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Project FRESH

Project FRESH

  • 25 October 2019
  • By Choi Wye San
  • 5 mins read

Influencing businesses through processes

American entrepreneur Victor Kiam once said: “In business, the competition will bite you if you keep running; if you stand still, they will swallow you.” To stay in the forefront, constant transformation is key. This happens in big and small ways within OCBC, and when it comes to Process improvement, no one knows it like Group Operational Excellence. Here is the story of Project FRESH.

Project FRESH, which stands for Portfolio Financing Really Easy, Simple and Holistic, was launched in January 2018 to streamline and improve the customer engagement moments in portfolio financing application and utilisation processes to create a hassle-free experience for OCBC’s Premier Private Clients (PPC).

As a key product in growing PPC’s asset under management, the business was facing problems during the application process, including missing documents, forms or signatures. Project FRESH sought to increase efficiency, simplify processes, and deliver a smoother experience for both customers and employees. Group Operational Excellence stepped in as facilitator of this cross-functional project, roping in members from Global Consumer Financial Services, Group Risk Management, Group Operations & Technology, and Group Legal and Compliance in achieving this objective.

The team sought to address these objectives:

  • Reduce cycle time of application processing
  • Eliminate forms with a digital operating model for loan utilisation processes
  • Achieve 100% drawdown on valuation date
  • Improve productivity

How was this done?

The team made a major leap forward by collaborating with the Bank’s external service provider to shorten the loans safekeeping account opening process for our customers. Through the setting up of digitised smart forms, the team was able to reduce application documentation defects through phone and email-enabled processes. PPC Client Advisors now have access to a more user-centric Product Library which allows them to retrieve documents with fewer clicks and are equipped with a smart form generator which allows multiple forms to be generated concurrently. Basic information is now only entered once, for increased accuracy.

The results?

  • 56% reduction in the number of application forms and documents
  • 91% reduction in customer signatures required
  • 54% improvement in application turn-around-time
  • 48% productivity gain
  • Paperless loan utilisation processes
  • A multimillion-dollar potential improvement in annual margins

All it took was a core project team of eight!

With the sheer number of stakeholders involved given the varied marketable securities covered under Portfolio Financing, understanding and improving all the processes was not an easy task. For example, there were 6 process variants for pledging of collateral alone.

Any takeaways from the project?

We learned to prioritise which issues to tackle, first directing our energy to changes that could deliver maximum impact. It is only by differentiating between facts and assumptions, and careful validation of assumptions with various stakeholders, that we uncovered significant pockets of inefficiencies in the legacy processes.