More than one way to be multinational

Global expansion is a core goal of many major corporations, but some are beginning to rewrite the multinational rules of the road. With 300 locations around the world, General Electric (GE) is one such pathfinder, recently rethinking which functions should be regionalized and which should remain local.

Global Operations Executive Leader, Oleg Bodiul, SF ’13 took on the vast transformation role as part of a GE leadership team tasked with creating a global shared-services organization that would centralize many of the company’s key functions, including accounting, finance, and commercial operations.

Among the top 100 firms in the world, GE is a digital-industrial player providing software-defined machines and solutions for markets ranging from aviation, power generation, and oil and gas to renewables, healthcare, and financial services. “Historically, functions like accounting and order management were performed in hundreds of locations around the globe. The objective was to centralize, where possible, into a few locations to leverage scale and deliver better outcomes for our customers, employees, and shareholders.”

Building a bustling hub in Budapest

Bodiul, who is based in the Netherlands, recounts that fragmentation and lack of enterprise-level process standards had led to operational inefficiencies. The multifunctional shared-services organization he and his team created consolidates work that benefits from scale, breaks down process silos, and provides more robust career opportunities. In just over two years, Bodiul has led the European transformation and overall program management to create a new center in Budapest with 1,500 employees.

“This was a one-of-a-kind experience,” Bodiul says. “The task was to migrate work from more than 120 locations in Europe to a new team in Hungary, an undertaking that required significant coordination with a strong focus on talent, training, organization design, culture, and change management.” Four regional shared-service centers in Hungary, China, Mexico, and the U.S. are now up and running, and the turnaround has been even more successful than projected.

Today, Bodiul reports, GE Global Operations is delivering superior process quality and efficiency at levels that were very difficult to attain under the old local model. In addition to simplifying the operations, the change has delivered more than $300 million in savings globally—and counting.

Read about other organizational turnarounds in the MIT Sloan Fellows Newsletter.