Finance File Management Case Study: A Whirlwind File Conversion
One Florida financial institution that, like many publicly held corporations, is highly impacted by government regulation. Compliance is essential, particularly with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act; recent legislation passed in response to the unethical and illegal practices of companies like Arthur Andersen. Taking a hard look at their internal operations, this bank’s goal was to minimize the risk associated with non-compliance, and become more aggressive and profitable in their highly competitive industry. Improving their filing system was key to achieving that goal.
What they needed was a more efficient set of file management policies and procedures, combined with a new filing structure that would improve their ability to store and locate files quickly. Company-wide operations were coordinated from their main office, where files were received from various branches and stored in their central file room. The first step toward improving the level of efficiency would require a complete conversion of that central file facility. Next, a Policies and Procedures Manual would need to be produced and strictly followed by all branches and business units, to ensure that all files arriving at the main office were standardized and compatible with the new filing system.
This two-step strategy would allow them to better demonstrate compliance, more effectively manage risk, reduce response time to investors, and make faster and better informed decisions regarding new business opportunities. To turn this file management strategy into a solution, the partner the bank turned to was Jeter Systems.
The process of revamping any internal business system, especially one as core as records management, is a daunting prospect for any organization. Cost and keeping the disruption of daily operations at a minimum were paramount concerns, as they considered whether to outsource the work or use internal resources for this critical project. Jeter had three things going for it.
First: This bank had been a satisfied Jeter customer for several years. Second: Jeters software was already in use at their operations, though it was well under-utilized due to staff turnover. Third: Jeter had recently hired someone to lead the filing improvement process; an expert with seasoned financial and records management experience. Their Jeter sales representative had maintained a long-standing working relationship with this key influencer.
One of the first projects undertaken was to better equip and provide additional training to the records management staff. Thats when the bank first called upon Jeter to survey the situation and create a proposal to present to the banks executive team. Jeter offered the expertise and full compliment of resources necessary to limit disruption to daily operations and meet the companys goals cost effectively.
Jeter put together a team of Professional Services experts. A thorough survey was conducted, detailing the banks current equipment, system capacity and file folder characteristics. Based on that survey, a work flow plan was drafted, which provided analysis of the current situation and recommendations for improvements to both paper and electronic file management. Costs, along with everyones roles and responsibilities were clearly defined and a three-phase schedule, sensitive to their business cycle, was outlined, approved and diligently followed.
The company was under-utilizing an existing Jeter system. Implementing upgrades and enhancements eliminated the need to purchase an entirely new system. The bank especially appreciated saving that kind of time and money. Customized color-coded, bar-coded labels attached to convert-a-tabs, utilizing a Terminal Digit sorting system, made it easier to flag misfiles and speed the recognition of file titles for retrieval. The Jeter team, of course, provided all the training resources necessary to bring everyone up to speed quickly.
It was a whirlwind project, in more ways than one. Time and space restraints required Jeter to provide multiple project managers to oversee the many conversion tasks that had to be performed in condensed odd-hour shifts to minimize impact to the clients daily work flow. All project requirements, standards and expectations had been clearly defined from the beginning, with outcomes measured and validated throughout the process. Every client goal was met with great satisfaction.
There was only one factor the Jeter team had not planned for but managed without any problem. Did we mention that it was all performed during one of the worst hurricane seasons in Florida history? The Jeter team attitude, as always, was simply well do whatever it takes to get the job done, and in this particular case—come hell or high water!