Anyone who has applied for a mortgage loan knows what an incredibly painful process it can be, generating an average of 500 documents per application (most of which you’re hunting down from various files in your computer and filing cabinet while the clock on your fabulous interest rate ticks down to the final days).
On the lender side, that mound of paper scales out of control pretty quickly, too. Collecting, reviewing, filing and accessing all that paper creates a bloated process and a strain on legacy systems that can’t automate any of the workflow.
Union Bank, with offices in the United States and Japan, had already digitized their paper documents, but when it came to packaging and selling mortgage loans to investors in the secondary mortgage market, simply digitizing those huge paper files wasn’t enough. The secondary mortgage market is competitive, and banks must act quickly to get the best value for loan deals and realize revenue faster.
Union Bank had a contractor scanning documents into a separate repository from their enterprise content management system (ECM), which meant employees had to work between two systems to access information. We call this the “swivel chair” problem, when employees have to swivel between applications to trade information back and forth. Not only is swivel-chairing costly, time-consuming and mind-numbing, but the likelihood for errors is high—approximately 10 percent—when performing rote tasks.
When Union Bank considered the options for migrating those 800,000 document images into the ECM once and for all, they turned to Kofax Kapow™, a robotic process automation solution, to take a full inventory of the documents, extract data and metadata, clean and transform it according to business rules, and load the data into Union Bank’s ECM using automated workflows.
Once legacy files were in the ECM and newly-generated documents were on an automatic workflow, the bank deployed Kapow to accelerate the process of making loan documentation available in electronic format, reducing the turnaround time for digitization from 15 days to five days. The result? The teams can turn around investment packages faster, which results in a more rapid time to revenue, improved cash flow and the ability to react more quickly to changing market conditions.
Last week I shared two inspiring stories of companies who accomplished the first step of the Business Value Stairway, improving information visibility by digitizing information for better access and compliance.
But as Union Bank discovered once their paper was converted to digital, Step One is just the beginning. Going digital exposes additional inefficiencies and errors in manual processes that can be automated when taken to the next level: Step Two, Achieve Operational Excellence.
Step Two: Achieve Operational Excellence by Automating Processes
Operational processes like mortgage loans, medical admissions, insurance claims, citizen benefits and accounts payable that are historically manual, slow, error-prone and painful—for both organizations and their customers—are ideal candidates for streamlining through automation.
Automatically capturing, extracting and delivering data to the right business process from point of origin to closing eliminates the risks associated with manual processes, from high labor costs to costly errors. And the insights your organization can gain from monitoring the business at the process level helps foster continuous process improvement.
Get inspired: Another industry pioneer that accomplished the second step
Nearly any manual process can be automated with technology ranging from a simple copy-and-paste to a sophisticated machine that makes faster and more intelligent decisions than a human. The key is in automating with the goal of making an impact on the business, your employees and your customers.
Serving more than 10 million customers in Europe, KBC provides banking and insurance services to private clients and small and medium businesses. Processing more than 90,000 invoices with approximately 15,000 potential users was an expensive logistical nightmare with high mailing costs for paper invoices, lost mail, issues with fraud and no clarity throughout the accounts payable process. These issues were major pain points for KBC, their vendors and customers.
KBC undertook an AP automation project with Kofax Readsoft Process Director™ that eliminated most of the paper invoices and automated the digitization, coding and approval process and provided total visibility in the accounts payable process for the first time. Not only is KBC saving a considerable amount on postal charges, but they’re also meeting payment conditions faster and realizing additional profit from early-payment discounts.
Operational excellence like that achieved by KBC and Union Bank is excellent indeed. And once organizations have automated and tightened up their back office processes, the next natural step is in improving the customer experience, which we’ll explore in step three next week.