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Lean office: 15% productivity improvement in shared services

September 18, 2023 | Business Transformation

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At a Glance

  • A multinational conglomerate experienced limited internal process management capabilities due to the rapid growth of its organisation.
  • Using Lean Office techniques, Renoir designed a 30-week transformation programme focused on building business processes and a Management Control System.
  • At the end of the project, the client’s shared services recorded a 15% improvement in productivity (80% actual vs 65% baseline).


Our client is a multinational conglomerate offering a wide range of environmental management products and services. They have a presence in over 40 countries, spanning six continents, as they strive to help businesses address some of the most critical issues related to the well-being and sustainability of our planet.  

The group also has business units focused on management software – reinforcing its commitment to advancing environmental stewardship through technology and artificial intelligence. They have a portfolio of registered patents for sustainable products.  

The Challenge 

Our client has embarked on a number of new initiatives, ranging from significant business expansion, acquisitions across a range of sectors, and the development of new service contracts. However, due to limited internal process management capabilities, compounded by the rapid growth of the organisation, there has been a significant increase in the size and complexity of the internal workforce structure.  

Renoir has previously worked with this client to transform their contract management processes. Read more about the recommended initiatives and results achieved during the 26-week project.   


We conducted an analysis to better understand the underlying issues. We identified the following problems with the current shared service processes: 

  • Excessive validations, duplications, checks, and re-work that significantly prolong process completion times.
  • Non-standardised work instructions leading to longer processing times and high variability in execution.
  • Difficulty in maintaining patterns, leading to run-time errors.
  • Excessive movement and transitions leading to excessive movement and transitions within the workflow.
  • Inadequate or incomplete information leading to document accumulation.

The business case, approach and plan to address the issues were then agreed, and the implementation project commenced.  

Project Approach 

Using Lean Office technique, we designed a 30-week transformation programme focused on building business processes and a Management Control System (MCS). Two Management Action Teams (MATs) were set up to implement these activities.  

  1. Process MAT: They developed and implemented the MCS, managed the results of the processes and monitored deviations in performance and adherence to deadlines.  
  2. Knowledge MAT: The team covered process mapping, revision and optimisation of processes and activities, standardisation of procedures, elimination of rework, and standardisation of tools.  

The MAT teams consisted of two multidisciplinary groups that contributed to the successful development and implementation of the management system elements. 

“With Renoir’s help, we reviewed our shared processes, reviewed the lead time of service, adjusted our structure to meet the demand of the interface areas and made our operation leaner.”

Chief Executive Officer


The transformation programme began with the Renoir Focus Process®, specifically designed to promote ownership and sustainability. The processes, procedures, and key elements of an MCS were defined and developed.  

We also developed an approach based on Lean Manufacturing to define the group’s critical objectives and needs. The approach promoted management commitment and involved employees in process mapping and bottleneck identification exercises, to better understand where the waste was.  

  • Process mapping. This exercise began as a top-down activity involving process owners and users. Over time, the mapping process evolved to a finer level of detail, leading to a deep understanding of the issues and deviations. In the implementation phase, deadlines were incorporated into the creation of process management models using workflow. The efficiency and effectiveness of the processes were then continuously monitored, and their phases restructured to meet the needs of the process users.  
  • Efficient management model. This model was created to manage interfaces and measure the efficiency and effectiveness of processes, with the aim of improving internal customer satisfaction.  
  • Indicators. We developed and implemented workflow-based indicators that provide reliable information on the number of requests, the stages of each request, and the deadlines.  
  • Structures. The necessary structures have been put in place to meet business needs, balance the workload to meet deadlines and comply with the defined processes and their service level agreements.  


“This project provides us with management of shared services that can be monitored through performance indicators and allows us to meet the required lead times.”

Shared Service Centre Director

Productivity: 80% (versus 65% baseline)

24% increase in financial administration process handoffs

8% increase in finance process handoff

50% cost reduction in HR third-party process

An ROI of 1.3: 1

In summary, the engagement achieved the following results:  

  • Improved the value of internal customer processes. 
  • Simplified and standardised administrative procedures to minimise errors. 
  • Increased individual and process performance, resulting in cost reductions.  
  • Redesigned processes based on Lean Office principles, reducing bottlenecks, lead times and delays caused by interdepartmental interfaces.  

Employees who participated in the MATs gained essential change management skills, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and a renewed commitment to operational excellence.  

*We have intentionally omitted client-specific details to maintain strict confidentiality.  

Is a complex and disorganised internal workforce structure holding your business back?

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