Robert Verbich currently works as CFO Region Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary & Head of Global Shared Services for EMEA at OSRAM. In May of 2015, Robert was awarded the prestigious title of Slovak CFO of the year 2014. In October he will be speaking at our very first Shared Services event: The Future of Financial Shared Services.

Despite being a busy man, Robert was kind enough to participate in doing an interview about his experience as Head of Global Shared Services and the contents of his presentation.

To give attendees a little insight into the Financial Shared Services journey of OSRAM, could you please briefly touch upon the Shared Services history and maturity stage of OSRAM?

“OSRAM has been present in Slovakia for 20 years now. In 1995 OSRAM acquired Tesla, a company established in 1969 in the Slovak town of Nove Zamky. This summer we organized a great event to celebrate this important anniversary and company milestone.”

“We started our first Shared Service activities in 2005, with a headcount of 20 employees. At that time, we focused mostly on accounting activities, especially Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable.”

“Over the past 10 years, we have extended our scope to include Customer Service, Purchasing, Controlling, Marketing, Quality Management, IT, Human Resources and Supply Chain Management & Logistics. Our current service portfolio is very complex and diversified.”

“Besides being active in the area of transaction-based activities, such as AR, AP, and PO creation, we cover areas of more complex processes like General ledger & closing, Performance Controlling, Product marketing and IT application management. In the extended governance field, we are active in areas such as Strategic purchasing.”

“Our GSS organization has basically two parts – one mature and stabilized, the other one developing and growing very fast, also in terms of headcount. Just to illustrate, we hired more than 100 employees for the new functions in the calendar year 2015 alone. It means we focus on continuous improvement through LEAN methods in administration areas, especially in stabilized functions, as well as on fast growth in new functions that needs managing too. This gives a great opportunity for my senior management team to be active in both areas of our business.”

The event is called “The Future of Financial Shared Services”. Could you please share your views on the future of financial shared services in OSRAM?

“At the very beginning, we focused on transaction-based activities in the area of Corporate Finance. Nowadays, we have more complex processes in our portfolio, like general ledger and closing activities. We also have built up the functions in the Controlling area, mainly Sales Controlling and Performance Controlling.

To increase our competency and strengthen our position in our current global governance model, our strategy is to extend our portfolio further, especially in the “high skill profile” fields. In order to achieve the necessary efficiency and productivity, we will focus further on process harmonization and continue with improvement activities through Kaizen event and Six Sigma projects. Service management is also a consistent and crucial part of our organization. Visualization, shop floor management, performance management, and quality improvement are the most important and only cornerstones of success in this business.”

The topic of your presentation is “Global SSC Strategy and Governance with a Local Focus”. Could you please elaborate on what you will be presenting during the event?

“I will present our governance model at OSRAM. I will shortly explain the role and responsibility of our global GSS organization including the Global Process Owners on the one side and the responsibility of the Shared Service organization on the other side. I would like to show some examples from the migration waves; how the migration plan is being derived and how we proceed with the migrations on all respective sides such as the central coordination function, donating and receiving side. In the end I would like to present our Collaboration Model with regards to cross-functional topics such as Service Management and Human resources. I will then explain how the guiding principles are being constructed and communicated.”

What do you believe is the #1 takeaway of your presentation for those attending the event?

“I will share with the audience how to deal with a very heterogeneous functional scope, how to achieve a proper harmonization and standardization of processes, how to collaborate within the matrix governance model and how to lead and motivate people for the change.”

Having attended and spoken at several events, what advice can you give attendees that want to make the most out of their attendance?

“I believe you should make your attendance interactive. Talk about real-life cases; do not just focus on theory too much. Most of all, be honest as much as possible.”

Please visit the official website for the Future of Financial Shared Services if you want to meet Robert Verbich in person and listen to his presentation.