“A system, securing constant improvement of our activity, is implemented in “Ameriabank”

31.03.2009 | 15:24 Home / News / Articles /

Interview of Artur Hambardzumyan, Head of “Ameriabank” Department for Elaboration and Implementation of New Services, responsible for quality, to Mediamax Agency and Banks.am portal

Process of implementation of quality control systems gradually becomes more active in banks. “Ameriabank” was the first in Armenia to elaborate its system in accordance with the new version of ISO 9001:2008 standard.

- What is the interest of Armenian banks in implementation of quality control systems and realization of certification process conditioned by?

- Aiming at providing quality services and satisfying the needs of the customers, just like other business structures, banks also try to find the necessary technology solutions. Per se, this is a logical set of tools, which gives the opportunity to not only announce one’s steps to meet the interests of customers, but also to reveal and meet their needs. Consequently, the main idea of the quality control system is to establish the necessary opportunities to provide customers with services and products, meeting their needs, which represents the customer-oriented approach. 

The interest of banks in implementation of those mechanisms is based on the necessity to secure competitiveness, demonstrate consistency in keeping one’s promises, as well as the necessity to assure the third parties of compliance of the implemented system with international standards. Assessment of the system is realized basing on an audit by an authorized organization – certification, which reveals the correspondence of the system to international standards. In case of “Ameriabank” - ISO 9001:2008. Let me note that our bank was the first in Armenia to elaborate its system in accordance with the new edition.

The main advantage of banks, which have implemented the system, is the fact that the latter gives an opportunity to apply systematized approach in the technology of control with the corresponding estimation and measuring criteria.

- What are the main advantages of the quality control system and what is a standard of ISO 9000 series?

- The bases for the standard of ISO 9000 series is the “wheel” principle of an American statistician Edwards Deming – the model of uninterrupted improvement of quality, which consists of the sequence of 4 repeating stages of improvement and training – plan, do, check and act. Due to this, a mechanism of uninterrupted improvement of the company’s activity is secured. As the practice of modern companies’ activity shows, this very approach may secure competitiveness of the company in long-term prospect.

When we talk about the quality control system, it is very important not to separate it from the general system of the company’s management. There is an opinion, according to which the given system is only one of the functional links of the company, like, for instance, marketing. In reality, it includes in itself the entire management system of the company.

Unfortunately, today, in a number of companies in Armenia the quality control system is associated with implementing a particular set of documents in office work and receiving a certificate, which, to my mind, is first of all a result of using incompetent consulting services, as well as misunderstanding by the company’s management of the importance of key reformations in the control system. In reality, this is a quite complex process, which includes first of all the physiologic element, since conceptually new approach towards management is provided for. 

To present how the system covers the activity of the bank, one should pay attention to the basic principles, which are put in the basis of ISO 9000 series standard – customer orientation, that is to say, the company should realize the current and the future needs of customers, fulfill their requirements and strive to excel their expectations. The fundamental principles of ISO 900 also include:

- Leadership of the company management (readiness and consistency of the company management in forming and establishing conditions for efficient functioning of the system);
- involvement of the personnel (securing participation of employees in making decisions, which will allow using their abilities to benefit);
- process approach (consider a business unit as a number of interrelated processes);
- system approach to management (administration of interrelated processes as a system, which contributes to the organization’s efficiency in achieving its goals);
- the principle of constant improvement of the system (taking into account legislative changes, proposals and complaints of customers, as well as depending on various types of internal processes);
- decision making basing upon facts (securing the necessary information basis to make decisions);
- mutually beneficial relations with partners and suppliers (mutually beneficial relations increase the capacities of both sides to create values);

“Ameriabank” could not but use the best world practice for establishing a modern system for control, quintessence of which are the above-mentioned principles, which are a basis for ISO 9001:2008 standard.

- Would you, please, present the peculiarities of the quality control system of “Ameriabank”, what new solutions are introduced by the bank? What is the difference of your system from other analogous systems and what principles are put into its basis?

- In the process of implementing a quality management system, often ready standard solutions, implemented in other companies, are offered. We tried to deviate from standard solutions. In particular, in “Ameriabank”, there was an individual map of business processes in different directions elaborated, which was based on consistency and interrelations of processes. The bank elaborated over 60 business processes, which include both exclusively business approaches in the sphere of services and accompanying processes.

In the bank, simultaneously with implementation of the quality control system, works are also n process on implementing a modern Customer Relationship Management system, which provides for a new conception in Armenia for managing interrelations with customers and automating all business processes for service provision. The given system will become a tool, with the help of which more effective functioning of the quality control system will be secured.

On the other hand, as another tool, allowing increasing the quality of control, there are works initiated in the bank on implementing a system of balanced indices – the opportunity to connect process approach, strategic management and the entire management system with certain measurable and numbered tools.

Significant for us is the striving to develop in Armenia a direction, such as securing measurable nature of the processes and reaching goals: elaboration of a system of indices, which will provide us the opportunity to measure processes and the level of achieving strategic and tactical goals by the bank.

As a result of these projects, there is a unique system being formed in the bank, basing on application of modern technologies in the sphere of management and allowing uninterruptedly improving the activity of the bank. 

I can say with confidence that the quality control system already functions in our bank; upon the conclusion of the certification process, we will announce this officially. Nevertheless, basing on the above-mentioned ideology, we are only concluding yet although a significant, but only one stage of a modern control system formation, while the improvement process does not have its end and is the essence of the implemented control system in general.

- What does quality control certificate mean? What does it evidence?

- It is not a secret that in the majority of cases the quality control system is mainly implemented to receive the very certificate, at that, this is true not only for Armenia. A certificate is often a necessary condition to participate in various tenders, programs, that is to say, it is necessary to assure the third party.

One may receive one and the same certificate in the course of two-three months, by implementing standard solutions, and in the course of a year, realizing a large volume of work. The question is what the organization, which implements this system, strives for?

For the bank, the entire certification process most likely is an intermediate stage of development of a modern management system and not an end in itself, and works on its improvement have just started. The philosophy of management, adopted by the management of the bank, is based on understating the fact that with the use of the given system, one may secure high efficiency of the bank’s operation and realize most ambitious goals, and the realization of external certification audits is only a means to “take a detached look at oneself”.

There are a number of authorized organizations, which function in the sphere of certification. In particular, the audit of “Ameriabank” quality control was realized by German TUV Rheinland Group Company, which is the world leader in its sphere, and we expect to receive the audit report in the course of the nearest few days.

-Often quality control systems become incapable or stop working right after their implementation. What are the reasons for such a phenomenon? Don’t you have concerns that the same may take place with the quality control system of “Ameriabank”?

- Indeed, many organizations announce implementation of a quality control system, but some time later they do not mention it at all or they renounce that system, realizing that they are not yet fully ready for it. The main reason is that a quality control system is considered apart form the management processes in general, apart from making concrete decisions and is perceived only as a necessary condition to receive a certificate. In reality, the quality control system provides serious competitive advantages, which in our reality are yet underestimated by the majority of companies in Armenia.

A system, which secures uninterrupted activity of the bank, is implemented in “Ameriabank”, since it is implemented as a basis for general management, at that, irrespective of the fact whether the system is certified or not. For us, the ideology of uninterrupted improvement is the basis of our activity.

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