Alacer Group Offers White Papers on Lean and Design for Six Sigma as Tools for Meeting Banking Challenges

Free white papers based on real-life customer scenarios 

Bellevue, WA – August 1, 2013 – The Alacer Group, dedicated to helping business leaders accelerate performance, quality, productivity and profitability, today posted two free white papers that explore using Lean and Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) as tools for meeting several of today’s most pressing problems within the financial services industry.

In “Design for Six Sigma Drives Increased Revenues for Financial Service Firms,” author Richard Paxton shows how DFSS tools can significantly improve a financial organization’s processes, ranging from how to address a costly Suspicious Activity Report backlog to revamping a mortgage approval process.  A second paper, “Solving Financial Services Compliance Challenges with Lean Six Sigma,” takes a closer look at a methodology that can help organizations reduce costs and inefficiencies by identifying and eliminating wasteful steps.

Paxton is Alacer’s senior managing partner and CEO and is the practice principal for financial services.  He has helped organizations achieve close to $2 billion in cost benefit and revenue generation. Both papers draw on projects his team has recently completed for top tier banking institutions.

These and other white papers can be freely accessed by visiting http://www.alacergroup.com/white-papers-directory/

About The Alacer Group

Headquartered in Bellevue, WA, with offices in New York and Dallas, The Alacer Group is a business consulting firm focused on four practice areas: big data, technology, finance and healthcare. Offering expert consultants around the globe, Alacer works with companies to resolve their needs quickly and smartly, resulting in positive outcomes.  For more information, please visit the website at www.alacergroup.com or find us on LinkedIn.

Media Contact:

Rachel Berry

VOXUS, Inc.

253-444-5441

rberry@voxuspr.com

Alacer_WhitePapers release

Alacer Group to Discuss Hoshin Kanri Best Practices at Microsoft

Richard Paxton to lead lunch-and-learn session for Microsoft QBE staff

 Bellevue, WA – June 4, 2013 – The Alacer Group, dedicated to helping business leaders accelerate performance, quality, productivity and profitability, today announced that CEO Richard Paxton will discuss Hoshin Kanri best practices at a lunch-and-learn session for Microsoft’s Quality Business Engineering (QBE) staff on Wednesday, June 5 at 11:30 a.m. on the Redmond (WA) campus.

Developed by the Japanese in the 1950s, hoshin kanri is a strategic planning and management methodology that taps the collective power of a group to create corporate excellence.

“Lean management principles and continuous process improvements work in any industry, including software development,” Paxton explained.  “Hoshin kanri is one of the most powerful tools available for helping organizations better foster teamwork and for the creation of breakthrough innovations.”

About The Alacer Group

Headquartered in Bellevue, WA, with offices in New York and Dallas, The Alacer Group is a business consulting firm focused on four practice areas: big data, technology, finance and healthcare. Offering expert consultants around the globe, Alacer works with companies to resolve their needs quickly and smartly, resulting in positive outcomes.  For more information, please visit the website at www.alacergroup.com or find us on LinkedIn.

Alacer Group Discusses Lean Management Principles in the Healthcare Setting at University of Washington

Richard Paxton and Ed Sarausad to lead upcoming seminar at the Eastside Leadership Center

Bellevue, WA – March 25, 2013 – The Alacer Group, dedicated to helping business leaders accelerate performance, quality, productivity and profitability, today announced that two of its senior managing partners will present a seminar on utilizing Lean management principles in the healthcare setting.  Richard Paxton and Ed Sarausad will offer “Insight into Lean Healthcare,” an exploration of how healthcare organizations can eliminate broken processes while boosting patient care and profits, at the University of Washington Bothell’s Eastside Leadership Center in Bellevue, WA on Saturday, April 20 at 9 a.m.

“Lean management principles have been used effectively within the manufacturing industry for decades,” Paxton explained.  “These same principles can be successfully applied to improve the delivery of healthcare.  As examples, we’ve successfully used Lean principles to solve a range of healthcare issues, from one multi-campus healthcare system’s need to achieve Joint Commission re-accreditation to stopping revenue losses due to inefficient operating room procedures at a Level One trauma hospital.”

For more information on the seminar, please contact the University of Washington Bothell’s Eastside Leadership Center at 425-352-3608.

