Continuous Improvement Process for Financial Services

Continuous Improvement Process for Financial Services

Financial Services Continuous Improvement Process

A highly ranked mutual fund company engaged Daniel Penn Associates to design, develop and implement a Continuous Improvement Process (CIP) initiative within its retail operations area. Although specific objectives for the 1,500-person operation varied among each of the five affected divisions, the overall goals for the project were to:

  • Institute a framework for systematically identifying and implementing opportunities to enhance the quality and cost-effectiveness of customer services;
  • Streamline process flows to help ensure cost-effective and timely implementation of new technologies leading to a paperless operations environment;
  • Identify and begin implementing a significant number of short term quality and cost enhancement initiatives; and
  • Foster an infrastructure to maintain the momentum of change.

Our approach focused on providing day-to-day hands-on support using customized methods and training. The purpose was two-fold. First to model effective quality improvement behaviors so participants would see what CIP looks like, and second to lead the client’s staff via hands-on training through the CIP process so they would understand what successful change implementation feels like. We first worked with a small group of pilot participants, who then assumed leadership roles to direct their own project teams through the CIP efforts.

In this approach, we then focused all project teams on reviewing and re-engineering key transaction processes and their related policies, procedures, and systems to reduce costs and eliminate the occurrence of errors. Also, definitions of “quality” were reassessed to assure that measurement efforts and standards were in line with the desired customer service goals.


Over the course of 13 months, we worked with 26 self-directed teams that defined more than 400 implementation projects. In all, more than 100 employee teams worked on implementation projects.

Operational improvements identified and implemented by the CIP teams produced the following results:

  • 30% to 50% increase in productivity and reduced processing cycle time
  • Enhanced customer service with increased employee ownership of quality
  • Improved Application and use of existing and emerging technologies
  • Consolidated organizational units to reduce costs and enhance customer service
  • Increased employee skills flexibility through systematic cross-training
  • Reduced paperwork costs through elimination or reduction of forms and photocopying

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