Global business services as a partner in industrial manufacturing

From transaction processing to driving business results

Numerous objectives—cost reduction, process improvement, enhanced insights, modernization, to name a few—are accelerating the need for a mature global business services (GBS) organization within industrial manufacturing (IM) companies, prompting many to investigate new ways to transform this traditionally back-office organization into a strategic business partner.

Industrial manufacturing companies are elevating the role of global business services, adding more value across the enterprise.

There was a time, not long ago, when the foundational “keep the lights on” work done every day by GBS was focused on delivering back-office processes at the lowest cost, rather than its contributions to the company’s strategic objectives.

Today, organizations large and small are witnessing sweeping technology-driven changes—geopolitical, economic and cultural—that will impact their operating models, the way they interact with customers, and the products and services they offer. These external forces—from the rise of intelligent automation to immigration and tax reform—are among the disruptors prompting many IM companies to reconsider the role of GBS within the context of corporate competitiveness.

Properly managed and aligned with business strategy, a mature GBS organization can become the strategic partner IM companies need to drive value in a rapidly changing environment. Data analysis and interviews with market leaders and shapers confirm a growing appetite to improve the maturity of the GBS organization and elevate its role.

In contrast to the traditional role of primarily delivering back-office services, the new vision for GBS is one of a strategic, collaborative contributor to the business, long-term value and sustainability. More and more, GBS organizations are expected to deliver differentiated, value-added services. The thinking is not only will this drive the company’s overarching strategic objectives but also propel numerous vital business objectives including business intelligence, talent retention and conversion, and even new-market entry.

This paper explores the growing movement to give GBS leaders a seat at the C-suite executive table. We are confident that this change will help IM companies drive new business opportunities; improve customer experience; reduce selling, general, and administrative (SG&A) expenses; and better manage risk. We also outline KPMG’s approach to progressing IM companies’ GBS maturity, on which the entire endeavor hinges.