About The Alacer Group

Headquartered in Bellevue, WA, with offices in New York and Dallas, The Alacer Group is a business consulting firm focused on four practice areas: big data, technology, finance and healthcare. Offering expert consultants around the globe, Alacer works with companies to resolve their needs quickly and smartly, resulting in positive outcomes.  For more information, please visit the website at www.alacergroup.com or find us on LinkedIn.

Media Contact:  Rachel Berry

VOXUS, Inc.

253-444-5441

rberry@voxuspr.com

Proactively Adopting AML Best Practices

Most financial institutions have the same issue — the AML department has more work than it does resources. How does a bank solve this?

Financial institutions often adopt Anti Money Laundering (AML) best practices as an afterthought, usually in response to significant fines. But there are sound fiscal reasons why banks should be proactively establishing processes that can identify more efficient ways to conduct AML reviews before they are needed to comply with regulatory examinations. So why don’t they?

Most financial institutions have the same issue — the AML department has more work than it does resources. This is partially due to growth, but is highly correlated with the level of detail now part of regulatory reviews and the significant fines being levied on organizations that do not fully comply. These factors are the catalyst for maximizing both the efficiency and effectiveness of AML reviews, as well as upstream and downstream processes. By addressing these inefficiencies head on, financial institutions have been able to optimize their processes, which in turn have enabled them to increase capacity to handle incremental volume without materially increasing expenses.

To deliver this type of change requires cross-functional support as well as a proven approach to continuous improvement such as the Lean Kaizen method. Lean is a methodology that eliminates waste and boosts efficiency; Kaizen refers to continuous improvement. By applying Lean Kaizen tools and engaging the appropriate AML/compliance/business stakeholders, almost any AML process can be dramatically improved.

To be successful, key stakeholders must come together, baseline performance data, and document the current state process. During the Lean Kaizen session, defects and non-valued activities, or waste, are identified. And since all of the key stakeholders are in the room, process improvements can be brainstormed, and a future state or ‘to be’ process documented. Kaizens are a key tool in accelerating the pace of change. In one recent Lean Kaizen event, a global financial institution found that approximately 35 percent of the steps in the AML investigation process added no value. The steps were in place due to historical norms and the fact that the processes had not been updated or revisited despite a series of acquisition integrations, system changes and dramatic growth of the organization. By identifying the steps that did not add value, obtaining the requisite approval and updating the process (including procedures, manuals, etc.), the end-to-end process became 44 percent more efficient. This led to a commensurate reduction of cycle time and increased capacity to handle growth without adding new headcount.

In another real world example involving a large financial institution, the mood was optimistic in the kick off meeting, but the situation was daunting:

— There were backlogs in many areas

— Metrics were not clearly established and agreed to within the organization

— There were dozens of internal audit and regulatory findings which needed to be addressed

— Many of the AML processes and systems were not optimized

Despite these challenges, the team established a plan to tackle each of the core issues it was facing and set up a resource plan and operating rhythm to chart progress versus goals.

The first step was to identify metrics with Green/Yellow/Red definitions for each of the key processes within the AML department. The team then established a consistent process that facilitated weekly reporting in a standard, structured format. This enabled AML managers to provide their executives with weekly status updates on a consistent and timely basis. Within 6-8 weeks, each manager was reporting his or her metrics consistently and armed with data to intelligently and confidently speak to the performance of their processes. And, even if they were in Red or Yellow status, they could now more accurately communicate the data and develop a credible remediation plan.

The next step was to establish staffing models based on several months of historical data. This made annual resource planning much more effective and the managers who could ‘talk to their numbers’ became more successful in receiving approval for their resource requests.

Finally, process efficiency and productivity reviews for each critical AML function were performed. The goal was to streamline the processes as much as possible and make them easier – with fewer bottlenecks, fewer steps and insuring that the control points were in place where they needed to be. One year later, the organization was operating within their targets, had much greater control over their processes and had achieved a level of stability which increased the regulator’s and senior management’s confidence in growing the business.

All financial institutions should proactively evaluate each pillar of their AML programs. Waiting for internal audit or the regulators to do this during their examination can be even more time consuming and costly than performing this review before they arrive. Being able to articulate the pillars of your AML program is essential and it is helpful to be able to identify the improvements you are making to each pillar along with the rationale. Having this in place can lead to a more proactive discussion with auditors and regulators.

