There’s no blue print for guaranteeing optimal performance in an operational service center. Business is far too complex and dynamic, especially in today’s financial services industry. Plus each firm has a unique mix of characteristics, conditions, and challenges.
One of the biggest challenges to achieving operational efficiency is unused or underutilized resources. Underutilized resources, whether it’s technological, infrastructure, or human, often results when variations in volume throw the alignment of work and resources out of whack. Anyone running a large operation with lots of full-time employees understands the value of effective capacity utilization.
Leveraging technology, employing flexible workforces, and using a focused approach to workforce planning have certainly assisted Boston Financial with this challenge. At Boston Financial, we refer to this approach as our smart sourcing model.
Smart sourcing at Boston Financial involves aligning the right resources with the right work and scheduling resources in line with work availability. The right resources include a mix of schedules and skill sets and the infrastructure, training, and technology to support them in these roles. Successfully executing on this strategy requires organizations to understand which activities and resources aligned together to create the most value.
From an infrastructure perspective, we employ multiple sites, targeting locations with stable and consistent workforces. This helps ensure strong risk management and effective business recovery. We coordinate work assignments as well as the prioritization of work through a central “hub” known as our Command Center. Our Command Center, an integral part of our infrastructure, helps ensure the right alignment of resources and work.
Along with infrastructure, technology plays a key role in our smart sourcing strategy. Customized tools with embedded controls support our approach to workforce management and oversight of our high volume and high complexity work environment. Technology also enhances our analytical capabilities, enabling us to gain better insight.
Our third and perhaps the most essential component in our smart sourcing strategy is people. Knowledgeable and supportive teams turn process efficiencies into service improvements. And having the optimal staffing model is key. At Boston Financial, we’ve experimented with various staffing models and have found that a hybrid model, encompassing a blend of people and schedules, best aligns with our environment.
Our hybrid model includes full-time, part-time, flexible, seasonal, and long-term contractual associates, as well as weekend and off-shift schedules. This approach allows us to be nimble and strengthens our ability to share available capacity across sites.
At Boston Financial, our smart sourcing model is an example of process, technology, and people coming together in a winning combination. We’ve found that by using resources in a new way, and leveraging the right systems and the right people with the work leads to efficient and high-performing operation centers.
Our associates benefit from jobs and schedules that meet their specific work preferences and targeted training that supports their role. Fund companies gain through a high-value approach that gives them the control to further differentiate their service offering and keep the focus on the customer experience.
I’ve only touched upon the components of our smart sourcing model. Managers and associates from our operational service centers and event center will dig deeper into the topic with a series on smart sourcing. Is there an opportunity to optimize operational performance at your firm? Join in our discussion and let us know.