Comparex has insisted staff are not unhappy as it continues its shared services strategy, which has seen a number of business functions moved to a large shared services centre in Germany.
About 12 months ago, the licensing specialist began the process of moving certain functions from the UK business – such as order processing and finance – to Germany, one of many global shared services centres, similar to those in the US, India and Russia. The UK was not alone in its move, with other local countries doing the same.
CRN understands that some staff at the firm have become frustrated with the move, with orders now being processed from Germany, leading to some confusion.
Comparex's UK general manager Mike Chambers recently left the firm, Achim Herber, executive vice president for Germany and the UK, told CRN. Herber insisted that things are continuing as usual in the UK business.
"The shared services is not new and has been implemented in many countries; in most of our countries. It was normal procedure. The first thing I would say is I never had a single person quit out of the group. The only person we lost is Mike. I can understand – his position was reduced from being responsible for all down to sales manager. Of course Mike had to look at me and say 'I am not sure this is where I want to go'. I made the same move with all the other country managers who reported to me. I know that discussion from them – 'hey, I thought I was a general manager' – but I believe they should concentrate on sales and leave the other stuff to other people," he said.
"In the team that was affected, no one gave notice. I can't undersign the statement that they are unhappy. We had a change management project, yes. Change management projects always contain change. And who likes change? No one. Today when I enter the office, no one is jumping at me. It might be UK culture, but everyone smiles. We are already a year down the road with these changes. It's a little late to now say you're unhappy."
For the year ending 31 March, Comparex's UK business made a £1m loss after tax, compared with a profit after tax of £159,000 the year before. Over the same period sales at the firm rose 31 per cent to £42m, the company said in accounts filed with Companies House.
Herber said that since pursuing the shared services strategy, UK revenue has "exploded". He hinted that the approach has hit some bumps but insisted it is the best long-term plan.
"The shared services approach is the only way to scale and get efficiency," he said.
"There is no question about the fact there are pros and cons. But you cannot scale and hire 100 people in every country. Even though we took some of the workloads and divided it up, not a single person left the office. It's not that I am cutting jobs – no. While growing, we have to grow in an effective way. The revenue in the UK has exploded. All this has to be worked and managed."
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