Monday, May 25, 2009

Ameriprise Emphasizes Process Improvement

By Mark Brousseau

As the economic slowdown drags on, many operations are looking for ways to reduce expenses and improve productivity. Ameriprise Financial, Inc. is one such organization.

“We have had a long-term strategy of process improvement and innovation,” explained Juan Paz, director, Document and Payment Operations, Service Delivery New Business and Transaction Services, for Ameriprise Financial. “This has paid off big time for us during the economic slowdown. We have achieved new efficiencies, which have allowed us to decrease costs and significantly reduce staff through attrition.”

During the recession, Ameriprise has adjusted on-shore and off-shore staffing based on business volumes and process re-engineering, Paz noted, and it has instituted "heavy" cross-training to provide support across business units, and deploy staff on-demand.

Paz said that Ameriprise also has a strong performance management process with solid performance measurements. This has kept the organization’s productivity and quality high, and assisted in rewarding and retaining high performing staff members. “We have a strong value-based company with an ‘It begins with me’ attitude. We would not have been as successful without the commitment of our associates.”

Paz added that Ameriprise also makes a conscientious effort to invest in technology that will yield the highest payback for the investment. The organization typically looks for projects that will provide a six-month return on investment, he said. From a cultural standpoint, Ameriprise also places great emphasis on its employees having a customer service orientation.

“Together, these initiatives have made us very successful and allowed us to grow and mitigate risk, while keeping us profitable,” Paz said.

What is your organization doing to control operations expenses? Post your comments below.

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