Building the infrastructure and culture to maintain growthValue Creation in Financial Services
An asset management services provider had grown more than 20% year over year having tripled in size in about six years. Having now achieved significant size and market share they were looking to improve profitability and lay out the infrastructure to sustain their growth while maintaining their high bar of customer satisfaction.
Sales growth had outpaced the businesses ability to keep up, staff were getting overworked and burned out, employee turnover at the staff level had hit 20% leading the executive management team to seek outside help. We launched a five-month project to study the business; it’s client’s, market and competitors. Following a four-week assessment and analysis phase, we knew that the key challenge was time consuming manual work and quality control reviews. The work required manual data entry and manipulation of vast quantities of data via Microsoft excel which was tedious and error-prone leading to seven separate error checks before delivery to client. These checks prevented bad work from going out the door, but it was at tremendous costs in terms of time, money and employee satisfaction.
- Sales growth +20%
- Employee turnover +20%
- Highly manual and tedious work was expensive and frustrating
- Customer satisfaction was crucial to their business model, and errors were believed to be catastrophic
Following the initial assessment and feedback from the executive management team, we launched three different initiatives. First, we looked to quantify the number of errors and severity of errors with clients throughout the process. After speaking with clients and the various teams and groups involved, we found that errors were not occurring that frequently and then if they did clients were understanding and could easily correct them. From there we put in place a simple process to document and quantify errors and reduced the QC checks from seven to four, freeing up more than a dozen manager level folks from performing routine tick and tie checks and redirecting them to new clients, employee training, and management. Secondly, we made minor adjustments to the processes to standardize things across the teams and various offices so that all client deliverables were similar and therefore could be processed in a more pool like fashion. Thirdly we launched a detailed process to identify, acquire and plan the implementation of a technology system to guide and in some places automate the process from start to finish.
We found that culture change here was key, as a fast-moving, roll-up-your-sleeves, start-up mentality organization management would often found themselves jumping in to “do the work.” However, we found that this led the dozens of new staff hired every year never really to learn how to do it themselves, or not value the quality of their work “because it will be checked again and again.” What had set them apart was now holding them back. The company had grown out of it’s startup phase and needed to transition to a different kind of management structure. We broke the negative feedback loop by pulling the managers out of the work, documenting errors and providing training and guidance to staff so that they could develop. Ultimately the technology platform that they implemented drastically changed their business model and they wouldn’t have had the capacity or ability to adapt if we hadn’t fixed the problems.
- Productivity improvement of 20%
- Reallocation of resources enabled 20% more work to be brought on at zero additional cost
- 15M increase to profitability
- Increased employee satisfaction
- More tightly intertwined with clients