Increasing Sustainability through Improved Efficiency
Increasing scale of services along with improved efficiencies
This paper focuses on how the Opportunity Fund (OF), California, increased sustainability and potential to scale-up by emphasizing efficiency.OF's Individual Accounts Program, launched in 1999, was a success. It, however, encountered challenges in efficiently scaling up to reach a larger market. OF concentrated on improving management information systems, streamlining the loan application process and increasing specialization in staff job functions to increase organizational efficiency. Key considerations in its efforts included:
- Seeing efficiency as integral to the organization's goal of sustainable scale;
- Designing systems to increase quality service and interactions with customers;
- Investing time and resources where they could effectively achieve change;
- Outsourcing operational aspects that were too challenging or too time-consuming.
The paper outlines the following lessons that can be drawn from OF's experience:
- Efficiency changes can lead to restructuring staff roles;
- Focus should be on getting the right customers;
- Increasing efficiency is only part of the solution of scaling up.
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