This HR executive reflects on the quantitative and qualitative benefits of Gagnon Associates’ approach to Business Process Improvement:
Almost two years ago, now, we began working with Gagnon Associates to help us improve the effectiveness and efficiency of some of our key business processes here at Leominster Credit Union (LCU). Since this work is now coming to a close, I can testify to the success of the effort.
First, a few representative examples of the quantifiable results we’ve seen in the course of this business process improvement project:
- We reduced the time required to replace a Member’s lost/stolen Debit Card by over 40% – and in the most extreme cases – by over 60%. The Debit Card-related improvements worked so well that we have since applied them to all other card-related processes, thus leveraging even greater returns from this one effort;
- We improved the cycle-time to approve Equity Loans or Lines of Credit, on average, by over 30% and increased by 13% the number of Loans/Lines approved within that time;
- We streamlined and better integrated several, key internal file-maintenance procedures between our Branches and Deposit Operations, reducing the number of steps required of Branch personnel by 56%, thus freeing up front-line retail capacity in support of our CEO’s campaign to create a “sales culture” at LCU;
- And, in our most recent project, we actually beat our very aggressive stretch goal by reducing the front-line maintenance error rate by more than 50% in our most important, target product area, while as a result, also easing work-loads and significantly reducing “system stress” between Branch and back-office operations.
These are just a few of the tangible results achieved. There were many intangibles that came out of this process improvement work as well. And since these were just as much the reason this work was set in motion two years ago, I consider these qualitative results as valuable – perhaps even more valuable – than the results cited above.
Since this was a process that directly involved employees in helping us find better ways to do the work they are closest to every day, Gagnon Associates worked with and through problem-solving teams of LCU people. By definition, therefore, this work improved communications between departments and divisions. It increased employees’ knowledge, appreciation and understanding of the practices of other departments besides their own. As a result, this process broke down silos within the company, and improved teamwork and collaboration across the credit union. Just as importantly, perhaps, it has brought understanding among our people of how changes they make can impact other areas of the credit union and, based on this, how important it is to share information/policy/process changes across functions. In short, it has made us a more aware and better-functioning team as an organization.