

  • Build with Business, Offer and Procurement departments a target collection calendar
  • Identify changes in terms of roles and responsibilities and changes enablers
  • Assess current product development process efficiency and identify potential optimisation levers (components and fabrics management, pattern blocks, quality tests management…)
  • Develop a short cycle process
  • Identify key features of a PLM tool to be implemented

Results

  • Switched from 1 to 3 collections per season, with a Time to Market reduced by 15%
  • New offer renewal during season with short cycle products with high sales results
  • Reduction of overdevelopment due to a better collaboration between Offer and Business Units
  • PLM implemented on product development process
  • Teams onboarded and ready for full scale implementation

Defense – PLM & Program management – Diagnostic and support for digital solution development

Defense – PLM & Program management – Diagnostic and support for digital solution development

We were involved in a multi system (PLM, ERP, MES, Program Management, Quality Management, Purchasing) diagnostic and digitalization program aiming at taking a leap in the digital collaboration within and through services.

We gathered strengths and progress area of current systems to build an improved target with its business case. Further on we organized and realized the call for proposal in order to select the target solution to deploy

Our role

  • Perform a technical and performance diagnostic of current System
  • Build an improved target system with embedded PLM, Program Management, Quality Management, Product Traceability and Document Management
  • Validate market OOTB solution coverage of the target and perform the business case
  • Organise call for tender and support the selection process

Results

  • 2 months to define perform a diagnostic and design an improvement target
  • Pre-selection of market solution fitted to the company context for a short loop technical assessment
  • Write system requirements and organise call for proposal
  • Analyse answers, synthetize presentations and prepare a recommendation in 1,5 month

Design To Value : major French company in the pharmaceutical sector

Design To Value : major French company in the pharmaceutical sector

Our client is a leading French laboratory recognised for its specialty care medical devices.

While the medical device market typically generates price cuts around 5% every 2-3 years, our client decided to implement Design to Cost approaches on some blockbusters and on products being developed to increase its competitivity.

Our role

  • Apply an adapted, robust and proven methodology: framing via cost analysis and interviews, 5 brainstorming workshops, qualification of opportunities
  • Achieve significant and sustainable industrial cost reduction
  • Ensure all key departments are involved, to include Innovation, Marketing, Development, Purchasing, Quality, Regulatory, Industry, Finance
  • Provide methodological support on a new product development

Results

On a blockbuster already on the market:

  • 141 ideas generated in brainstorming workshops
  • 14 opportunities approved for a 21% cost reduction
  • 4 opportunities applicable on further products
  • On a product being developed:
  • 2 preferential tracks selected (Higher Value for customer / Cost Ratio)
  • Material research activity scoped

Global Lean Manufacturing performance assessment

Global Lean Manufacturing performance assessment

Water treatment specialists Veolia Water Technologies (2 B€ revenue) asked us to assess the industrial maturity of Equipment and Chemical Products production sites.

The challenge was to understand where are the performance improvement areas by relying on the Lean Manufacturing principles, in comparison with the best practice industrial standards.

Those audits are carried out at eight production sites in the world, in order to take a representative picture of the operational reality of Veolia Water Technologies.

Our role

  • Assess the Manufacturing organisations and capabilities to identify gaps with Best In Class practices and potential internal best practices to be cross-fertilised
  • Capture Manufacturing figures to give feedback to the Top Management of the Business Unit
  • Design a Master Lean Transformation Plan to drive change within the Business Unit and improve profitability

Results

  • The audits were carried out by Lean Manufacturing experts, based on 8 key criteria and in comparison with industrial standards “cross industries”: -12% on Manufacturing costs
  • The audits allowed (i) to take a picture of current good and bad practices of the industrial assets (ii) to catch figures about the operating of the 8 audited sites (iii) to identify the performance improvement areas and build action plans by workshop

Digital HR Processes: Property management/real estate

Digital HR Processes: Property management/real estate

Foncia Groupe is a French property management and real estate transaction company. With 550 branches across France, the company is a major French property administrator.

Foncia has decided to initiate a transformation of HR processes with the deployment of an HR solution with the ultimate aim of increasing the efficiency and added value of the HR function.

