Our client was keen to understand what opportunities for improvement existed within key ‘back office’ processes that would support improved process efficiency and data quality.
The introduction of ‘lockdown’ measures just prior to the tax year end had forced a rapid change to internal processes which was putting pressure on ‘back office’ teams and resulted in significant challenges to operational efficiency. A programme of work was required that helped the organisation to identify and address these issues in a way that was sustainable and supported their ambitious corporate plan.
We worked with our client to design and deliver an improvement programme based on lean principles, employing a measurement-based approach that uses data in an accessible way to ensure team members understand how the processes are currently performing and helps them to identify opportunities for improvement.
Key to the success of this work was the inclusion of those team members who are involved on a day to day basis with delivering the ‘back office’ processes so that their knowledge, experience and ideas could shape the program of work.
An initial diagnostic was carried out, working with stakeholders ranging from the Senior Leadership Team to junior team members who work with the processes on a day to day basis. The findings from this diagnostic were used to design an innovative improvement programme based on the establishment of a Virtual Improvement Team that enabled this work to progress at pace during the challenging early days of ‘lockdown’.
This programme of work resulted not only in a 10-15% reduction in processing time and process standardisation but was instrumental in initiating an improvement culture within the team. In practice this means team members taking ownership for identifying and communicating their improvement ideas so that they can be tested and implemented in a structured way, using data to inform decision making.