If you grew up on Schoolhouse Rock, like I did, Conjunction Junction rings a bell. Do you now have a song stuck in your head? You’re welcome.
The whole idea behind Conjunction Junction was “what’s your function?”- reminding kids that conjunctions exist to connect words, phrases and clauses. I believe that I have come across the adult version of Conjunction Junction.
Meet Innovation Station. In the spirit of maintaining the integrity of a catchy jingle/ rhyme:
Innovation Station, What’s Your Creation?
I recently read an interview from a prominent banking executive in the Pacific Northwest area, and there was a quote that stuck out to me. He was quoted saying “Innovate or die”. Given I work daily with the financial industry this quote inspired me to think about innovation for banking in an unconventional way.
A powerful toolset that is proving value to the financial industry currently is the adoption of Lean/ Six Sigma operating principles. Traditionally used for manufacturing, Six Sigma is making rounds to other industries to proclaim it is not a one trick pony! Applying error- proofing tactics, automation efforts, and elimination of waste is a real and tangible way for banking institutions to excel with the help of Six Sigma and Lean.
So, I bet you are wondering, how could banks possibly use Six Sigma and Lean to be innovative, Ragan?! I had a feeling you might ask…
There are 3 items that really stick out to me, based on projects we have completed at West Monroe Partners with clients.
- Delay Time and SLA Alliance: When a banking product moves through a banking system for sales, implementation, operations and client service, there are many so departments and hands that have a part in making that happen successfully. By using Six Sigma techniques to map the end to end process of enrolling in a product, it is easy to find and eliminate waste, simplify over-communicate and enforce expected SLA times.
- Analyze Performance and Error Proofing: By creating an analysis of performance (think a monthly report of all manual intervention in the billing process), it is much easier for a bank to spot the most common error areas and create an error proofing technique. If the performance analysis concludes that every other manual billing intervention results in .25% in lost revenue can a function be put into place to cross check manual efforts?
- Control Performance: There are things that banks are doing really well. How do we ensure that those great things get documented, standardized, and passed along to the next generation of employees? Controlling the performance is a large Six Sigma effort that preserves the consistency of the customer experience.
I will admit, that I was at first skeptical too about the adoption of Six Sigma into banking. However, this attempt to make “perfect experiences” a consistent reality in banking cannot be disregarded as it is a truly innovative way to change the financial services industry.