Lean And The Financial Services Industry


Competitive Advantage Through Business Process Transformation

In this Blog… we look at the impact that Lean Six Sigma can have across the financial services industry.

At Acclino we understand that Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma (LSS) have a long history dating back to the 1990’s in the financial services sector.

You could say we have learned a lot from our exposure to these transformations – and put this knowledge and capability to good use in developing the Acclino approach.

Business transformation in this sector is driven by a range of factors including regulatory compliance, more responsive customer service, efficient and stable IT implementations and the needs for efficiency and competitiveness across all areas of operation – to name a few.

While some implementations have addressed strategic and operational imperatives through large-scale interventions, other applications, especially using the LSS methodologies, focus more intently on specific processes that are best addressed as smaller, closely targeted LSS implementations.

Not sure about LSS and your business?


LSS can handle transformations of any scale! Financial services sector organisations are no exception.

There are many examples of LSS transformations across this sector – and from very large to very small financial services businesses and from very large to small-scale projects These include:

Bank acquisitions

Large-scale mergers of banks and their systems.
IT systems integration– For example, integration of merging banks’ credit card portfolios onto a single IT platform.

Improved internal systems

Redesigned systems to reduce errors, improve cycle-time, eliminate waste and generate savings of around 500% on the project cost of implementation.

Strategy execution and culture transformation

Directing core business in a new direction, changing the management model, major business process redesign, implementing a customer focused and continuous improvement culture.

Improving the performance of underperforming business units

Process mapping and activity-based costing and data partitioning projects that produce 200-300% net income increases and ongoing commitment to continuous improvement.

Improved service responsiveness

Identifying and addressing the complex causes of delayed service responsiveness to reduce waiting time and improve task completion rates to required standards.

Sound good to you? Want more?

OK… What about reduced waste and improved efficiency in your operations? Consider these examples:

Reduce delays

Customers hate waiting… reduce waiting for services, for paperwork, and in queues. Reducing delays is a good start in retaining customers.

Avoiding duplication

Reduce or eliminate data re-entry, duplicated application details, copying information across apps…
Eliminate unnecessary movement: Create a one-stop or one-queue, customer experience. Maybe they will stay with you afterall!

Avoid confusion

Staff and customers are not excited about inefficient systems that require extra clarification, produce confusion over products or services and waste their time finding information.Correct/up dated product or service information needs to be easily available.

Lost opportunities

Maybe your organisation isn’t guilty – but then again…? If your employees don’t establish rapport, ignore customers, present as unfriendly, or are just plain rude… Well, maybe you should call Acclino now!


To start – we understand that:

  • Companies looking to implement an LSS project typically have goals of improved quality of products and services, generating customer loyalty, and controlling costs.
  • Improved business processes are a key driver in achieving these out comes and achieving or maintaining a competitive advantage.
  • LSS has been embraced by the financial services industry regardless of company size or location to drive continuous improvement in the quality of business processes and build a constant competitive challenge.
  • Emerging new technologies and regulations, fast changing customer requirements, and emerging supplier networks are just a few examples why companies have to dynamically adapt their processes and even business models using LSS.






But also we understand that the real drivers for success in your financial services oorganisation are likely to include:

  • Senior management initiation and/or strong support for each LSS implementation
  • An existing company culture of continuous improvement
  • Process thinking at management levels
  • LSS project end-to-end process improvement thinking
  • Stakeholder engagement – buy-in
  • Engagement of experienced, proactive, convincing, and empathetic LSS specialists
  • Sufficiency of IT support capacities
  • Focus on outputs at each phase of an LSS project
  • Efficiency of implementation and prioritization of LSS tasks
  • Embedded application of the LSS methodology


This is THE question! So let’s get started…

Take the first step

No one knows your business like you do… Management and employees hold the keys to the future if their knowledge, experience, and commitment is fully harnessed to make effective decisions… and to implement them.
Of course, external expertise will be important to help structure and drive the process… but capturing the internal capacity is a key element in a successful transformation. This allows for a focus on achievable outcomes with a significant payoff for company success. And helps build and engaged, empowered and enabled workforce. These are great dynamics in any organisation with competitive, regulatory and system challenges at every turn.

Use tried and tested process transformations that work in the industry

LSS has the runs on the board!

For example, at Acclino, we have distilled the essence of Lean, Six Sigma, and Project Management into one framework and a handful of simple to use tools. The Acclino framework works well in the financial services industry!!

Consider what is right for you – Small steps V large transformations

Each is appropriate under certain circumstances.
At Acclino we are finding that the small-step approach fits well with our financial services clients. When it is strategically focused on achievable outcomes, in key areas driving company success, it is less disruptive of business operations, it can be structured to win employee engagement… and it has proven to be a real winner!

In either case, process transformation and cost optimisation are key factors for driving competitiveness.

Want to know more? Read what Pat Sage: Vice President – Transfer Agency at IFDS State Street had to say here http://www.acclino.com/clients/pat-sage/


Want to know more? Here is what Pat Sage: Vice President – Transfer Agency at IFDS State Street had to say: “We engaged Acclino to help further establish our internal Lean Programme and specifically to inculcate Lean Thinking into our Transfer Agency operation in the IFSC, Dublin. At the time, we were looking for ways to streamline and improve transactional processes whilst maintaining our client centric ethos and approach.

Our first process transformation was a tremendous success with a significant reduction in the number of process steps required. The new process was faster, more robust, reduced risk and maintained our client-centric approach.

From the outset, the Acclino approach put a lot of focus on simplicity of application, engagement of the team and securing buy-in from key stakeholder groups. Building trust and co-ownership of the initiative was vital and is a fundamental component of the Acclino model. I have no hesitation in recommending the Acclino framework and methodology”.


We know that a successful Lean transformation requires, as a starting point:

A Framework

The Acclino Transformation Framework can be applied with consistent success in any process transformation in any organisation, at any level, in aviation.

A Methodology

Our framework and our methodology are simple to understand, learn and apply.


Just a hand full of easy to use tools will guide you to achieve outstanding results… with no more brown paper rolls or post-it stickers… no formulae and no transformation jargon.

So Acclino make it simple and keep it simple to understand and apply, fully engage your people, deliver outstanding results with no jargon, no exams, no pain, no excuses.


For more information on the application of Lean and Lean training for your company, please get in touch via damian@acclino.com or roisin@acclino.com

Acclino make it simple, keep it simple and work with you for the results you need.

State Street Bank
Aer Lingus
Kingston Hospital NHS
ASC Global Recruitment
International Financial Data Services