The business unit formed part of a major retail bank’s Credit Operation and had the responsibility of recovering debt which was achieved by liaising with 3rd party ‘advice bodies’ acting on behalf of the bank’s customers.
More than 30 people worked in the unit, with plans to recruit more. The staff were attempting to manage a backlog of more than 10,000 work items which stretched back 24 days, significantly higher than the 5-day service level agreement. There was also a high variability in standards between staff and poor levels of quality, caused by inadequate process control and a general lack of effective operations management.
A 12 week Lean transformation approach was taken by Reinvigoration to drive improvement with the key elements being –
- Analysis of the current backlog revealed high levels of failure demand (multiple work item re-entry) caused by poor turnaround times. The majority of the team was re-organised to focus primarily on cases received that day. The remaining staff worked on the backlog and often found that their pieces of work had already been processed, significantly reducing the date of the oldest work item
- Local staff were facilitated in process mapping sessions to initially understand and then remove all the process variations that existed. Waste was identified and removed resulting in increased efficiency
- Once implemented, adherence to the new ‘best way’ of processing was monitored
- A short interval control board was implemented to allow the team to track progress against the daily work plan
- Other key operational measures linked to quality, cost and delivery were also displayed and tracked, allowing further improvements to be identified
- Senior staff were coached to ensure that they retained the capability to sustain improvements through effective operations management
The results of the project were significant with:
- The creation of increased capacity of 9 full time equivalents (FTE), equating to repeatable annual cost savings of £180k
- The age of work in progress (WIP) reduced from 24 days to within the 5-day service level agreement
- The volume of WIP reduced from more than 10,000 items to 500
- There was over 100% increase in staff productivity
- Improved quality in key areas of the process