Our client is a valued financial partner for thousands of individuals, businesses, farmers and ranchers, food and agribusiness companies, and other select institutions across the Americas. They are the bank of choice in many California communities, meeting the financial needs of local families, businesses, and organizations with great banking products and personalized service by friendly, knowledgeable bankers.
Reduce overall costs of doing business across the enterprise. Facets of those targeted costs included printing, equipment consumables, daily operational supplies, delivery services, printers, copiers, furniture, and signage.
Being print distribution specialists, our objective was to attack the issues the bank faced with regards to printed products and consumable products other than office and copier supplies. The targeted goal we had was to, at minimum, automate 80% of requests across the enterprise and consolidate the number of vendors the bank used for the products we could offer them. In doing so, we knew we’d be able to reduce the overall cost of goods by removing purchasing from the daily routine of request processing. This allowed Purchasing to manage the procedure instead of processing each order, and also reduced work for Accounting by streamlining invoicing and allocation of costs.
The client began with a print request for proposal (RFP) based on estimated usages that the bank possessed. The bank had acquired multiple banks over a three-year period, therefore no accurate usages were available for the RFP. Due to the mergers, there were form redundancies across the enterprise and there was no continuity in the order process as each bank still retained their respective processes and vendors.
Drew & Rogers was awarded the challenge of streamlining the workflow, reducing waste, eliminating redundancy, and reducing costs for the bank.
Our mission was to analyze the current processes and decide what mandatory information would be required for the bank to request goods for the branches and process the costs in a quick and efficient manner. The first step was to create a database of approved users that could order goods and assign them cost centers within our company store. There were multiple segments of users based on spending limits and approval rules. For this bank, cost centers were used for billing instead of credit cards, enabling them to receive a monthly invoice totaled by the cost center. Accounting was then able to apply one monthly cost to the respective cost center instead of having to process hundreds of individual invoices weekly.
The second step was deciding what goods would be offered in the company store. Being a community bank, there were existing vendors of the bank that were also clients. Those relationships needed to be preserved. We were able to develop a system that not only preserved the existing vendor relationships, but also allowed us to include their products in our company store. This again significantly reduced the workload for both Purchasing and Accounting.
The third step was to perform a forms management analysis on the existing forms that were used by the branches. This step may not be necessary in all institutions, but because of the acquisition of other banks, this was a major necessity that reduced costs dramatically. Many GL tickets, envelopes, and forms were either no longer needed or could be combined as a generic form and still provide the bank the information they needed.
Products that were analyzed for validity and presentation in the company store included: GL Tickets, coupons, envelopes, letterheads, business cards, labels, all checks, name badges, desk bars, ATM signage, ATM printer supplies, ATM roll paper, compliance signage, branch capture supplies, encoder supplies, deposit bags, coin trays, and office furniture.
With the user name and cost center databases, selection, and forms management analysis complete, we began programming the company store. This was accomplished in just four weeks for the initial launch.
Once launched, users were able to begin ordering products. To access the system, the user logs in through a link on the bank’s intranet site. When in our solution, the products are categorized by type, which allows for faster product identification and order processing. In addition, if the user knows the item number, they can also use the search function to locate it. If the item requires personalization, such as a business card or a Cash-In ticket, the user will select the item template, enter the data that is required, review a PDF proof, and then place the order. For items that are not personalized, the user simply selects the item and the quantity needed and places the order. Upon checkout, the user selects their shipping location and their cost center to bill the items and the order is submitted. The user receives an order confirmation by email and then a second notice once the order ships. At that time, the user can log on to the system and track their order if necessary.
Product and workflow changes on the solution are a common occurrence, although not because of the system, but because of new items or workflow challenges being added by the bank. These requests were more frequent in the first year as the bank realized the value and ease of the company store. After the first year, changes were minimal and mostly occured if an internal process changed, an item was no longer valid, or if a new item was required.
One such early request was to find a way to simplify the ordering of products for a new branch joining the enterprise. The traditional process for ordering a kit was to itemize what a new branch would need and then order each item. Before the company store was introduced, this was done from an Excel spreadsheet. After the company store was introduced it was done by ordering each item within the store. Although this saved time, it still took two to three hours per each new branch. When the bank presented Drew & Rogers with the challenge, we designed a New Branch Kit within our company store.
Under the New Branch Kit, the item is selected and the user is asked provide the necessary information as the order is processed in a tutuorial fashion. More than 80 items are currently ordered for each new branch and the process now takes the user less than 10 minutes. The last acquisition added more than 25 branches to the enterprise and all of those New Branch Kits were processed in just one day.
Earlier, we touched on how Accounting and Purchasing saw increased efficiency. Since we record the cost center on every order, we are able to provide a monthly invoice that saves Accounting and Purchasing a substantial amount of time. Invoices are created once each month via the reporting feature located in our company store. The spreadsheet report includes the order number, items ordered, quantities ordered, costs including freight and tax, cost center information, and the user who placed the order. This report is then sorted by cost center and with subtotals calculated at every change in cost center. This eliminated the necessity for accounting reviewing and allocating more than 1,000 orders per month. They simply apply the total cost to the appropriate cost center for that month, which is noted on the spreadsheet, and they are done.
The reporting feature also allows usage reports by user, cost center, item, and many other points of data. These reports can be rendered by managing users of the system on a 24-hour, real-time basis and help keep track of inventory and usage. This allows for proper inventory management and trends of what the branches are and aren’t using on a daily basis.
The bank was able to reduce the cost of their operational supplies by 30%. Major improvements in efficiency were realized in Purchasing as well, which allowed them to reduce their nine-person staff to a three-person staff. These savings and staff reductions were achieved while increasing the number of branches from 60 to more than 120.