Work History

1) Process Streams in Missionary Sending Organizations

Our goal is to work to remove waste and improve quality in
your organization and increase the effectiveness of the services you offer your donors, missionaries and staff in an exceptional way. This starts with us taking an on-site walk through your organization. We want to see the physical and/or digital processes that, for instance, take you from the time a new-missionary appointee comes to your organization until the time a missionary resigns/retires.

 

Are you doing what you can to provide an exceptional experience to these missionary candidates? To those on-field missionaries that you have? To those who are soon to retire?

 

On the home-front, are you helping your staff to be efficient in their work? Do you provide them the best training and tools to do the job you have given them? Have you helped them to see waste in these process steps and are you actively building a culture to remove the waste and to perform the remaining tasks in a way that decreases cost and increases quality?

 

if your mission board charges its missionaries a monthly service fee … have you ever lowered the fee? You may be saying, “How can we do that? Our salary costs increase over time. Our health insurance costs more each year. If our costs go up then we have to pass some of that on to our missionaries.” But what if your costs go down? What if by removing the waste in current process steps you don’t have to fill the positions of the 2 retiring staff members in your finance office? What if you can maintain (and actually improve) the level of service offered your missionaries with two fewer people? What if you could lower your building’s electric usage to the point where you see a $500 per month reduction is costs? What if you could save 20% on your home office health insurance plan while lowering the deductible for those staff members?

 

Our goal is to improve your processes in such a way as your costs go down substantially, your quality goes up exponentially, the services you offer increase dramatically and ALL of the people around you are happier with the results!

2) Process Improvement Examples - Redundancy

Let me give you some examples of process improvements that I have personally designed to benefit donors, missionaries and staff and the mission board they are connected with:

1. Redundancy

a. Online donors don’t often realize the work
involved in managing the donation given through a website portal. The donor platform doesn’t always “talk” with the missionary board’s donation software. I designed a bridge that would take the donation information and convert it to a file that could be seamlessly imported into the donation software. The mission board staff member never had to type a single bit of information.

b. When any non-profit offers an accountable
expense plan to its staff, it has taken on a lot of work. I designed a process that automatically downloaded emailed expense reports, combined the email, the Excel expense report, and all attached receipts onto one PDF and named that PDF according to the information pulled from the expense report (such as the name of the missionary,
the missionary’s number, the year and month of the report, and the dollar value of the report. This report was then saved to a file on the computer where the mission board staff member could review the report. Before payroll time, another automation routine was used to pull the name of each file and from it create a text document that was automatically imported into QuickBooks and then later into the accounting software and the then later uploaded onto the direct-deposit portion of the mission board’s bank website. In the entire process never once did the finance office staff member hand-enter any information. Since the reports were downloaded at 12:01am every day, and with the staff member regularly reviewing reports during her workday, when it came time to reimburse staff members, it took only a few minutes for the entire payment process to take place even thought there were usually over 100 reports to reimburse.

c. Website updates are typically performed from information that is already available elsewhere. The staff member takes info, for instance, that may be available in the company database and hand-enters the information on the web page. A missionary board that keeps a database on all of its missionaries is in a position to use that data to automatically populate the website. This info can include the missionary’s name, field of service country, the city, as well as the missionary website, etc. I designed a WordPress plugin that uploaded the exported missionary data from the mission board website and automatically updated all of the missionary pages on the board’s website.

3) Process Improvement Examples - Time Wasters

a. mission board came up with an idea to use paper-checklists to see that new-missionary onboarding was successful. Each process step had the name of a staff member next to it. When an item on the checklist was completed, the person put an X in the completed column and then walked the checklist to the next person on the list. One list was used for each new missionary. I watched the process and noticed that some staff members were not quick in performing their step. In fact, the checklist sat on some desks for days or weeks. Hidden under other work, the checklists often could not be found when enquiries were made to do so. I converted the checklists to Excel and links o the location of the file on the company server were sent to all who had steps to perform. Moving the checklists to a digital format meant that everyone could see at a moment’s notice who had steps yet to finish. One person in the organization had oversight for the checklists and could keep the process moving by alerting those with unfinished tasks to get them completed. What once took over a month could now be completed in days or hours.

b. The missionary board sent missionary prayer letters to Christian colleges on a quarterly basis. Even though the board stored missionary prayer letters in PDF format and saved these in missionary folders on their server, the task of collecting all of the letters was very time consuming. I designed an automation routine that collected all prayer letters for a range of dates entered by the board staff member, and merged these into one PDF. Then an email was automatically created for each mission-prayer-band leader at every college in the “program.” The entire process took only seconds. A further means of automation could have been that the system on-its-own would create and send the emails to the prayer-band-leaders, and then send 1 email to the mission board staff member letting them know that the process was completed. The process was never developed to this point.

c.  Each year a missionary board sent an email to each missionary, asking them to complete two online surveys. The first survey asked the missionaries to agree to the current doctrinal statement, verify that they had protective software on all of the Internet-connected devices, etc. The second survey asked for their next-year ministry goals. A manual checklist was devised in Excel to keep track of all of the reports received. The report contained the names of all missionaries in one column, and a column for each report. When the staff member would go online and notice a new, completed report, he would locate on the checklist the row with the name of the missionary who completed the report, then put a large “X” in the column that represented the report received. The staff member had to comb through the report list each time and get to the reports listed on the end of the completed list to find the newer ones. After all reports were received, the staff member would download each as a PDF, name them using the missionary’s name and then save it into the missionary’s folder on the mission board’s in-house server. Due to the fact that the entire process took so much time and with some missionaries experiencing issues with the online survey platform, I designed a process that had much better results. I created a PDF for each of the two online forms, and stopped using an online form platform, and designed an Excel spreadsheet that did most of the heavy lifting for this process. Clicking a button in Excel, the staff member is asked to click the PDF that contains the doctrinal statement and other questions.The system automatically created one PDF for every missionary, naming it with their name, missionary number and the name of the report. It then creates an email and attaches that one file to it. For 100 missionaries, this process will take less than 10 seconds.The staff member then manually sends all emails.The same process is repeated for the 2nd PDF (survey) being sent. As reports are emailed back, the staff member generically reviews them to be sure that they are completed. If they are, the staff member forwards them to an email address designed to manage the reports. Whenever the staff member wishes, he can click another button and the system will download the emails, placing each PDF into a computer file folder and then removing the email from the email server. Clicking another button, the system will create a checklist automatically, listing the name of every missionary and putting an automatic X in the column to represent each report received. Clicking another button in Excel will send an automatic email that lists one or both reports missing by any missionary. The staff member NEVER has to create a checklist or manually type a reminder email to a missionary who is missing a report.

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