Service & Quality Revolution at UBL- A journey well begun!

Ahsan Rehman & Umair Chaudhry

Year:    2004
Category:   TQM
Source:   ICQI 2004 – Pakistan 8th International Convention on Quality Improvement, Lahore
Publisher:   PIQC Institute of Quality

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Author’ Introduction:   

Ahsan Rehman has a Masters Degree in Economics from GC Lahore. He is also a Certified Quality Professional and a member of ASQ. He is presently managing an important strategic unit within the Service and Quality Group. He is responsible to share the Quality philosophy at all levels in the organization in line with the new vision and to develop, design and implement the different Quality initiatives in the bank. He has more than 7 years experience in the field of Quality Management. Before joining UBL, he was working in Packages in the Quality & Environment Systems. He was responsible for the development and maintenance of the 5 ISO 9001 certifications. He was also involved in the Quality Improvement teams’ training and facilitation and SQC/SPC implementation in the organization. Ahsan has attended many courses and conferences related to TQM, ISO 9000, Teams, Training techniques, change management and SQC.


To meet the challenges of the banking industry in the 21st century, UBL is spearheading to evolve with the vision  ‘To be a World class bank where You come First.Embracing this vision with vigor and a ‘let’s do it’ attitude, a two day ‘You First’ Service and Quality workshop was held on January 16th and 17th 2004 at Arabian Sea Country Club, Karachi to kick start a service and quality revolution in the Bank. The resounding success of the workshop, attended by the senior management from all over the country, spelled out in detail the steps and direction UBL needs to take in bringing about this massive culture change.
After this workshop there has been a lot of progress in a relatively short span of time. To communicate and share the message of the ‘You First Vision’ several activities commenced in all the regions. The Regional Chief Executives (RCEs) and the Regional Service Heads (RSHs) participated in Town Hall meetings and shared the vision of service and quality with the staff. The UBL Newsletter ‘Dialogue’ further endorsed the idea of UBL quality vision focusing on customers, employees as well as processes. Customer focus is being strengthened by conducting Service-training sessions to the front-end staff. Moving closer to customers has now become an essentiality when it comes to providing a ‘Wow Experience’ to our customers. The UBL Phone Banking is an important step in this direction. It has been operational since mid January 2004 and is steadily growing with a daily average of 1000 plus customer call a day. The volume has increased considerably with the introduction of UBL Wallet ATM Debit Card. In near future the Center will be instrumental in cross selling the Bank’s products and services as it provides the customers non-stop access to UBL.
Further strengthening the services and quality aspect is the placement of ‘You First’ Service Managers in the hub branches and some selected spoke branches. These ‘change agents’ will implement the various service and quality initiatives and play their role in developing a customer focused UBL culture.
The first Process Improvement (PI) team of UBL “TAT Team” presented its recommendations to the management on ‘Reducing the Turnaround Time for Commercial Advances without Compromising on Risks and Control’ in March 2004. 5 PI teams have finalized and presented its working to the Management. The scope of PI teams has been extended to Lahore region as well which is the first PI team formed outside Karachi. Now the total number of PI teams in UBL has reached 12.5 Quality circles are also working in different departments of the bank. The concept of Quality Circles is being extended and implemented in branches all over Pakistan with Quality Circles being formed in the branches also.Realizing that direct communication between senior management and branch staff is crucial in eliciting the involvement and support for service and quality at all levels, Road Shows have been held in Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi, Faisalabad, and Multan. These Road shows have covered staff from all the regions of Pakistan. In these Road shows, Group Executive Consumer and Commercial Business , M.A. Mannan shared with the staff the vision of the Bank, the business results for the year 2003 and the targets for the year 2004.A total of 5 branches have been selected in 4 cities as part of the ‘Theme Branches Renovation Project’. Renovations are expected to be completed by June 2004. Branches have been selected for the renovations, which will be completed by the year-end. Branches in each region have also been selected and focused in which small improvements are being done which don’t involve heavy investments. The service and quality initiatives started in Pakistan have been extended to UAE as well. A one-day workshop was conducted on 28th May 2004 on the same lines as in Pakistan. Another initiative at UBL is the Employee Suggestion Program “UBL Tajweez” and Reward and Recognition Program branded as “Going an extra Mile”. The Employee suggestion program provides employee with an opportunity to be recognized and awarded for innovative and creative ideas for improving the working of the Bank. This program will contribute towards higher employee morale and motivation.These endeavors are just a tip of the iceberg and moving forward the UBL is well poised to go full throttle in bringing about a service and quality revolution with compassion, creativity and ingenuity. However, all the initiatives mentioned above will take some time to implement in all the regions. Remember that Quality is not a sprint; it is a long-distance event!