Case Study: Global Technology Company
Global Tech Company
- Improved month-end reporting process
- Compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley
- Change of internal status from “problem child” to star
As a large technology company, based in Brussels and listed in the Standard & Poors Global 250, our client was well established in the world of global commerce. However, it discovered that it had to meet stringent requirements for the U.S. based Sarbanes-Oxley act of 2002 (known as SOX), which focuses on corporate accountability and transparency following the major scandals of companies like Enron.
The company learned that it would now have to report monthly financial results to its U.S. parent no later than the end of the first week of each month. This proved to be quite difficult. A quick review of the corporate accounting office revealed a great deal of disorganization that included staff chronically working excessively long hours and filing reports that were often “just under the wire,” or late, and almost always inaccurate, incomplete or otherwise flawed.
The U.S. head office regularly questioned the results and the data, and overall the company was red-flagged as a problem area in global operations.
When company representatives approached ZERWASTE, we suggested we involve the finance team in a fast-track project using a Business Process Value Stream mapping approach to identify and measure the monthly reporting process.
Some of the features we introduced included:
- Workload levelling: identifying tasks that could be completed equally easily and accurately before the month end to eliminate much of the crunch period they routinely encountered. This was visibly reproduced as a workload chart, using both Gantt charts and kanban
- Error identification: we used a fishbone-structured five-why analysis to seek out the root causes of errors in the input of raw data to month end reports. Upstream checks and error prevention measures were put in place.
- Status meetings: Short but thorough daily meetings were scheduled and held that allowed employees to track time, stay on schedule, ask questions and discuss potential or existing problems.
- Online education: a collection of how-to’s were placed into a centralized wiki style knowledge base, including videos and augmented reality.
This simple collection of organizational techniques allowed the teams to better visualize the scope of their projects, both individually and collectively. This led them to modify their own personal time management habits, resulting in reports being prepared with sufficient time for:
- correct, accurate and thorough data input
- analysis and reporting
- proofing and preparation
- review by stakeholders and senior management
- edits and additions where needed
All that was really needed was a bird’s-eye view and a clear roadmap. Once we supplied these items, the team was able to visualize a better production path with clear and immediate benefits. This made adoption easy and permanent.