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Banking, like other service industries, has many customer touch points so wastes truly impact effectiveness as much as they impact efficiency.

As a simple example, when customers are attempting to open accounts the actual work that goes into making that happen amounts to minutes, but customers often experience days of delay “waiting for checks to clear.” Banking and other financial services are tasked with balancing customer convenience with protection from fraud. In order to walk that fine line, it’s important to identify the 8 Wastes and then determine how much of each waste can be removed from the process without putting the customer at risk:

  • Defects: Wrong or missing information on applications (i.e. lack of voided checks)
  • Overproduction: Sending more marketing collateral to customers than they want or need
  • Waiting: Time spent waiting for to Operations to process applications
  • Non-Utilized Talent: Tellers having to get approvals from Supervisors when the answer is always “yes”
  • Transportation: Moving account applications between departments
  • Inventory: The buildup of account applications waiting to be entered
  • Motion: Clicking between applications especially with legacy software programs
  • Extra-Processing: Fields for information or signatures on forms that are no-longer in use

These are just a few examples, but we bet you could name a few more!

Elisabeth Swan

Elisabeth is a Managing Partner at, the co-author of The Problem-Solver’s Toolkit and co-host of the Just-in-Time Cafe. For over 25 years, she's helped leading organizations like Amazon, Charles Schwab and Starwood Hotels & Resorts build problem-solving muscles with Lean Six Sigma to achieve their goals.