Operation issues at ING ING Insurance Asia Pacific (IAP), one of the top five foreign financial services provider in Asia Pacific show robustness financial results regardless the continuing declines in the global equity markets and the market volatility. Despite the good financial results, IAP is encountering operation issues internally. There is no alignment between regional headquarter and business units. Communications between regional office and business units are not efficient nor effective, it has been difficult to drive initiatives down and cross.
Operation-wise, there is no model or system is in-place to monitor and track the performance. Lack of standardization on the operation and evaluation process make the comparison and sharing of best practices between business units impossible. Cause of Issues The above issues are mainly stem from one single cause – the lack of a strategic operation model to bring the necessary level of alignment, business process integration and data standardization in the business units.
Added onto it is the organization reporting structure, local business / function manager reports to the county manager instead of the regional manager, which means regional office has no responsibility on the local business unit and make the structure further dis-integrate and decentralize. What complicate the picture more is the great variation in terms of business unit’s internal organizational characteristics and operating style. Some business unit is organized around product while some organized around solution provider.
There is no corporate – wide approach and when a local unit is successful, the potential benefits to other units are rarely explored. Thus, no synergy is exist. Operation Model is the Answer IAP is seem to function with many discrete units without the dots connecting each other and, and they are towards all the different directions that hardly bring any synergy across. To address the issue stated, IAP should develop and implement an appropriate operation model.
Starting from the top, a mission and vision statement should communicate across the whole company. IAP should help local business units to translate the corporate mission and vision into local goals and objectives. Clear understanding and embracing the mission and vision is the beginning of bringing alignment and creating synergy across. This brings the whole organization towards the same direction and create a platform for leverage. From Goal to Strategy
Local business goals and objectives should include financial targets as well as business activities targets. Once goals are established, situational and gap analysis is conduct, so as to devise strategies to close the gap and thereby achieving the goals. Strategic themes and initiatives should include not only the financial results but as well as business processes, technology platforms and incentive systems. For example, one of the possible mission for IAP can be “to be the market leader in financial service solutions for customers “.
Local goal and strategy translated is bundling relevant financial services as a total solution for key customers and market it effectively through channel expansion and increase geography coverage. Monitor, Track and Compare Once goals and strategies are established, implementation as well as the performance of the strategies themes can then be measured with a set of balance scorecards. The scorecards serve a number of important functions. First, the key performance indicators provide a means to quantify and measure.
Progress and performance can be tracked on a regular basis to avoid last minute fire fighting. Any off track issue can be discovered immediately and rectified. Secondly, the scorecard parameters create a performance for comparison across business units. It provides a standard across to get to know who is doing good and who is not. Benchmarking is possible, successful stories and best practices can be shared to make the business process more effective. Thirdly, an incentive system base of the key performance indicators can be established to motivate people across.
Alignment and Synergy The processes not only track and evaluate the business unit performance across, but it can be also down to individual level. Those strategic themes and goals should link to individual MBO, so that all employees in the whole organization is marching towards same common goal. This is very important because externally it creates synergy in the business environment, enabling competitive advantage against competition. Internally, it aligns business units with the regional office, making communication more effective.
Strategic initiatives can be drive across to create business value. Also, visibility increased and management can tack, measure and compare performance across. Improving organization structure To enable the operation model to be implement smoothly, it is suggested the local business manager to have dotted line report responsibility to the regional manager In this way, it create minimal organization change across but ensure smooth implementation of the strategic theme vertically and across.