Granted, the AML function is complex, but when you really break it down, AML is a series of processes. Despite their complexity, AML processes can be analyzed and improved using Lean, Kaizen, Six Sigma and other process improvement and reengineering tools that can greatly improve their effectiveness and efficiency.

Proactively Adopting AML Best Practices at Bank Systems & Technology
March 15, 2012

Alacer’s Joe Veckerelli to attend AML Conference

Joe Veckerelli, Senior Manager with the Alacer Group, will be attending the 18th annual ACAMS AML and Financial Crimes conference in Hollywood, FL from March 18-20.  Joe leads Alacer’s AML practice and has been helping institutions of all sizes solve their AML issues and improve their processes for more sustainable performance.  If you would like to learn more about the Alacer Group or our AML Consulting services, please contact Joe at joe@alacergroup.com or 704-576-7719.

 

Anti-money laundering experts Gorsline and Davidson added as consultants

New additions strengthen Alacer’s team to meet increased industry demand and focus on AML best practices.

Bellevue, WA – February 20, 2013 – The Alacer Group, dedicated to helping business leaders accelerate performance, quality, productivity and profitability, today announced the expansion of its Anti-Money Laundering (AML) team to meet the financial sector’s increased need for services and solutions. Joining the firm are industry veterans Steven Gorsline, most recently the vice president, BSA/AML compliance for JP Morgan Chase, and Nyron Davidson, former director, head of AML and sanctions compliance for TD Ameritrade Corporation. Together, Gorsline and Davidson bring decades of deep financial experience to Alacer and its clients.

 “It’s a major challenge for banking compliance officers to stay current with global regulatory changes within anti-money laundering functions, creating a surge in demand for AML experts,” said Richard Paxton, CEO, The Alacer Group.  “By adding Steve and Nyron to our growing team of consultants, we bring an even greater understanding of AML and potential solutions to the table – whether it’s through the application of Lean, Kaizen, Six Sigma or other process improvements – translating to fewer regulatory fines for our clients.”

In addition to his stint at JP Morgan Chase, Gorsline is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and has held similar positions with Clockwork Management, Inc. and Moss Adams, LLP.  He is a graduate of California State Polytechnic University with a degree in mechanical engineering, and holds a Total Quality Management (TQM) certificate through the MBA program at the University of Southern California/California State Northridge.  He is a noted conference speaker, facilitator and trainer on issues including ISO 9000 implementation, Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing, Kaizen and business rules/business logic.

Prior to joining TD Ameritrade Corporation, Davidson served as a director of AML and corporate compliance with The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation, economic crimes advisor with the US Department of the Treasury, financial sector advisor with the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force, Caribbean Anti-Money Laundering Program (CFATF/CALP), BSA/AML risk specialist with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and field auditor with the Bank of Boston.  He earned an MBA in accounting and finance from the University of Massachusetts and an undergraduate degree from Northeastern University, as well as professional certifications such as Certified Risk Professional (CRP), Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Certified Internal Controls Auditor (CICA), and Certified Anti-Money Laundering Professional (AMLP).  He instructed on risk management, banking and finance, money laundering, terrorist financing, sanctions and audit and internal controls at law enforcement academies and banking associations throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.

Addressing AML with Alacer:

In many financial institutions, the AML department is struggling due to increased regulatory reviews and the corresponding organizational fines levied for non-compliance.  These factors are catalysts for working with The Alacer Group to address any inefficiencies head on, optimizing processes that enable increased capacity for handling incremental volume without materially increasing expenses.

About The Alacer Group:

Headquartered in Bellevue, WA, with offices in New York and Dallas, The Alacer Group is a business consulting firm focused on four practice areas: big data, technology, finance and healthcare. Offering expert consultants around the globe, Alacer works with companies to resolve their needs quickly and smartly, resulting in positive outcomes.  For more information, please visit the website at www.alacergroup.com or find us on LinkedIn.

New look, new capabilities

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The Alacer Group is stretching, growing, multi-tasking. Whether it’s creating a new solution to manage big data, discovering the best way for retailers to incorporate mobile device marketing or uncovering new revenue streams for health care organizations, our experts are behind the scenes of cutting-edge business breakthroughs and the development of industry-leading standards and practices. Our new, streamlined graphic identity and website now reflect this excitement and the dynamic forward movement we’re delivering to clients each and every day, around the globe.







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