Our role

  • Facilitate design workshops for current and target HR processes
  • Articulate expected benefits by HR functional domain
  • Highlight areas for improvement and identify any other action aimed at optimising HR processes
  • Build a conducive context for the project and implement success factors with all the project stakeholders

Results

  • 11 workshops carried out over 5 weeks
  • 18 target processes defined
  • Engagement of business process owners, subject matter experts and key users
  • Formalisation of an HR book by HR functional domain. This highlights the current state of prominent points and challenges, gathering formalised processes; and summarising expressed needs and priority topics to be investigated in the design phase

Human Resources and Payroll lean processes optimisation : Environmental services

Human Resources and Payroll lean processes optimisation : Environmental services

Veolia Water Technologies, a subsidiary of The Veolia Group, is the leading specialist in water treatment. The company design and deliver drinking water or wastewater treatment for industrial or municipal customers.

Within a Global Lean Management plan (including Operation, Finance, Human Resources), the objective was to apply Lean methodology to optimise HR and Payroll processes

Our role

  • Use Lean Diagnostics tools (e.g. Value stream Mapping, 7 muda, etc.) to identify improvement opportunities
  • Improve process and teams’ daily activities
  • Formalise action plan and timeline to implement levers of improvements
  • Implement a Lean management culture within the Human Resources department
  • Train key people to Lean Management methodology

Results

  • HR and Payroll process mapping, including improvement opportunities
  • Team alignment on levers of improvements, classified by process, technology, organisation and competencies
  • Implementation action plan (from 6 months to 3 years timeline)
  • One day training of key people to Lean Management principles, and management of continuous improvement plan

Global HR Function Transformation and Post-Merger Integration: Schlumberger

Global HR Function Transformation and Post-Merger Integration: Schlumberger

Schlumberger is the leader of the Oilfield Services industry ($32.8b revenue FY18), operating in 85 countries.

The company made three major acquisitions worth USD 10b of revenue.

The goal was to define the target organization of the HR function, as well as the integration roadmap.

Our role

  • Analyse processes and define the vision for HR admin and payroll activities (Shared Services model)
  • Gather expectations from the business: strategic issues and business priorities that the HR function needs to support
  • Based on business insight, define the vision of the HR organisation on its business partnering role
  • Build the implementation strategy and roadmap

Results

  • Defined target organisation of the integrated HR function, in line with the strategic objectives and business needs
  • Increased HR business partnering role
  • Optimised target organisation sizing: more value added and better efficiency
  • Delivered an implementation roadmap
  • Produced a business case

Manufacturing footprint re-engineering

Manufacturing footprint re-engineering

Bouyer Leroux is the French leader of clay bricks and terra cota building materials (400 M€).
According to its growth strategy, Bouyer Leroux acquired “Imerys Structure” (~75M€ Sales).
Bouyer Leroux wanted to prepare the integration of “Imerys Structure” teams (now called “Bouyer Leroux Structure”) within the SCOP (a legal structure where all employees are shareholders), and asked for Argon help on four main topics: industrial capacity optimisation (define the new production network on French territory) and definition of Supply Chain, Purchasing and Customer Service target organisations.

Our role

  • Map the (delivered) cost price of each product, product line and Manufacturing units to be able to make some production arbitrages (in terms of volumes, location, yield…)
  • Model potential scenarios of footprint re-engineering and assess financial impacts on a proforma P&L
  • Identify organisational synergy opportunities and assess short term and long term social impacts

Results

  • Design of a dynamic cost model to assess economical impact of each industrial network modification: +10 pts EBIT
  • Definition and sizing of Supply chain, Purchasing and Customer service organisations with identification of synergy opportunities between 2 structures and estimation of all HR impacts
  • Evaluation of purchasing savings potential and implementation plan + complete transformation Master Planning definition support

SG&A Cost Optimisation: Global leader in building materials industry

SG&A Cost Optimisation: Global leader in building materials industry

SG&A Cost Optimisation: Global leader in building materials industry

The client is a global leader in the building materials industry.

Facing a difficult business context and fierce competition, the Group decided to launch a SG&A project with an objective of 10% SG&A cost reduction.

 

Our role

  • Define the SG&A cost baseline and get alignment on a common definition of SG&A
  • Challenge the SG&A budget by identifying all improvement levers
  • Make recommendations on most relevant actions to achieve the 10% SG&A cost reduction target, according to the range of benefits and feasibility of implementation
  • Provide benchmarks on competition and insight on potential evolutions of SG&A organisations to increase efficiency and effectiveness

Results

  • Identified SG&A cost reduction of 10M€
  • Delivered documented action plan, approved by the ExCom
  • Produced SG&A target organisation design
  • Completed a detailed HQ relocation study

Post Merger Integration of Central and Support Functions: Food & Drinks Industry

Food & Drinks distribution

Post Merger Integration of Central and Support Functions: Food & Drinks Industry

Our client is a leader in selling, marketing and distributing food and non food products to restaurants.

