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Bernard Carbone: Goodman Fielder is a leading food company across Australia, New Zealand and Asia Pacific that boasts a wide portfolio of well-known and leading consumer brands, including Meadow Lea, Praise, White Wings, Pampas, Helga’s, Wonder White, Meadow Fresh, Edmonds, and Irvine. I would say that most Australian and New Zealand households have at least 40% of their cupboard space stocked with Goodman Fielder products—be it flour, bread, dairy products, pasta, and sauces, among other staple foods.
Our history with Capgemini started approximately three years ago when we decided to get involved in business process outsourcing. We carried out a review of the market and identified Capgemini as one of the companies that could help us. My role in the partnership started on day one—right from selection through to implementation, and I have focused specifically on building a strong relationship with Capgemini.
In March 2015, Goodman Fielder was acquired by two large Asian multinationals, and as a result, we sought to centralize our functional operations, and drive operational efficiency and effectiveness across the entire Group. We were also using multiple, disparate system applications and tools across markets, which was impacting our critical business processes.
This provided the mandate to outsource a number of our finance functions. And as a result, Capgemini came into the frame and provided a range of solutions that have helped us to deliver those outcomes.
We were impressed with the range of Capgemini’s capabilities, including their strong talent pool and technology, and in early 2016 took the decision to engage them as our BPO partner.
When we reviewed the possibilities for our transformation journey, we found that Capgemini provided a couple of things we thought were quite unique on the market. There was the obvious matter of efficiency around pricing and cost, as well as around technology solutions they brought to the table through their process. The third thing they provided was scalability, which was extremely important to us.
There were a couple of areas in which we were lacking in the right technology, and Capgemini gave us some very good tools for us to use in this space. They organized collaborative workshops to identify opportunities and delivered a customized transition methodology aligned to our specific requirements.
They also led various stakeholder and change management workshops and initiatives, including change program and virtual team training, which ensured that we were able to engage the right stakeholders and built a strong relationship. Capgemini’s program team also worked closely with us to ensure the new ways of working were clearly defined and that both teams were able to operate smoothly.
We felt this was all pretty unique and was the main reason we adopted Capgemini’s solution.
Once we had clearly defined desired outcomes from transformation, it became a question of whether we could achieve them. I am really proud to say that implementing Capgemini’s solution enabled us to reduce our cost to account by about 40%.
We also implemented a range of tools and processes that improved our projects and processes quite significantly, as well as an operating model that encourages our teams to function more efficiently. And we’re still able to scale up and add different functions. So we’ve been very successful in achieving our outcomes.
Winning the Shared Services & Outsourcing Network (SSON) Award for Excellence in Value Creation together with Capgemini in 2017 is also proof that we achieved the goals we have set out to achieve. It’s always fantastic to receive recognition from an independent body.
To my mind, we’ve moved beyond the normal BPO provider and customer relationship to enjoying a very symbiotic relationship where we’re winning together. We continue to build a very strong partnership with Capgemini, with a lot of trust and a lot of dependency on each other to do the right things – and I can only see our relationship getting stronger and stronger along our transformation journey.
Goodman Fielder’s transformation journey now moves to a significant stage of stabilization. We are very keen to now extract as much value out of what we have transformed as we possibly can.
The market has stabilized a lot and providers have proved their capabilities. As a result, I can see the market of BPO in Australia growing quite substantially within the next year or two.
The main outsourcing trends in the Australian BPO space in 2018 are really around artificial intelligence and the continued expansion of robotics. These are the areas we’re starting to explore with Capgemini, and they’re also areas I see being quite prominent in the market.
If you are an organization looking to outsource and transform your Finance function, my recommendations are to be committed to your transformation journey, partner with an outsourcing provider able to deliver value beyond your initial scope, and, most importantly, be well-resourced in terms of both your funding and your people.
Bernard Carbone, a chartered Accountant by profession, has held many senior financial roles and is currently Head of Shared Services at Goodman Fielder, Australia and New Zealand’s largest food company.
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