Category: Smart Sourcing, Technology

How do You Support a Smart Sourcing Business Model?


Abstract-Business-Tools---WebThrough our smart sourcing series, you’ve learned about the people and techniques employed here at Boston Financial to uniquely prepare the workforce of tomorrow. I’m here to talk to you about the tools and technology that support this evolution without compromising the quality and security of the transactions we handle on behalf of our clients.

We’ve complimented our existing tools with a number of proprietary applications. I’d classify these into two categories: Processing Applications and Management Tools. Each add value in different ways and often draw the attention of differing roles within our clients’ organization. Before that we had some housekeeping that needed to be addressed.

To support a flexible work force of any size, you need to be able to get the right work to the right person at the right time. To do this in a group that spans 90+ clients with over a 110 unique business areas across multiple databases, it comes down to organized chaos. Although we have limited control of when the work arrives, we migrated to a consistent environment across all areas. This ensured that when the work arrives; it would be directed to the appropriate queue, with the appropriate priority, and delivered to appropriate resource.

Management Tools

The benefit of consistency in the workflow environment is the historical data gathered. This put us in a position to create a utility to better forecast volumes and staffing needs. This tool in conjunction with a flexible workforce put us in a position to staff to the volumes rather than staffing to peak or using overtime dollars to make up the shortage.

We’re also able to create tools providing us with a holistic view of the work in queue and centrally manage the work assignments for hundreds of associates using a small support staff of workflow coordinators. Removing the responsibility of the intraday workflow from the frontline management staff allowed them more time to coach, develop, and mentor their associates.

Managers gained the benefit of a consolidated central repository of quality and productivity reporting that is delivered to them on a consistent basis providing them with the information needed to develop their staff.

Processing Applications

Once we had a foundation, it was time to build the house. Boston Financial developed several tools that complement our desktop processing applications. These tools focused on improving the effectiveness of the quality inspection process while driving down the support costs. Historically, the inspection process relied on tenured staff with high levels of tacit knowledge. The sampling process had no assurance that high-risk transactions or those with defects would be inspected. We were able to solve this challenge with a trio of applications, affectionately called our three-legged stool.

Our Value Based Routing tool interrogates transaction attributes and/or rule conditions driving transactions to the inspection queue. Our Automated Experience Sampling process focuses the sampling of the remaining transactions on associates that have not maintained a first-time quality score within the average of the team. The utility leverages baseline experience level sampling functionality in DST’s AWD product suite. Each week, the application performs a historical review of each associates’ performance over the previous 90 days; systematically updating their experience level across all transactions they support.

Our Quality Work Station application is a combination of dual data entry and dynamic questions that walks a user through the information needed to determine whether the shareholder request matches the trade detail pending on the recordkeeping system. This tool has allowed us to drastically improve our out the door accuracy while providing us the ability to leverage an entry-level associate to effectively support the inspection process. In fact, this application is used in our new associate training program teaching the flexible work force the intricacies of interpreting shareholder requests.

In closing, our tools and technology compliment the greatest asset Boston Financial has to offer, its associates.

Stephen Mason

Stephen Mason

Stephen Mason is a Vice President at Boston Financial with responsibility for Core Operations within the Lawrence, KS facility. He is also responsible for the Change Control/Command Center support groups in the Midwest and East Coast Core Operation locations. He has over 20 years industry experience and began his career with Boston Financial in 1995. Stephen has held various positions within several groups in the East Coast locations. He and his family relocated to Lawrence, KS in 2008.

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