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The Tools We Use

In addition to the core terminology we use in this programme, as discussed in the previous section, we also use proven management tools and concepts to drill down to the design and application of the process or business line being studied.

This programme is run using four very important tool types:



1. Scenario Planning
We use Scenario Planning tools to develop a Big Picture understanding of the industry around:

  • a fundamental belief that defines our assessment of the industry or business line being studied
  • an assessment of global trends in the financial services and related industries
  • a rigorously developed evolution map of the business or process being studied.


2. Strategic Benchmarking
Strategic Benchmarking, as opposed to performance or process benchmarking sets out the qualitative aspects of the industry. Some of the ancillary tools we use to conduct a strategic benchmarking exercise include:  

  • Business architectures. We believe that a well drawn business architecture is fundamental to developing an intuitive understanding of the industry
  • Timelines provide the evolutionary dimension within which all strategic intent is realized.
  • SWOT Analysis. A rigorous assessment of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats helps provide an impartial perspective of our own strategic intent.


3. The Balanced Scorecard
The Balanced Scorecard, as commonly know is a process by which the baseline financial measurement of a business or process is balanced with three other aspects, namely Customers, Process and Learning to ensure that it achieves the broader objective of being a sustainable business 
The Asian Banker runs a variety of annual ranking programmes based on its proprietary scorecards. All of The Asian Banker’s scorecards for assessing the quality, strength or sustainability of financial institutions or their specific business lines are evaluated on this basis. Some examples of the rankings we run include:

  • The Asian Banker Strongest Banks Rankings
  • The Asian Banker Strongest Balance Sheets Rankings.
  • The Excellence in Retail Banking Rankings

and others.


Asia’s Top 10 Retail Banks (2009 figures)


The Balanced Scorecard is also used to map the Strategic focus of an organisation or a business line, as demonstrated below:


4. SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis are a rigorous assessment of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats helps provide an impartial perspective of one’s own strategic intent.


5. Operational and Performance Benchmarking

We have chosen the Six SIGMA DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) and DAMDV methodologies green belt as the basis of our benchmarks for operational and performance processes. We use GAP Analysis to benchmark the processes of the bank with peers and best practice


6. Six Sigma (DMAIC and DAMDV) in Financial Services 

Six Sigma seeks to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects (errors) and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes.

Banks deploy Six Sigma for:

  • improving an existing process (DMAIC)
  • creating a new design or product (DMADV)




The DMAIC project methodology has five phases:

  • Define the problem, the voice of the customer, and the project goals, specifically.
  • Measure key aspects of the current process and collect relevant data.
  • Analyze the data to investigate and verify cause-and-effect relationships. Determine what the relationships are, and attempt to ensure that all factors have been considered. Seek out root cause of the defect under investigation.
  • Improve or optimize the current process based upon data analysis using techniques such as design of experiments or mistake proofing, and standard work to create a new, future state process. Set up pilot runs to establish process capability.

 Control the future state process to ensure that any deviations from target are corrected before they result in defects. Control systems are implemented such as statistical process control, production boards, and visual workplaces and the process is continuously monitored.



The DMADV project methodology, also known as DFSS ("Design For Six Sigma") features five phases:

  • Define design goals that are consistent with customer demands and the enterprise strategy.
  • Measure and identify CTQs (characteristics that are Critical To Quality), product capabilities, production process capability, and risks.
  • Analyze to develop and design alternatives, create a high-level design and evaluate design capability to select the best design.
  • Design details, optimize the design, and plan for design verification. This phase may require simulations.
  • Verify the design, set up pilot runs, implement the production process and hand it over to the process owner(s).


7. Gap Analysis


In the gap analysis we compare banks with best benchmarks on a national, regional, and global level, but also with industry standards. So banks can clearly identify where there capabilities differ from the industry and best practice, and as such which areas need their attention.

The Methodology designed by The Asian Banker for this programme is copyrighted and a patent application is being processed. All rights reserved.

We provide training in the use of this Methodology to our members and subscribers.

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Our Methodology
The following sections outline our proprietary methodology, which subscribers can use as a guide to understand the various research notes and analysis.

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