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Jan 18th
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Kapil Madan

Ramnath Shenoy

Anup Pai

Manoj K. Das

Kaviraj Singh

Organisation Design for a Hugely Successful Debt Recovery Firm

Organisation Design for a Hugely Successful Debt Recovery Firm

DRG Blogger: Kapil Madan

Are you looking for both innovation as well as efficiency from your debt recovery team and are struggling to find either? The roots of this issue may lie, amongst other things, in your organisation design, team capability and culture. 

A learning or innovative organisation has very different design compared to a mechanistic, efficiency focussed one. And the type of organisation that you want to build will depend on the nature of work that you perform. Highly complex tasks need innovative & capable teams adept at solving problems and creating solutions - these teams would be focussed on effectiveness rather than efficiency. On the other hand, repetitive tasks that are low in complexity need a highly process oriented team - such teams are primarily focussed on efficiency of each activity. Different management metrics and incentives are required for these different types of teams to ensure high levels of motivation.

Debt Recovery/ Debt Collection has both high and low complexity activities. Examples of high complexity activities include manual skip tracing (where the debtor has vanished and cannot be located using normal database trawling tools), resolving disputes or attempting legal recourse. Low complexity activities include calling debtors to chase payment, receiving calls from debtors about address changes, delay in payment etc. And different profile of resources are required for these different type of activities. 

A key question for management is: What is your business goal?

If the goal is to rapidly scale up and build a great national level organisation then it might make more sense to identify similar type of tasks (typically low complexity ones) and focus solely on those tasks. Outsource the remaining tasks to competent local or national organisations - or simply refuse to take on these tasks - your clients will respect that as well. If you pick this path then you will end up being a volume player - you will charge a below market price for an excellent service and your customers will love you for that. Your success will be driven by your ability to build an operation that is standardised, simplified, tightly controlled and centrally planned. You will leave few decisions to the discretion of rank-file employees. Your team will swear by your rule book and you should be able to recruit from the mass market.

However, if the goal is build a premium niche organisation then you will need to pick up a complex activity and ensure that you are the best in the activity. You will spend a lot of your organisation's time on R&D to keep on learning & innovating and finding better ways of carrying out your chosen activity. Your team members will be highly capable and/ or experienced and you will encourage them to take decisions and share their knowledge amongst themselves. Such people will be difficult to find and retain and it will be difficult (although still possible with the right management team) to scale this operation up to a national level.

Is your organisation trying to do too many things at the same time? If yes, then don't be surprised if you remain a mediocre organisation while other leap ahead of you by focussing on their core competence.

About Kapil Madan:

Kapil is a Credit Risk & Fraud Management specialist based in the UK and is a premium blogger on Debt Recovery Guru. He has worked with the largest UK Banks, niche lenders and Debt Collection agencies in helping them understand and segment their portfolio as well as optimise debt collection strategies by applying smart analytics to external & internal data. He has brokered sale of NPA portfolios and helped buyers and sellers to come to a common understanding of the value of the portfolios. He has also been involved in sale and purchase of Debt Recovery Agencies in Europe. 

If you want to know more about the author or get in touch then drop an email to  


The Big Four - Multiple Bureaus Might Spark Competition

The Big Four - Multiple Bureaus Might Spark Competition

DRG Blogger:  Kapil Madan

There are now four Credit Bureaus in India that are monitoring customer information on a regular basis. These are Credit Information Bureau (India...


Segmenting the Debtor Base – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Segmenting the Debtor Base – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

DRG Blogger:  Kapil Madan

Are you in the business of recovering non performing debt? Are you amazed how different people behave to requests to repay what they owe? How some...

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