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Lean Six Sigma for the Banking Sector


What is Lean Six Sigma (LSS)?

Lean & Six Sigma is continuous improvement methodologies that focus upon the elimination of waste
using "Lean" and the reduction of variation found within processes using "Six Sigma", whether they are manufacturing or transactional in nature.

Benefits from Deployment/Implementation of Lean Six Sigma Methodologies

The banking sector has found the benefits to be reduced cycle times, better cash management, reductions in complaints due to defects and overall customer satisfaction from improved performance.

Applicable DMAIC Methodology for Banking is as follows:


Customer satisfaction & loyalty are the deciding factor to bank employee's efforts to achieve higher profits. Lean Six Sigma projects involve defining objectives and opportunities in consultation with bank employees, as well as senior management. There may be an opportunity to improve, based on customers' feedback, complaints or escalation received at management level.


The measure phase requires to collect data regarding bank operations & processes followed by various departments in consultation with top management. This data is important and helps the team to understand the impact of the process on customer satisfaction & helps to follow RBI Guidelines. Interviews and feedback from employees and customers can be very useful in understanding stages where processes slow down. These could help to find solutions to problems caused under different situations. These processes can be marked for immediate changes or improvements through either BPR or Process Restructuring.


The analyze phase entails making an in-depth study of data that has been measured. The data collected helps teams understand the aspects affecting both internal & external customers of the banks & shows the actual performance of the branch or department at any point of time during the financial year. Steps that are time-consuming and need reconsideration or rearrangement are identified and sent for approval. Adoption of New technology to reduce the same.


This phase involves undertaking actual changes and improvement in the process in consultation with staff. These measures are taken based on the data collected according to the guidelines from top management. Before the changes are finally made, tests are undertaken to ensure that any changes do not affect customers adversely for any reason. A pilot project may be run for testing of results


There has to be some control mechanism to ensure that the changes made achieve results as expected. If the changes do not bear results, then they need to be reconsidered. To ensure processes do not have drawbacks leading to errors, some measures, such as mistake proofing of the process can be taken, using electronic applications. This ensures that the data entered or provided are correct in the first place. If awareness is created among customers about the provision of correct data, then every time they approach the bank, it makes it simpler to provide faster service. There could be areas or processes that may have needed customer contact too many times, leading to customer dissatisfaction.

Lean Six Sigma tools and techniques can help eliminate overlapping processes - and in turn, prove easier and beneficial to the customer. Faster processing and reduced cycle times can help banks to provide best services to their customers, which in turn means good profits

Common lean Six Sigma projects identified in Finance and Banking are listed below:

  • Improving customer feedback and response processes.
  • Reducing documentation errors & improving accuracy.
  • Improving the reconciliation processes.
  • Reducing response delays.
  • Reducing or eliminating invoicing errors.
  • Eliminating the possibility of erroneous data entry.
  • Reducing audit non conformities.
  • Reducing Turnaround Time (TAT) for various processes.
  • Reduction of waiting & service time.
  • Reduce electronic financial transaction costs.
  • Reducing complaints by (First Time Resolution) for complaints/queries.
  • Enhancing (internal or external) customer satisfaction. 
  • Improved customer experience for Net Banking, Mobile Banking & Phone banking.
  • Increased business in terms of new customers.
  • Reducing the cycle time to Process a Loan Application (both Mortgage & Personal loans).

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