Lean in a financial service context
Constantly changing market conditions puts greater demands on companies to focus more on customers and what actually adds value to them. Lean production has during the last decades had a great impact within the manufacturing industry, creating a whole new competitive advantage if mastered. Since Lean is derived from the Toyota production system (TPS), there are some implications when implementing Lean in the western world due to the cultural differences. Over the past decade Lean has due to success factor in manufacturing made its way into the service industry, hospitals, governmental agencies among many others, this puts even greater demands on the company implementing Lean. Service processes are not as visible processes and are there are more complex steps in producing a service. The end product is often delivered in a face–to–face interaction between customer and employee, there are certain limitations to how far one can be Lean without being mean in a service context. This thesis exclusively concerns the financial service sector in Sweden, financial services has a culture of individualism which contradicts what Lean advocates. In this sense Nordea is an interesting case due to their positive results since the introduction of Lean.
The purpose has been to examine how Nordea in Halland has adapted their organization to the Lean philosophy. Have there been any problem areas or difficulties? How has these problems been solved? More in detail how did Nordea introduce the Lean philosophy, how was the changes implemented, how does Nordea work with Lean today and what results does the employees feels that Nordea has achieved through to their work with Lean.
A case study as chosen as the research method for this thesis, the case is based on Nordea’s offices in Halland. The result of this thesis will describe what Lean is at Nordea, how it was introduced, implemented, the level on knowledge, motivation and satisfaction with Lean. To examine these aspects the researchers conducted a questionnaire that was handed out to employees at Nordea and several semi-structured interviews with managers, these responses created the empirical foundation for the research.
Throughout the survey the researchers could determine that managers and employees do not perceive Lean in Nordea in the same way. One strong factor throughout the interviews was that Lean in most aspects revolves around a Lean board present at every department of the offices. There are no continuous educations or training within Lean at Nordea today, initially during the introduction there were consultants educating each office. Today all education and training is up to the individual employee and there is not introducing Lean training for new employees, it is up to the manager or co-workers to train them.
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