Digital Transformation causes many companies to prepare for the big change and focus on adjusting the organization thoroughly with the business operation. Digital Transformation will not happen in an organization that is not ready. Bernard Tso, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, participated as one of the speakers at Techsauce Global Summit 2019, a global tech conference, sharing Ngern Tid Lor’s lessons in adjusting corporate tradition in the Digital Era.
According to the recent survey by McKinsey, more than 80% of the management have tried adjusting their entities to the digital era, however, only 16% of them have succeeded. The main problem that became the obstacle in this mission, Bernard said, is ‘the fear of making mistakes’ in changing or risking something different. This is causing the corporate personnel to stick to the old working methods, in which Ngern Tid Lor itself had also experienced such problems.
Nowadays, Ngern Tid Lor Co., Ltd., the leading entity in car title loans and insurance broker, having more than 1,000 branches all over the country with rapid growth, has been taking the road to building a corporate tradition for 3 years. Not because of the digital disruption, but due to the identity crisis which is the beginning for us to start questioning how Ngern Tid Lor would provide services with more value to the customers. What is our spirit? In the end we found that at Ngern Tid Lor, we do everything to empower people and enrich lives. We BELIEVE that access to fair, transparent, and responsible financial services is everyone's right We deliver financial betterment by offering relevant products and services that are simple to understand, convenient, and fast through our committed employees. This is the mission of the company to make a difference both in social responsibility and the company’s sustainability.
Once the mission is clear, the next step is how to make everyone in the team aim for the same goal. What Ngern Tid Lor did was building ‘trust’ within the organization under ‘NTL Culture Framework’ by 7 core values with details and guidelines to follow, including dos and don'ts. We encouraged the right behavior in every working step for our staff. It takes time for all of this to sink in. Eventually, the organization started to change. When the Digital Transformation comes, our people will be ready for the change.
However, building corporate traditions for the digital transformation comes with 5 processes to follow. After the management team of Ngern Tid Lor went to study the methods to build corporate traditions for business operations from Zappos, a popular shoe online selling shop in Las Vegas, the United States, they applied 5 steps as follows:
Reducing Internal Friction
Ngern Tid Lor has more than 5,500 employees all over the country. It is necessary to find ways to work peacefully among others in which everyone can connect with one another. We let our staff participate in the work environment decoration and adjustment according to their liking, offering relaxing activities during working days. We use a Facebook Group for informal communication, and offer areas for the staff to express their needs, especially things they would like to present. We created a program on the desktop before signing in, for the staff to answer questions about their co-workers. The program will work randomly, to help create intimacy within the organization, which would help the company in finding the staff who inspires other staff members to become influencers and encourage good corporate traditions.
Validated Learning & Taking Calculated Risks
The company sees the importance in learning, but not just classroom training. We also support our staff to learn anywhere, whenever, especially by reading. We have many books available for our management team and staff to read, exchange and apply in business. The company sends the staff to attend training from the role model companies which they have read about, both domestically and internationally, to experience what they have learned in person. We also offer opportunities for the staff to think and try new ideas, even if they fail, there are always new things to learn.
Augmented Decisions with Data
Ngern Tid Lor built a mobile platform for the branch managers to be able to access the data real-time, even during business trips or vacations. Using Machine Learning and GIS to collect the interesting data in the area, data on the population, type of local industries, and even the amount of staff in the industrial factories, along with the location of the business competitors. These data result in better decision-making on finding locations for new branches.
Reducing Friction for Customers
The company set the rules for the management team and related departments to always pay visits to the branches, to listen to their pain points and understand the struggles of the branch staff and customers. The data collected will be handed to the BX team (Branch Experience) to research for the solutions, for supporting the branches in working conveniently with more efficiency. And to the CX team (Customer Experience) who help in providing good experiences to the customers. This is done by adjusting the back office, and creating an application for mobiles and tablets to support the working procedure, to make managing documents easier and reduce time for the customers. The team also develops an API which can be used online both on computer and chat applications, for the customers to do some transactions themselves, such as checking the balance, and requests for more loans which is more convenient and fulfills the customers’ needs in the Digital Era.
Bridging the Last Mile
Operating credit service business for the low-income customers, Ngern Tid Lor realizes the struggles in personal financial management, and has differences in data accessibility. Therefore financial literacy is provided by our financial education trainer team and volunteer staff, traveling from community to community all over the country to provide fundamental financial knowledge such as creating income-expense accounts, savings, investment, and loans. In the previous year, we have also included the lesson on accessibility to digital financial services (Digital Inclusion). Since 2016, the project has grown to include 2,193 participants of 45 communities from 23 provinces in Thailand.
Bernard also added that in the digital world, everything changes rapidly. Being prepared is important. Having strong corporate culture and core values will help shape everyone’s mutual goal. Moreover, it attracts new staff members with the same belief to come and support the organization. The thing we should not forget is basic self-understanding, of what field of business you are in, which problem needs fixing, know your customer and most importantly, know your employee.