CHERYL GROSS & ASSOCIATES
to the Financial Industry
36 Bromfield Street, Suite 306
Cheryl Gross, PMP, President
The New or Renewed Industry Buzz — Profitability and Growth
The halting economic recovery featuring tight margins, modest gains in the housing market, slow employment growth and volatile political rancor in Washington have caused all of us to rethink our strategy for profitability and growth. For most of us, the strategies remain the same, it’s the tactics that can and must change. When our clients ask for our thoughts on improving their margins, our answer is no different than it was five years ago. The keys are:
Let’s talk about tactics; no surprise here, we’re process people, so we’ll focus on process—let’s consider three ideas:
What’s in it for my Organization?
We’re all looking for ways to improve our margins. Sometimes the answer is as simple as improving processes. We’re sure that this has never happened in your organization, but we’ve seen occasions where process improvements that result in significant profitability and productivity gains are overlooked because the focus is on growth and asset and liability management to improve margin. Generally, process improvement opportunities are identified reactively as a result of
In our view, process improvement opportunities can be proactively identified utilizing process flow diagrams—process inefficiencies literally jump off the page when viewed as a picture. So, what’s in it for your organization?
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words —
The “How To”
Let’s look at process flow diagrams from a purely academic perspective. A process flow diagram is a drawing / picture of the discrete steps required to complete a task. The key characteristics are:
Again, you might be thinking, “this sounds interesting, but I can’t see us spending the time drawing out processes; after all, we have procedure manuals which contain the step-by-step instructions for completing tasks!” Let’s use an example to display the relevance of this tool.
Click here to see a 1st Mortgage Pre-approval process flow diagram. Many of you have told us that you are considering eliminating pre-approvals as a product offering because the conversion rate is low. Let’s analyze what the process flow tells us about the typical pre-approval process:
We’re not going to spend any more time analyzing this example—although we could—but we would like to use some “what if” scenarios.
Wow, that is a very powerful decision-making tool that enables you to prioritize process improvements and product innovation based on quantifiable measures.
Every Journey Begins with the First Step:
You might be thinking, “this sounds interesting, but I can’t see us spending the time drawing out processes—we just don’t have the time, manpower and/or expertise to complete this task.” Yes, we understand that you probably have 300–400 processes. Here comes that recurring theme—look at doing more with less, which we think can be done by leveraging other initiatives to accomplish the goal.
In our view, the easiest way to get started is by leveraging a current initiative. If your organization typically outsources projects, include the requirement in the project specifications. If you normally complete tasks internally, add them to the documentation requirements. OK, what’s the most logical fit?
Start small, especially if you are going to complete the task internally. We recommend a three step methodology:
Message from our President
The focus of this issue is utilizing Process Flow Diagrams as a tool for identifying, measuring and improving margin through productivity improvements.
As Senior Managers, our strategic focus is profitably growing the organization while making use of a Customer-centric approach. Generally, our focal point for improving margin is growth and asset and liability management. Often we can optimize our results by taking advantage of asset and liability management techniques in concert with process improvement tactics and methods.
In my view, process improvement opportunities can be proactively identified using process flow diagrams. When viewed as a picture, process inefficiencies literally jump off the page. Consider using the opportunities afforded by Dodd–Frank and Basel III to rethink all of your processes and improve your margin while you ensure compliance.I hope you’ve found this newsletter interesting and informative. Your comments are always welcome.
Cheryl Gross & Associates was founded in 1994; our goal is to partner with our clients to create economic value and sustainable productivity gains by providing outstanding project management expertise, leveraging internal resources and offering objective perspective. We create value by providing senior focus and organization to strategic, financially significant opportunities. We deliver challenging assignments that pay for themselves by being accelerated.
Our President, Cheryl Gross, is a financial services professional with over 25 years experience in retail banking, private banking, residential and consumer lending.
Ms. Gross has served in positions with Boston Five Cents Savings Bank, Boston Safe Deposit and Trust Company and Household International.
Ms. Gross holds a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Babson College, Wellesley, Massachusetts and a Bachelor of Science from St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York.
Ms. Gross is a PMI certified Project Management Professional.
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