Community News

SSON Summit Addresses
Outsourcing and Offshoring Challenges |

The HR Agenda

In many parts of the world companies have switched from controlling administrative operations internally to contracting with an outside vendor. Although this move is known to cut costs and improve operational efficiencies, Japan has been slow to adopt such services. In July 2012, The HR Agenda’s Kumiko Shimotsubo attended the Shared Services, Outsourcing and Offshoring Summit Japan in Tokyo to find out more. | 今年で2回目となる「シェアードサービス、アウトソーシング、オフショアリング日本サミット」が7月19日から2日間、東京・恵比寿のウェスティン・ホテルで開催された。2日間のサミット期間中にはさまざまな課題が提起されたが「シェアードサービス」「アウトソーシング」そして「オフショアリング」について日本の人事が直面する問題について考察しよう。

Translated from the Japanese original

     The Shared Services Outsourcing Network (SSON), who sponsored the July Summit in Tokyo, advocates that companies focus on their core business while partnering with outside professional groups to handle complementary operations. This can streamline administration, improve productivity in the core business, and ensure realization of dynamic high performance.

     But companies in Japan face particular problems when it comes to shared services, outsourcing and offshoring. Participants at the second annual summit looked at ways to address these issues.

Lenovo Re-internalizes its HR Operations in Japan Alone

     For example, Lenovo, the world’s second-largest PC vendor, has begun re-internalizing its HR operations in Japan. The company headquarters are located in Beijing, China and in Morrisville, North Carolina, U.S.; with major research centers in Yokohama, Japan. In an exception to Lenovo’s global policy, Japan is the sole country exempted from its offshoring scheme because of the complexity of roles and relationships within the Japan-based organization.

     Such complexity in Japanese organizations makes it difficult to separate work that can be outsourced from the core business operations. The operational boundaries between positions or departments are left undefined and because of the resulting overlap in work it is difficult to decide the exact scope of the operations to be outsourced. In such cases it is not uncommon for outsourcing to cause problems and for the quality of operations to deteriorate.

Coca-Cola Successfully Introduces Shared Services in Japan

     Instead of rushing to split off operations, Japanese HR needs to take more time to foster a climate within the organization so that the benefits of outsourcing and offshoring for higher productivity become better understood. Radi Anguelova, HR Director AP Group for The Coca-Cola Company, described how her company had successfully introduced HR Shared Services throughout its global operations, including Japan. The Coca-Cola Company was able to create this strategic function because HR professionals in each region committed themselves to being the leaders of change.

      “Shared services” is a term defining an operational philosophy that involves centralizing those administrative functions of a company that were once performed in separate divisions or locations. When the service becomes shared, so does funding and resourcing and, as a result, staff numbers may fluctuate substantially during the organizational restructuring.

     During the change process it is difficult to keep all employees focused and motivated. Therefore, it is all the more important that HR articulates the organization’s aspirations and positions organizational reforms as internal best practice.

     Other speakers included Teiichiro Miyahara of Lenovo Japan who talked about their on-shoring practice, Dr. Stephen Baker, Country Head Japan, Scottish Development International and Mr. Stephen Stuart, Director of Solutions at Ceridian for the Scottish case.

Transcending Boarders

     Some estimate that utilization of shared services in Japan is 10 years behind other developed countries. As a consequence, there is a lack of knowledge relating to shared services and few reliable outsourcing or offshoring partners.

     Other countries have had much greater success. Scotland, for example, has built expertise in European shared services for over 30 years. World-famous universities and financial centers flock to Scotland, attracting a wealth of talented and globallyminded HR. Although labor costs in Scotland are higher than those in emerging countries in Eastern Europe, the techniques and human resources are excellent. This is one way that Europebased global companies strategically utilize shared services in the region without sacrificing quality.

     Nowadays, regardless of location, companies survive only if they concentrate personnel on the core business operations and increase productivity and profitability. HR professionals need to demonstrate their value not only domestically, but also perform as a leader in separating roles across a larger framework that may transcend national borders.



     人事分野においても「シェアードサービス」「アウトソーシング」そして「オフショアリング」はグローバル企業を中心に浸透しつつある。しかし、こと日本では「シェアードサービス」「アウトソーシング」または「オフショアリング」の成功例が少ない。レノボ・ジャパンの宮原禎一郎氏が同社のオンショアリングについて語った。レノボ社では「オフショアリング」の「失敗」経験を踏まえて、人事業務をあえて内製化した。グロ ーバル・ポリシーの例外措置として日本でのみ「オフショアリング」スキ ームから抜け出たというのだ。日本では組織運営が複雑に入り組んでいるために、同社の例に留まらず、自社ビジネスから管理業務を切り離すことに困難が生じる。各ポジション、各部門の業務に境界がなく、複数のポジション、複数の部門の仕事が何層にも重なりあっていて、どこからどこまでが外注すべき業務なのか簡単には分からない。だから自社のヘッドカウントを投入すべきコア・ビジネスを明確に描けず、外注化してもプロセスがかえって複雑化する、または業務のクオリティが劣化することも珍しくない。


     日本での「シェアードサービス」の活用は他の先進国から10年遅れていると言っても過言ではない。そのため「シェアードサービス」の技術や知識の蓄積も少ないから、戦略的な「シェアードサービス」を築くことができず「アウトソーシング」するにも「オフショアリング」するにも、頼れるパートナーが少ないのも現実だ。海外では、例えば英国のスコットランド地方は約30年に渡って「欧州のシェアードサービス」としてノウハウを蓄積させている。スコットランド国際開発庁日本代表スティーブン・ベーカー博士とSolution at Ceridian代表のスティーブン・スチュアート氏がスコットランドのケースに関して語った。世界的に有名な大学や金融センターが立地するためグローバル意識の高い優秀な人材も豊富だ。新興の東欧諸国に比べれば人件費は高いが、それを補って余りある技術と人材の蓄積があるという。だからこそ欧州のグローバル企業はクオリティを落とすことなく同地域の「シェアードサービス」を戦略的に活用できるのだ。




Share this page:



---Media Partners---
WSJ Asia Logo.jpg



© 2007-2015. The Japan HR Society (JHRS). All Rights Reserved.  c/o HR Central K.K. (The JHRS Secretariat), 3-29-2-712, Kamikodanaka, Nakahara-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa-ken 211-0053 JAPAN | Tel: +81(0)50-3394-0198 | Fax: +81(0)3-6745-9292 | Email Us. | Read our Privacy Policy.
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software