Annual sales of the Bronson Group are $100 million. In recent years, the company sulfured operating losses. In 1990, the company was heavily invested in computer hardware and software. One of the problems the Bronson Group faced (as well as many insurance companies) was a conflict between established manual procedures and the relatively recent within the past 20 years) introduction of computer equipment.
This conflict was illustrated by the fact that much information was captured on computer but paper files were still kept for practical and legal reasons he file department employed 20 file clerks who pulled files from stacks, refilled used files, and delivered files to various departments including commercial lines, personal line, and claims. Once a file clerk received a request for a file, it usually tock about two hours for the requester to receive the file. Clerks delivered flies to underwriters on an hourly basis throughout the day. The average file clerk was paid &8,300 per year. One special file clerk was used full time to search for requested files that another file clerk had not been able to find in the expected place.
It was estimated that 40 percent of the requested files were these ‘no hit’ flies requiring a search after these ‘no hit’ files were eventually found stacked in the requester” office. The primary “customers” of the file clerks were underwriters and claims attorneys. Company management and operations analysts were consistently told the greatest problem in the company was the inability of file clerks to supply files in a speedy fashion. The entire company from top to bottom viewed the productivity and effectiveness of the flies department as unacceptable. An underwriter used 20-50 files per day. Because of their distrust of the files department, underwriters tended to hoard often uses files.
A count by operations analyse found that each underwriter kept form 100-200 files in his or her office at any one time. An underwriter would request a file by computer and work on other business until the file was received.