In the context of the merger of two groups of equal size, the objective was to define the integration plan to create the industry leader and deliver synergies.

The scope included all central and support functions: finance, HR, marketing, procurement, customer services, QHSE.

Our role

  • Map headcount and FTE of all support functions
  • Estimate integration synergies of support functions and compare them with industry benchmarks
  • Build scenarios of evolution of support function organisation with the CEO in line with the company strategy, and assess them to make a recommendation
  • According to new organisation directions, redefine missions and design detailed target organisations of all support functions, in line with synergy targets

Results

  • Validated new company organisation model with the CEO
  • Validated new missions and target sizing of all support functions with functional leaders and Excom
  • Identified synergies of 20%
  • Produced transformation plan for each function
  • Conducted an HQ relocation study
  • Performed an impact assessment

Core Finance Model: Elior Group

Core Finance Model: Elior Group

Elior Group, one of the world’s leading operators in contract catering and support services, has become a benchmark player in the business & industry, education, healthcare and leisure markets (more than € 6 Bn revenue).

The goal of the project was to review the enterprise performance management framework, in line with the new corporate strategy.

Our role

  • Assess performance management needs of the businesses and corporate, in line with the new corporate strategy
  • Redefine performance management principles, i.e. analytical dimensions, organisational hierarchies, level of granularity of financial and non-financial information
  • Redefine some business rules like overhead cost allocation, define KPIs and produce a POC of new dashboards
  • Perform a gap analysis and build an implementation roadmap

Results

  • New enterprise performance management framework (‘Finance blue book’)
  • New analytical dimensions in line with strategic challenges and business needs
  • New performance management dashboards
  • Training of BU CEOs and CFOs regarding new dashboards
  • Implementation plan

Finance Transformation plan, including ERP implementation: Property management / Real estate

Finance Transformation plan, including ERP implementation: Property management / Real estate

Foncia Groupe is a French property management and real estate transaction company. With 550 branches across France, the company is a major French property administrator.

The assignment aims to transform the finance function and tools to support the group growth, size and associated complexity.

Our role

  • Frame finance transformation plan (dimensions to monitor business performance, target processes and target organisation)
  • Collect finance needs and formalise request for proposal (RFP) to select the future finance system (ERP)
  • Co-management of the ERP project (finance and procurement scope) alongside with Accenture (third party integrator)
  • Provide expertise to functional requirements
  • Drive project Change Management and training

Results

  • Collection of Foncia functional /technical needs and formalization of an RFP in a timeline of four months
  • Evaluation of the main ERP solutions of the market (Oracle, SAP, Workday, etc.)
  • Alignment of Foncia Management for an innovative solution (Workday Finance)
  • Implementation of the ERP (procurement, accounting and reporting) in 14 months in France

Finance operating model: Corporate Business Travel industry

Finance operating model: Corporate Business Travel industry

Amex GBT is a leader in the business travel services industry with a global presence in nearly 120 countries and yearly sales of 1.5bn$.

Amex GBT was carved out from Amex Group and its CFO wanted to ensure that the Finance function was effective and efficient. The CFO need was to design a new operating model for Finance, as well as an implementation roadmap.

Our role

  • Define a new operating model for the Finance function with clear building blocks and their interactions
  • Build a high level process map to capture all processes performed by the Finance function
  • Design a detailed RACI matrix and target organisation charts
  • Assess current sizing by process and propose target sizing
  • Define skills requirements and target career paths

Results

  • New Finance function organisation reflecting target operating model
  • Clarified roles and responsibilities within Finance including with outsourcers
  • Increased service quality and efficiency for the Finance function

 

Knowledge transfer: global biopharma

Knowledge transfer: global biopharma

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) is a global biopharma company focused on delivering innovative medicines to help patients fight serious diseases.

The business has set up a new capability centre for Europe based in UK. The new centre handles business and financial service activities including order to cash, accounting, procurement, HR and IT. There was a significant number of new joiners needing training and onboarding.

