Operations Buzz

A Day in the life: Steve W. Nerheim Jr.

January 20th, 2010

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Steve Nerheim is the First Vice-President of a Financial Services Company. A 2009 graduate of the Executive MBA program of the Mason School at The College of William and Mary, he talks about his job, his typical day, and how he uses some of the operations tools he learned in school. This is the first in a series called the “Day in the Life” where  senior managers let us in on their typical day.

Job Description

As a financial services company, my company is not in the business of producing widgets.  We are a service company focused on providing our clients with the right products and solutions to meet their financial needs.  However, we face many of the same challenges traditionally associated with manufacturing companies.  Cost, accuracy and timeliness are critical to maintain client satisfaction.

As an internal consultant, I oversee strategy, process, and change management projects within Household Lending.  My line of business is focused on providing solutions that meet our clients’ overall lending and banking needs for everything from buying a home to going back to school.  My job is to find ways to provide these solutions cheaper, better and faster.

When I am developing and reengineering business processes, I draw heavily from my experiences at William & Mary’s Mason School of Business.  The tools and techniques taught in our Operations classes are of particular value to me.  To illustrate, I’ll highlight three manufacturing concepts that are equally as important, if not more, in the financial services industry.

  1. Simplicity.  The more complex a product is, the more opportunity there is for error.  This is as true for checking accounts as it is for automobiles.  When evaluating new and existing products and processes, I strive to make the process as simple as possible, but no simpler.  Fewer steps lead to fewer opportunities for error and increased client satisfaction.
  2. Work-In-Process.  The time spent waiting for processes to complete does not add value to the process.  Clients value their time and the company that can deliver faster results is at a competitive advantage.
  3. Forecasting.  Accurate and reliable forecasting is critical to process management.  Good forecasting enables service companies to establish proper staffing levels and improve utilization.  Poor forecasting leads to long wait times and higher costs.

Reducing costs, increasing performance and improving turnaround times are important to all businesses, regardless of industry.  Therefore, it is important to look outward when evaluating your internal processes.  Some of the best business process designs begin with ideas drawn from other industries.

A Typical Day

6:30 AM                  Wake up

8:00 AM                  Drop son and/or daughter off at daycare

8:30 AM                  Arrive at work

10:00 AM                  Conduct diagnostic assessment of repurchase process

12:00 PM                  Lunch

1:00 PM                  Develop process improvement recommendations

3:00 PM                  Provide weekly brief to CEO

4:00 PM                  Coordinate monthly forecasts with finance department

5:30 PM                  Head home

6:30 PM                  Dinner with family

7:00 PM                  Playtime with the kids

8:30 PM                  Put kids to bed

9:00 PM                  Relax on the couch and watching something on the DVR

10:00 PM                  Check my Blackberry for the last time

10:30 PM                  Play a few rounds of backgammon with my wife

11:00 PM                  Bedtime

Other

Connect with Steve on Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevenerheimjr Selegiline

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