By Shanaka Silva
Merchant Credit of Sri Lanka Limited (MCSL) is a Licensed Finance Company in Sri Lanka which is jointly owned by premier state commercial bank, Bank of Ceylon (BoC) and pioneering local investment bank, Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka (MBSL). Established in 1983 with one branch, MCSL has evolved into a network of 13 customer centres employing 195 staff members and it offers a full range of financial service solutions including leasing, hire purchase, loans, pawning and letters of guarantees to its small to medium scale customer segments.
MCSL has recorded an unprecedented performance and financial growth in its history surpassing Rs 112 million in Profits (FY 2010) and currently has over five billion rupees in both deposit and advances in its portfolio. We have taken this in our stride and are forging ahead bolstered by the guidance and financial assurance given to us by our parent stakeholders, Bank of Ceylon (BOC) and Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka (MBSL). In MCSL our organizational vision is to be the most dependable and innovative finance company committed to excellence.
As industry pioneers in quality certification with prestigious ISO 9001 Quality Management System standards which were implemented in the May 2004, MCSL upgraded its ISO certification in September 2010 to the ISO 9001:2008 latest version. The upgrading process was initiated by Melani De Silva the former Management Representative (MR) ISO QMS and Senior Manager Credit Administration of MCSL and further enhanced by the guidance and direction of incumbent MR ISO QMS, Leonard Perera. External consultancy support is given by Kanishka Perera of Kaisha Kaisen Consultancies who is an IRCA-UK Certified Lead QMS Auditor and a Senior QMS consultant.
In 2011 Leonard Perera who is a professional banker with 21 years financial industry experience took over as the ISO QMS management representative and initiated the Business Process Reengineering (BPR) exercise steering MCSL towards being a better, faster and competitive in its financial services to its customers.
Excerpt of the interview given by the current Management Representative ISO QMS and Actg. Chief Executive Officer of MCSL, Leonard Perera of its Quality Management system is given below.
Q: What was your prime objective after re-certification of ISO9001:2008 QMS?
A: My first objective was to get the organization’s ISO9001:2008 QMS customized to our finance business. We know that ISO 9001 is a Quality standard applicable for organizations for businesses engaged inter-alia from manufacturing to financial service organizations. However, we wanted a unique Quality Management System (QMS) which meets with the requirements of MCSL as well as our finance sector market and regulatory standards.
Furthermore, we wanted to re-engineer our current business process mainly the leasing and hire purchase customer delivery mechanism to maximize ‘Speed’ a key attribute of our quality endeavour.
Kaisha Kaisen Consultancies, ISO Consultants and SGS Lanka, Quality Auditors progressively supported us a lot in developing our QMS to this level.
Q: How do you deal with unnecessary paperwork related to managing the certification?
A: We initiated the process of Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) mainly focussing on leasing and hire-purchase product delivery to customer. Initially, we identified all non-value adding activities, mainly unnecessary documentation in credit appraisal, approval, in taking securities and finally disbursement of funds to customers/suppliers. Non-value adding activities and documentation were completely or partially eliminated and some were amalgamated together in order to meet the speed of delivery to customer without compromising the organizational safety and control requirements.
However , this was a lengthy exercise involving innovating new processes, monitoring of lead times of services, comparison of past services data & activities and redesigning the entire documentation process with maximum staff participation and teamwork and ensuring top management commitment.
I am thankful to the members of ISO-QMS Team, ISO-QMS Coordinator Chathuri Abeywickrama, and the MCSL Management Team comprising of Claude Alwis (DGM- Legal), Vishwa Wickramarchchi (Head of Finance), Saman Bandara (AGM Operations), Manik Senanayake (Head of Marketing), Melani de Silva (Senior Manager-Credit Admin.), Akushla Diwulweva (Manager-HR), Ranjith Kumara (Head of Fixed Deposits), Prasan Fernando (Manager FD), Inoka (Asst . Manager-Accounting) Viraj De Silva (Acting Head of Recoveries), Samangi Mendis (Asst. Manager-Recoveries), Nishantha Kariyawasam (Asst. Manager-ICT), and Niroshi Biyanwila (Deputy Manager-Credit Admn) for their support , commitment and team work in our quality endeavour.
QMS related non-conformance and customer grievances documentation system supported and maintained ISO software agent, Swiss Advantage Systems was also a chief contributor to our success.
Q: How did you increase the awareness of Quality among organization?
A: We launched the ISO re-certification process with a major training involving all staff members of MCSL who were trained on basic ISO 9001 principles by our ISO consultants. All new staff recruits were also trained in ISO 9001 standards and going forward existing staff is monitored on a continuous basis in order to maintain quality standard as required. Further, monthly Management Review Meetings are held to assess the progress and maintenance of ISO standard with respective divisional heads and staff.
Communication to the staff of the progress of QMS in the shapes of ‘customer relationship’, ‘learning and growth’ of Human Resources and ‘Business Processes’ in addition to ‘Financial’ aspect was powered by the introduction of ‘Balanced Score Card’ concept to MCSL. Practically this is linked with an internal e-magazine enhancing maximum outreach and awareness to staff.
Q: What is your opinion about ISO 9001 certification for the finance industry?
A: I personally believe that ISO 9001 QMS Certification will give a real quality framework to any financial organization for continual improvement that will ensure real sustainability and financial stability to the business. However, the ISO 9001 Framework should be fine-tuned and customized to the finance company specific requirements to achieve better performance and end results.
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