 

Our role

  • Develop a knowledge transfer and training programme to onboard 180 new starters
  • Capture knowledge from over 15 different markets to transfer to the above market capability centre
  • Track the knowledge transfer progress across all learners
  • Create an experience that would build a “capability centre” culture and reflect BMS values

Results

  • “Soft launch” with new starters trained to ramp up services before the official go live date
  • Onboarding programme rated as outstanding with training packs developed by Argon & Co cited as “Excellent”
  • Knowledge transfer framework applicable to any service migrating to the capability centre

Make or buy strategy

Make or buy strategy

Safran Labinal Power Systems is a global leader of electrical parts for Aerospace and Defence, with more than 700 M€ of revenue.

The company is reviewing its Manufacturing strategy and its capability to optimise its product design (APU generators).

Representing a significant part of the Generator costs, winding parts are identified as a potential lever of optimisation.

Should the company make its own windings or supply them directly from the market?

Our role

  • Develop a dynamic price/cost model to identify the part of winding materials into final products
  • Develop a cost model to assess the external competitiveness of potential suppliers
  • Assess internal and external manufacturing capabilities and processes’ robustness to identify potential improvement gaps

Results

  • Internal assessment of economic competitiveness and technological segregation on current and future technologies
  • External assessment (suppliers and competitors) on manufacturing and MRO practices and comparative cost analysis
  • Scenario modelling and decision grid based on a documented {strategic importance x economical competitiveness} matrix

Over the counter Project Management Office

Global petrochemicals manufacturer

Over the counter Project Management Office

SABIC is a global petrochemicals manufacturer producing a diverse range of products including commodities, plastics, agri-nutrients and metals. It is the fourth largest chemical producer globally with an annual turnover in excess of US$39bn.

SABIC needed to improve their end-to-end processes to restore service levels (DT1P) that had been adversely impacted by an ERP go-live as well as significant organisational change.  A need for a Project Management Office was identified to closely support the individual workstreams in the delivery phase to secure the targeted benefits.

Our role

  • Support in directing, controlling and coordinating activity across all content workstreams
  • Provide good practice guidance on the project management processes in the context of a cross-functional global business change programme
  • Identify any risks to delivery of the identified programme benefits and propose mitigation strategies
  • Provide project administration support to ensure the effective control of project activities and costs

Results

  • Customer service rate improved from 67% to 93%
  • A structured milestone and activity tracker, including risk management and action tracker
  • Business requirement workshops and workstream roadshows facilitated
  • Programme governance in place including full meeting cadence and monthly steerco meeting
  • Project communication plan with periodic communications cascaded to stakeholders

Order to cash process improvement

Global biopharma

Order to cash process improvement

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) is a global biopharma company focused on delivering innovative medicines to help patients fight serious diseases.

Following the shift of their business, financial, procurement, HR and IT services into a European above market capability centre, BMS was looking to standardise and optimise processes to improve operational efficiency and enhance the customer experience. The client needed our help to identify improvement opportunities in the end to end order to cash process.

Our role

  • Assess existing order to cash processes across 20+ EMEA markets
  • Benchmark processes against industry best practice to identify improvement opportunities
  • Evaluate and prioritise improvement opportunities to establish an implementation roadmap

 

Results

  • Identified 37 opportunities to improve operational efficiency and increase customer satisfaction
  • Workstreams prioritised based on a number of factors (complexity, benefits, impact, resources, strategic alignment)
  • Stakeholder buy-in across all levels
  • A manageable programme of 20+ workstreams  with a PMO to manage progress

Order to cash process assessment

Global winemaker and distributer

Order to cash process assessment

Treasury Wine Estates is a global wine making and distribution business with revenue of AUD$ 1.7 billion. It has some of the most recognised and awarded wine brands in the world, including Penfolds, Stag’s Leap, Etude, Pepperjack, Wolf Blass, Lindeman’s and many more.

The company had most of the core supply chain processes in place, but needed to improve the supporting systems and their performance reporting. The business wanted to review and improve its order to cash process.

Our Role

  • Review the order to cash process of European operations using the scprime® approach to identify actions to improve process maturity
  • Develop a prioritisation matrix to identify quick wins
  • Design an improvement programme for the next year
  • Assess whether a change to organisational structure was required to improve alignment with business processes and drive the proposed changes

Results

  • Objective review of current process maturity and process gaps
  • Roadmap to bring the supply chain processes up to the desired state
  • Vision of the future supply chain organisational structure
  • Asked to conduct a similar assessment on the company’s Asian customer service centre