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Lean management in the financial sector


Lower costs and additional revenue prove that modern efficiency programs that have long been standard in other industries are now having an effect in the financial sector as well.

The lean management project taken on by the service subsidiaries in Deutsche Bank's retail banking business and Roland Berger Strategy Consultants demonstrated that it involves more than just cost efficiency. The time saved can be utilized to boost productivity for acquiring new business or improving quality of existing business. The financial expenses that efficiency programs involve is fairly limited, at least if the improvement of processes does not require the purchase of costly IT solutions.

In the present case, around two-thirds of the identified productivity potential was achievable without any IT expenses at all. A large part of the savings can be summarized as "the art of leaving things out." Around 10% of the efficiency gain was achieved simply by dispensing with activities that were not really needed. Avoiding duplication and sending work back and forth achieved a further 10% of savings. Simplifying processes resulted in 25% of the total time saved and 10% came from standardizing processes within or across teams, while identifying best practices and transferring them from one site to another.

The remainder was due to workplace adjustments or the net effect of transferring tasks. Even though no employees were laid off, over 80% of the time saved had a direct, positive effect on the budget.

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