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Challenging Branch Staffing Preconceptions

February 13, 2013

A Teller Management SystemTM Case Study

When the $1 billion Massachusetts Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union first learned of the potential savings behind a more finely tuned staffing approach, they found the size of the savings hard to believe.  Sure, like many of their peers, they thought perhaps at times they may have been slightly overstaffed on their teller line, but surmised their staffing levels to be more or less at a proper level.  However, after nearly a full year of using FMSI’s Teller Management SystemTM (TMS), Jeanne D’Arc and its six full service branch locations became true believers in the system after achieving a 28% improvement in their teller line productivity and an 18% reduction in their labor cost per transaction—translating into roughly $160,000 in annualized savings.

Trusting the System

When initially looking into a workforce optimization system, Jeanne D’Arc simply wanted to verify they were getting the most out of their internal process.  They knew at times they may have been heavily staffed, but believed they took the appropriate step, through a best guess internal approach, to help curb any significant inefficiencies.

“As part of our due-diligence process to reduce expenses, we decided to take a closer look at our teller line staffing,” says Scott Flagg, SVP and Chief Member Service Officer at Jeanne D’Arc.  “The primary goal was to review our current staffing model and make sure we were doing it properly.  The evaluation process with FMSI showed us that we could make shifts in our schedules, through a more systematic approach, that significantly reduced the amount of time our tellers were waiting for members.”

At times the new staffing model was counter intuitive, which was challenging for some to believe.  Through perseverance and strong leadership, Jeanne D’Arc pushed forward with the scheduling and reporting system, in turn, helping them carefully track transactions per hour (TPH) amongst other key metrics.  Since rolling out TMS, they have increased their institution-wide TPH from 15.9 in February of 2011 to 20.3 in November of 2012, which over time resulted in the reduction, through attrition, of approximately 4.5 full-time employees.

Using a Centralized Scheduling Process, Supplemented with the FMSI Solution

Every month a centralized scheduler prepares the schedules for each of the Jeanne D’Arc’s six full branch service locations.  They have a multi-step process to implement schedules every month.  The first step involves Kate Dame, VP of Branch Administration at Jeanne D’Arc.  She utilizes FMSI’s system to better align their staff with forecasted account holder traffic patterns.  After she prepares the schedules, the schedules are distributed to each of the Branch Managers to implement.  The Branch Managers then have the opportunity to give any feedback on their particular schedule.  Subsequent to the final adjustments at the branch level, the schedule is reviewed with the staff by each Branch Manager.

“Our centralized system combined with the power of FMSI’s Teller Management SystemTM really puts us in a position to closely track and adjust our schedules, with the involvement of our Branch Managers, to get the greatest return on our staffing investment,” says Flagg.  “Each step in the process is critical, especially getting the buy-in at the branch level.”

Best Practices from the SVP and Chief Member Service Officer at Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union

  • You must trust the numbers.  The system will challenge some of your preconceptions about staffing.  Closely follow the system’s recommendations and you will see the results.
  • Closely monitor the FMSI monthly comparative data list.  It is hugely important, because it keeps us motivated to outperform other similar institutions.
  • Post the FMSI key performance indicators at each branch for the employees to see.  This helps keep the initiative top of mind and sustains accountability amongst the front-line staff.

Jeanne D’ Arc Credit Union is constantly looking for better tools and processes to make them stronger for its members and stakeholders.  Implementing a new system and trusting in its ability has really paid off for the Massachusetts financial institutions.  In less than two years on the program, the FMSI Teller Management SystemTM has led them to an 18% reduction in labor cost per transaction, or approximately $160,000 annualized.

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