Throughout 2017 and 2018 we have been interviewing different members of our team to give an insight into the variety of people that make up OEE Consulting, and some of the projects they have been delivering.
This month we caught up with Principal Consultant Jas Ghuman, who has shared his expertise on automation implementation as well as why he chose to work at OEE Consulting.
Role: Principal Consultant
Experience: Process Improvement Analyst at Barclaycard, Business Improvement Consultant at FAST Associates and Sheffield Hallam University, Lean Practitioner at Siemens
Education: BSc in Information Engineering and Business from Sheffield Hallam, followed by an MBA in Industrial Management from Sheffield Hallam
Worked with OEE Consulting since: August 2014
Describe OEE Consulting in three words.
Innovative, collaborative, rewarding.
What was your route into consulting?
Having consulted in the engineering field for a number of years before moving into financial services, I knew that consulting was something that I wanted to continue with. I came across OEE Consulting whilst working at Barclaycard, where I went through their accredited training programme and worked alongside their team on some collaborative projects.
Their no-nonsense approach, desire to get the job done and friendly collaborative experience had me hooked.
Why did you choose to work at OEE Consulting?
The feel was different, the people are fantastic and the work is varied.
I chose OEE Consulting as it wasn’t like the rest; I didn’t get that perform or get dropped impression, the feeling of being another cog in the system or having to follow a script. Having had the ability to work with OEE Consulting as a supplier for a few years before joining the business I got the opportunity to get a real understanding of how the business was structured and how it operated.
The people are all friendly, knowledgeable and focused on delivering the best outcome for their clients. No-one is unapproachable; you have the ability to talk to anyone at any level without barriers. This has helped with my development over the years, as the amount of experience available on tap is like nowhere else. Everyone makes the time to support each other, making it a true team effort.
I have also not yet come across two project that are alike. Even similar problems within the same industry are always different; there could be a difference in the way the business operates, the culture could be different and even location makes a difference. The variety is great and was just what I was looking for when I joined.
You’ve been leading automation implementation on recent projects. What are some of the challenges you have been addressing with automation?
The main challenge has been to build end-to-end customer journeys using the right type of automation, at the right time, to improve the customer and colleague experience. Another challenge has been increasing efficiency in both front and back offices through reducing the need for human intervention in repetitive and high volume tasks, allowing staff to become more skilled in dealing with complex tasks. It’s all easier said than done in most cases as you have to factor in and integrate all the systems, infrastructure, channels and usually fragmented organisational structures to perform seamlessly with one another.
The complexity involved in creating a robot to function across multiple systems is not easy, coupled with the fact that any change or variation across these systems will negatively impact the robotic solution. Non-standardised inputs into the process will impact the ability to create a robot, reducing the coverage and effectiveness of the solution. Poor selection of processes to automate will lead to onerous workarounds and compromise from a processing, risk and information security perspective.
The key here is to use the right type and level of automation in the right place. Many organisations feel the need to follow trends and end up spending a great deal on solutions that do not fully solve the problem or fit in with business processing. This could lead to unsatisfactory results and a bad experience.
The way to get the most out of this technology is to look end-to-end and follow key customer journeys to ensure that the outcome of the solution matches what the customer (or client) is looking for or requested.
Where do you see the biggest opportunities from implementing automation?
For me it’s about improving the customer and colleague experience. Making it easier for the customer to either self-serve or have their query dealt with efficiently, whilst making it easier and slicker for colleagues to deal with such requests. Where automation lends itself is digitising inputs at first point of contact to produce a digital request that is automatable further down the line through either robotics, AI or integrated workflow systems.
Automation should be seen as multiple technologies working together in harmony to enhance an end-to-end journey.
Is there any advice you would give to a person who is starting out in your chosen career?
The best advice I could give would be to continue learning. Don’t think that once you have made it into consulting that’s it, you automatically become an expert and have all the answers. I still come across situations after many years of doing this where I need to think about the right solution, ask my colleagues for their opinion and work through the options to ensure that the deliverable will be achieved.
What do you find most rewarding about working as a management consultant?
The ability to make a difference, standing back at the end of a project and seeing the change in people and the organisation. Knowing that my time has been put to good use and delivered a tangible change to organisations and to individuals’ working lives.
Jas is an operations specialist with over 9 years’ experience in delivering transformation projects within a wide range of industries, including financial services, insurance and facilities management.
He frequently works on strategy implementation with an automation lens, making things work better for organisations, the people that work there, and their customers.
This has recently included leading automation for a challenger bank to deliver against their ambitious strategy, and implementing a new operating model in facilities management which targeted cost-reduction whilst improving both customer and employee experience.