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Banks apeing manufacturers to cut costs and boost growth

12 June 2006  |  4355 views  |  0 keyboard

Banking institutions around the world are increasingly borrowing techniques from the manufacturing sector in an effort to simplify internal operations and at the same time differentiate themselves from their competitors, according to a survey from Accenture.

The management consultancy has coined the phrase 'industrialisation' to describe the techniques adopted by banks in a global push to simultaneously cut costs and boost growth.

The concept is inspired by parallels between the banking and manufacturing industries where standardised operating platforms are used to reduce cost and complexity – while at the same time providing product components that can be tailored to the needs of different customer segments.

Accenture surveyed 107 of the world's top 1000 banks, including half of the leading 100 institutions for the research, which found that one-in-three respondents expect to cut 10% off their cost base by removing silos and simplifying internal processes. At the same time, a majority (51%) of senior executives at major banks in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific are projecting revenue gains of 10% or more from efforts to increase marketplace differentiation.

Trevor Gruzin, managing director of Accenture’s banking practice in North America and Asia-Pacific, says: "This has been a quiet revolution. We are working with more than 50 banks on industrialisation engagements and believe we’re at a tipping point. For the last decade, most bankers would admit they alternated between cost-cutting or growth strategies – but almost never simultaneously as they can do now."

Ninety-four percent of respondents said they are already investing to improve differentiation, while 92% reported execution initiatives and 87% cited simplification projects.

Noel Gordon, managing director Accenture’s banking practice in Europe, Middle East and Africa, comments: "We were a bit surprised by the depth and breadth of the take-up of industrialisation. With little fanfare, many bankers have come to believe that to beat the competition they needed a new map and a different way of looking at it."

However, bankers surveyed are executing a broad array of projects, indicating no consensus approach to achieve their goals.

As examples of common industrialisation projects underway at large banks, the consultancy cites efforts to create a single credit risk platform to operate across multiple products and the consolidation of retail and wholesale payments systems.

The research chimes with a recent study by Capco and the London Business School which found financial services firms increasingly going down the same offshoring and outsourcing route pioneered by the manufacturing industry, which has systematically broken down the supply chain and adopted a global sourcing model.

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