In 2005, electronics manufacturer Flextronics International projected significant growth levels ahead and began looking for ways to scale up its financial functions without incurring an equivalent increase in costs. The $29 billion company, which is based in Singapore, decided to move certain functions to India to reduce expenses. The first department to make the trip was the global credit function.

At the time, the department was decentralized, with offices in Asia, Europe and the Americas, and processes were inefficient. "Everything was done through e-mails," explains Paul Anderson, senior director of credit. "We didn't have a database, other than an Excel file, which made it difficult to keep track of things." As part of the move to India, the company decided to implement credit software to automate and simplify the department's activities.

Flextronics' first step was to set up a global shared service center in Chennai, India, which was chosen because of its low-cost workforce, affordable buildings and good transportation links. During a 90-day transition period, the existing credit staff helped answer the new team's questions. However, certain problems arose. Although staffing costs were greatly reduced, the new team was much less productive than its more experienced counterpart in the U.S. The 12-hour time difference presented another challenge and Anderson initially worked split shifts in order to manage the Chennai team.

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