Managing operations…

Mar 19, 2020

...when everything is far from BAU!

Schemes across the industry are considering how their operations might be impacted by the current pandemic. They have their disaster recovery plans in place, but how’s it working in action? It’s important to remain flexible and adjust your approach to the current situation.

Here’s our suggestions…

1. Start by prioritising your workload

Knowing your starting point is key. Do you know how many staff are working? What systems they need and how easily they can be accessed? How does that impact your operational process? Over the coming weeks it’s likely you’ll see an impact on staffing levels due to absence too – do you know the impact to your SLAs with a 10%, 20%, 30%, 40% reduction in capacity?  Understanding which SLAs will be impacted most, will help you understand and prioritise where to focus resource. What is in your BAU pile? Do you need to put some things on hold and re-use the resource elsewhere? You can plan for the impact of this – and look to create an adjusted way of working to meet changes in demand and capacity.

2. Think about which members you should focus on

There will be key groups of members needing your operational resource now. Those with claims in process, members over the age of 55, those in ill health and other vulnerable customers which may be inclined to dip into their pension right now. And if they do need to take some of their savings, can you resource this properly? Plan all operational scenarios and prioritise them. Identify any segments of members you’ll push to the top of the pile. Set a series of realistic SLAs for each scenario, and be sure to keep your members informed.

3. Plan and implement changes to your communications

Help members by developing a set of communications that update them on the current situation – the changes that means for your operations and how they can best get in touch with you. Can you become more efficient by giving members the right information through different channels – your websites, phone lines and member portals can help drive self-service and reduce the impact on operations. This will enable you to get to those members who really need a 1-2-1 conversation. Look at how best you can use automation. Automating calculations and projections can reduce the need for human-involvement, an ideal solution when your ‘humans’ can’t make it to work. Using a ready-built platform, or adding a calculation engine might help.

4. Identify where you may need help

You’ll have core activities that you absolutely need to focus on and you should deploy your resource to these. Then assess which non-essential tasks you’re going to need help with – is that technology? Getting through backlogs? Or the basics. Once you’ve identified the areas you need help with most, source suppliers and put a plan in place to improve your operations – you don’t want to kick issues into the long grass now, and find an enormous stockpile in the months to come.

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